As we begin the new year, it is a good idea to review the terms of your estate plan. As you glance over these documents, which likely include things like powers of attorney, trusts, wills, and advance healthcare directives, it is important to ask whether your estate plan is still capable of achieving your objectives. A skilled estate planning attorney can help you review your plan to make sure that it is still the best idea to achieve your goals given various changes with estate planning and tax laws.
Think about your estate planning as fireproofing your legacy. While poorly written estate plans will do little to protect your loved ones from risk, a fire-proof estate plan will ensure that your loved ones remain safe and well provided for long after you are gone.
Adequately Planning for Blended Families
For people with blended families, the question of who should receive what asset is often a much more complicated issue. Failure to properly pass on assets can leave children and other family members greatly disappointed. If a surviving spouse is placed in control of trust assets, stepchildren might be neglected in how an estate is administered. To fully fire-proof your estate plan for your blended family, make sure your estate plan is carefully drafted and that you properly review your estate plan on a regular basis.
Disagreements Among Co-Trustees
Some estate planning experts dissuade clients from appointing adult children as successor co-trustees because there is a substantial risk of disagreement among these individuals. Many estate planning disputes involve siblings who share trustee duties. The best way to fireproof your estate plan and avoid disputes among co-trustees is to review the terms of your estate plan and make sure that co-trustees are fully able to cooperate now and in the future.
Not Properly Following Trust Terms
Trusts often require terms that must be satisfied, like funding for the trust to be valid. If funding or other required duties do not occur within a set time, it can become challenging to assess who is entitled to what. To avoid these issues and fireproof your estate plan from complications involving your trusts, assess whether the trust you create can be practically administered after you pass away or become incapacitated.
Unequal Distributions to Children
Anyone who engages in estate planning has the right of testamentary freedom to pick who will receive what assets. Often, though, parents who leave unequal amounts to children end up creating hostility. Explanations from the parent, while the parent is still alive, can help the child who will receive less to understand the parent’s rationale.
Speak With an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
Avoid thinking of estate plans as documents set in stone. The best estate plan for you now might not be the best estate plan for you later. Speak with an experienced estate planning attorney. Contact attorney Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free case evaluation.