In preparing an estate plan, it would seem to make sense that something is better than nothing, right?
Generally that is true, but what if you spend a considerable amount of time and money on a plan that is nearly done, but lacks a few finishing tasks that renders it worthless.
When a runner begins a race, his or her goal is to finish, not call it quits short of the finish line. Such was the case of an elderly couple we knew that had tried to do the right thing by working with an attorney to update their wills and set up a carefully crafted (and expensive) trust designed to help their grandchildren. After paying the attorney and filing the papers in a safe place, they felt good about what they had accomplished and didn’t think much about it as the years went by.
Eventually, they passed away and the executor of their estate and trustee of the family trust quickly learned that almost all of their financial assets had not been properly titled to designate that trust as the beneficiary. The attorney had included instructions for retitling assets in the package of legal documents, but apparently had not not discussed it with the clients or followed up to see that the trust was indeed ‘funded’ properly. The result was an unfunded trust plan that was unable to distribute the couple’s assets according to their wishes.
You don’t want this to happen to you or your loved ones. Do you know what services to expect from a qualified estate attorney? How do you know if they ‘know their stuff?’ How do you find one who understands what is important to you and doesn’t just plug your name into templates stored in their computer? Can you find someone who will take time to get to know you, understand your goals & aspirations, and how your life story connects with your estate plan? In fact, preserving your life story is JUST AS IMPORTANT as planning out the financial pieces.
Subscribe to our monthly legacy blog and newsletter. You’ll pick up some great information to help you prepare for this aspect of aging creatively! “The only thing you take with you when you’re gone is what you leave behind.” (John Allston)