3 Examples of why You Shouldn’t put off Your Estate Planning
If you are like many pre-retirees in the Greater Greeneville, TN area, you may have heard about estate planning and possibly even researched it, yet have not moved forward with laying the groundwork for the distribution of your hard-earned money and assets. The time has come to move estate planning from the back burner to the front burner, guaranteeing your money is distributed exactly as you desire after you depart this plane of existence.
Though estate planning requires meeting with a professional or professionals such as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional and an attorney, it is worth the time investment. The peace of mind you enjoy after your estate plan is in place will prove truly invaluable. If you are still on the fence as to whether it is prudent to seize the opportunity to perform estate planning now rather than pushing it off into the future, consider the three examples detailed below.
Example #1: Stop Procrastinating!
One of our previous clients procrastinated for years, putting off her estate planning time and time again, assuming it could wait. This procrastination ended up backfiring in a big way. When the client finally relinquished and gave in, commencing work on her estate plan, she passed away the night prior to the initial estate planning meeting.
The result of this unfortunate development was a family drama that pitted the decedent’s husband against the client’s children from her initial marriage to determine how her assets would be divided. This is quite a disturbing result considering the fact that the client planned on leaving all of her money and assets to her loving husband of 20 years.
When all was said and done, the client’s husband was forced to provide the children from his late wife’s first marriage with a couple hundred thousand dollars. The client could have easily prevented this outcome by putting her money in a trust at death. This approach would have ensured the client’s hard-earned assets would be specifically used for her loving husband’s benefit after her departure from this plane of existence. When he passed away, the remaining assets could have been bequeathed to the children from the wife’s first marriage. If the client would have taken this approach, it is quite likely everyone she loved would have received a fair inheritance in due time.
Example #2: Delaying Can Come Back to Bite You If The Unexpected Unfolds
Another client delayed her estate planning for several years. When the client finally agreed to craft an estate plan, her signature on those documents was delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Concerns related to being in the presence of others in order to sign the documents caused the client to delay inking her name, meaning the estate planning paperwork did not constitute valid legal documents.
Sadly, this client passed away prior to signing the documents. The client desired to leave all of her money and other assets to his husband. A legal battle played out between the husband and the decedent’s offspring. State law determined the decedent’s husband would receive 60% of the assets while 40% went to the offspring. This unfair distribution of assets that went against the client’s wishes could have been prevented with a comprehensive estate plan. Such an estate plan would have placed the client’s assets in a trust at death, ensuring her husband would receive the money.
Example #3: Why Completely Neglecting Estate Planning is a Major Mistake
One of our clients completely avoided the subject of estate planning. This client refused to broach this somewhat sensitive subject, likely because she did not want to ponder the prospect of passing away. Though this uneasiness pertaining to the subject of death is certainly understandable, it is not an excuse to completely ignore estate planning. The bottom line is you cannot simply assume everything will work out after you pass away.
Unfortunately, this client ended up passing away in a car accident. The client departed this plane of existence with debt totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. Making matters worse is the fact that the client lacked life insurance. The client’s husband of three decades was forced to sell the family’s home as he could no longer afford to make the mortgage payments. Salt was added to this gaping wound when the client’s husband was forced to obtain employment after spending several decades out of the workforce.
The lack of estate planning ultimately caused the clients to transition from an upper-middle-class life to living in poverty, paying the rent with each paycheck. This outcome could have been avoided with prudent estate planning complete with life insurance that would have satisfied the client’s debts and also provide her loyal husband with cash in the form of a lump sum. This payout would have empowered the decedent’s husband to maintain his quality of life long after his wife’s passing.
Estate Planning is a Vitally Important Component of Comprehensive Financial Planning
If you have not yet met with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional, learn from the mistakes detailed above and take action to prepare your family for the future. Even if your spouse works or if your kids have moved out of the house and have careers of their own, you will still benefit from comprehensive financial planning including estate planning provided by a financial advisor professional.
Meet with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional at Sapiat Asset Management, and let us help you design a plan around your desires for the distribution of your assets and set the stage for your family’s success long after you pass away. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional, we will prepare all the necessary documentation and can help you submit that paperwork to an attorney to make them official. Furthermore, at Sapiat Asset Management we will schedule the review of your estate planning documents every half-decade. If any major life changes occur in the meantime, you can reach out to us for assistance. If tax laws or other laws pertaining to estate planning change in the years ahead, you will be notified so the appropriate alterations can be made to your plan.
If you don’t have an attorney, don’t worry! Our team is here to connect you with a nearby estate planning attorney suitable for your unique needs. We may also be able to serve as witnesses as you sign the estate planning legal documents such as:
- Your living will with organ donation wishes
- Your last will and testament
- Your durable power of attorney
- Your healthcare power of attorney with HIPPA waiver
- Your power of attorney for electronic assets
Our overarching aim is to ensure the estate planning process is as seamless, quick, and as easy as possible.
Assistance for Clients With Highly Unique or Complex Financial Situations
If you have particularly complex desires or if your financial picture is complicated, don’t worry. Our team is here to help establish a trust that ensures your assets are properly distributed exactly as you desire. There are several different types of trusts. The type of trust ideal for you might not be ideal for your neighbor, your co-worker, or your best friend. As an example, clients with substantial assets who are on their second or third marriage should consider a prenuptial agreement prepared with the assistance of a divorce attorney, ultimately ensuring hard-earned money is protected and distributed as desired.
Comprehensive Estate Planning is a Call Away
Truly comprehensive estate planning accounts for how assets will be used to provide a suitable quality of life and ongoing care for loved ones. Whether you have a dependent spouse, minor children, or disabled children, you can benefit from a professionally crafted estate plan. We can also assist our clients in using professional executors & trustees (as opposed to family members).
Our estate planning services are without an extra charge as we believe estate planning to be a key component of comprehensive financial planning. Though clients must pay attorney fees, most of the attorneys we work with provide our clients with favorable pricing as our team does the majority of the work.
At Sapiat Asset Management, we use a unique, personalized process to identify the estate and financial planning needs of our clients. Our knowledge of your financial situation is a big part of the foundation that drives our relationship with you. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.
Sapiat Asset Management is a Fee-Only, Independent, Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), specializing in goal-oriented financial planning and investment management for Gen X Individuals & Families, their Businesses, & the Trusts that benefit them and their heirs.