Should You Get a Second Opinion on Your Estate Plan? (Yes!)
Date: July 12, 2021

Should You Get a Second Opinion on Your Estate Plan? (Yes!)

If you have an estate plan in place, you should be commended for your foresight.  However, your estate plan might not be absolutely perfect.  If your estate plan was created several years or decades ago, your life has likely changed quite significantly in the meantime, necessitating a second opinion.  Furthermore, if your estate plan does not reflect your current life situation, is merely a calculator disguised as a plan, or structured in a manner to maximize your financial advisor’s income, it may be time for a second opinion.

Why a Second Opinion of Your Estate Plan is Necessary

Plenty of those living in and near Greeneville, TN find a review of their estate plan performed by a fee-only fiduciary CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® Professional is quite helpful.  In fact, this second opinion may have the potential to save your family members plenty of drama and a considerable sum of money.  

As an example, many financial advisors commonly see Healthcare Power of Attorneys that are not compliant with the nuanced rules of HIPAA.  HIPAA rules have been in place for nearly three decades yet some of those who create estate plans may fail to craft the language of estate plans in accordance with the language of these rules.  


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Plenty of estate plans were created decades ago, before the point in time when HIPAA rules were applicable.  As a result, the Healthcare Power of Attorney may be outdated and might not prove acceptable to a healthcare provider.  The majority of Power of Attorneys and Wills still do not cover electronic assets ranging from digital photographs to digital music, social media pages, email, etc.  

Obtain a second opinion of your estate plan to ensure it is Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) compliant.  Otherwise, your family photos, music, email, movies, and other digital items will not be accessible when you pass away.  In fact, the Supreme Court of the United States of America has even confirmed the inaccessibility of such digital items in such situations.

Consider the Changes to Your Life

Think back to everything that has changed in your life since your estate plan was initially created.  Most people create an estate plan at some point in adulthood and don’t spend much time thinking about it after its creation.  However, life is incredibly dynamic while estate plans are comparably static.  

If you are not proactive, your estate plan may not reflect your life changes.  This means if you get married, get divorced, have a child, adopt a child, lose a loved one before expected, inherit money, or lose assets, it may not be reflected in your estate plan.  This is precisely why it makes sense to get a second opinion on your estate plan.  

Meet with a Greeneville, TN fee-only fiduciary CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® Professional for a review of your estate plan, tell this individual how your life has changed since the estate plan was first written and you will have a good idea of whether changes need to be made.  These alterations to the language of your estate plan are essential to ensuring your assets are distributed to family, friends, charities, and other deserving individuals or organizations exactly as you desire.

The Estate Plan Might not be Truly Comprehensive

An estate plan made years or even decades ago might not be comprehensive.  Estate planning strategies, requirements, and other nuances have evolved as time has progressed.  Though it is somewhat disturbing to think about, the truth is some attorneys, financial advisors, insurance consultants, and accountants may not provide each estate planning client with the proper level of service.  Furthermore, there is also a chance an honest mistake was made when creating your estate plan in Greeneville.  

Truly comprehensive estate plans may also include information pertaining to insurance products including long-term care insurance that covers old age, life insurance to provide money to loved ones, and possibly also a lifetime annuity that provides income up until death.  However, this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what estate plans should include.  

The best estate plans cover all the bases, erring on the side of providing more information pertaining to the distribution of assets and medical care rather than less.  Comprehensive estate plans include wills, trusts, a durable power of attorney, beneficiary designations, a healthcare power of attorney, a letter of intent, and guardianship designations.  

Are you 100% sure your estate plan contains each of these essential components?  If you are like most people, you probably are not completely certain your estate plan has these legal documents.  Meet with an advisor at Sapiat Asset Management in Greeneville, TN for a thorough review of your unique estate plan and you will finally rest easy knowing your plan contains all the legal tools and information necessary to ensure your wishes are honored upon your departure from this plane of existence.

A Closer Look at the Pieces of Your Estate Planning Puzzle

Most Greeneville, TN adults have a will or trust yet many have not updated these legal documents in years.  Your will explains exactly how your assets will be distributed.  Trusts are also useful in that they help minimize taxes applied to estates and other legal challenges.  

Updating these legal documents after significant life changes and ensuring the wording is perfectly clear is essential to an accurate and comprehensive estate plan.  The best estate plans also include an updated power of attorney that identifies an individual to act on your behalf in the event that you become seriously ill or incapacitated.  

If the power of attorney does not exist or is out of date, the court might end up determining how your assets are handled if you become incapacitated or mentally incompetent.

Beneficiary designations set the stage for one’s possessions to be passed on to heirs without being covered in detail in a will.  Ideally, a primary beneficiary and a contingent beneficiary will be identified on accounts ranging from retirement plans to insurance plans.  

The alternative is for the court to determine how such funds are distributed upon death.  A letter of intent is a document left to a beneficiary or executor, stating what the decedent desires to be done with specific assets.  A healthcare power of attorney identifies a loved one or other individual who makes healthcare decisions on the individual’s behalf if he or she becomes incapacitated.

Your estate plan likely includes a detailed will or trust yet those documents might not have a clause pertaining to your guardianship designation.  Every individual living in and around Greeneville, TN who has minor children and even those who are thinking about having kids are encouraged to select a guardian.  

The guardian you select should share your views, have sound finances, and look forward to the opportunity to raise your children in the event that you pass away.  In order for your estate plan to be truly comprehensive, it must also name a contingent guardian, meaning an individual who serves as a backup guardian.  

If such designations are not made with an updating of your estate plan following a second opinion performed by a fee-only financial advisor in Greeneville, the court might decide that your kids are to live with a family member whom you do not hold in high regard or possibly even decide that the kids become wards of the state.

At Sapiat Asset Management, we use a personalized process to identify the financial and retirement planning strategies that meet the 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.

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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.

Steve Dick