When Is The Best Time To Start Setting Up Your Estate Planning Documents? Is It Ever Too Early, Is It Ever Too Late?
It’s never too early, especially with COVID. You don’t know what’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen. The legal question is, is it ever too late? With estate planning, clients have to be aware of what they’re signing and understand what they’re signing. So I get calls like this where clients were in the hospital, and they’re not aware of what day it is or where they’re at, and they can’t sign paperwork. So, I think there is a time where it is too late where a client doesn’t know what they’re signing. It’s never too early, but there is a time where it is too late.
How Often Do You Advise Your Clients Or Anyone For That Matter To Take A Look Back At Your Estate Planning Documents Or What Would Cause Someone To Update Or Revisit Their Plan?
When they come back is when a significant life event happens, usually, when a loved one passes away, a spouse or a child passes away, or there is a falling out between the family members. We suggest reviewing it every couple of years, but the number one way we see clients come back is when usually somebody passes away. They need to update it, so and so passed, he can’t be my executor anymore. But I believe you should review it every couple of years to make sure it says what and where you want to say.
In Your Experience, Is Estate Planning A One-Size-Fits-All Or Does Every Phase In Life Or Everyone’s Circumstances Sort Of Require A More Careful Eye And Different Planning?
At my office, we have an estate planning package, and it’s our most popular package that we offer to clients. We provide the healthcare power of attorney, living will, durable power of attorney, and a last will and testament. It covers everything and is a general catchall for our clients.
Does every phase in life require different planning? That depends upon the client’s assets and where they are in life. Are they married, do they have children, do they have a business? So we have to dig into the client’s wants and needs when it comes to their estate planning, but the one-size-fits-all would be our estate planning package.
I’ve had clients hire use for our estate planning package just so that where all the bases are covered, and then once they have a little bit more time to think about it, the clients will come back and say, “Okay, I need a trust now or do something else.”
Let’s Break It Down And Talk About Some Of The Different Components That Make Up Estate Planning Documents. What Exactly Is A Will And Does A Will Need To Be Part Of Everyone’s Estate Planning Package Or Document?
A Last Will and Testament is a document that allocates how your assets will be divided up when you pass away, and you name your executor, and we always request that you name a backup executor if your first executor doesn’t want to do or can’t do it.
What Are The Benefits Or What Are The Limitations, Do You Generally Action A Will For Everyone, Who Comes In For Estate Planning?
With your Last Will and Testament, it’s your will. You can name whomever you want to. I tell clients this all the time. Those are your assets and property, and you can give them to whomever you want to. Nine times out of ten, it’s your family or loved ones or a spouse. What’s good about a will is that you name your executor, so if anything has to get probated, you file the will at the probate court, and your executor will be appointed. The probate court favors wills and what’s in the will. Our main goal is to make sure the deceased’s wishes are fulfilled. So if they wish someone to be the executor, it’s a lot easier for them to be appointed as the executor versus if there wasn’t a will. If there is no will, then we have to go about the laws in the state of Ohio. It’s a process that we have to go through, and there’s paperwork that has to get filed, and there are hearing dates that we have to have if there is no will. If you have a will, you appoint an executor, nine times out of ten, this person will be appointed if they want to act as your executor.
In case there is some asset lingering out there that the person forgot about or the paper wasn’t done correctly, the will is a catchall. So if there is a spouse and he failed to name the beneficiary something, it has to be probated. We double, triple-check, make sure through the will, it all goes to the person he wants it to go to. So, it’s a catchall just if something happened and they didn’t transfer the asset they wanted to or something like that, so it speeds up the probate process, and it’s also a catchall to make sure your wishes are fulfilled when you pass away.
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