Do I need to update?
Update?: One of the most common questions we hear is, “Do I need to update my trust (estate plan)?” Most lawyers do anything to avoid answering this question in order to get people to make an appointment. We really don’t like the mass marketing approach. So here is the real answer…it depends. If you have had a change in life, you probably need to update or even change your estate plan. Life change means you have a new child or grandchild or you have gotten divorced. These are the kinds of life changes that require the re-tooling and oftentimes recreation of your estate plan. After all, who wants their ex-husband/ex-wife having the right to pull the plug?
Assets: If you have more or different assets AND you have been diligent in titling all of your assets in the name of the trustee or the trust, you are probably covered. If you sold your home and bought a new one…and put the new house in the name of the trustee again, you are probably covered. If you changed your retirement beneficiary, that should pass outside your trust. But why risk it? If you have any concerns, give us a call.
Better idea: Mr. Lewis has all kinds of great ideas on how to take care of your sons and daughters after you are gone. First, always blame your attorney for unpopular plans. Some people expect to get heir money in a lump sum and quickly. Second, we will help you design an event based schedule that will control the manner in which your loved ones receive their beneficial interest. For instance, when they own their own business you will match the first $50,000 dollars in net income. Incentives like this actually work! And disincentives convey your values: the third wedding is not paid for by the trust.
Values: It is not a bad idea to create a video for your loved ones to view after you pass. It allows you to address your values and how you think they are still relevant in toady’s world. Why you think certain things are still bad and other things are still good. It cannot hurt to state your beliefs. The truth is we think our loved ones know our values, but they really only know our actions. They are guessing at the rest. It can also be a great way to help them deal with their grief, especially if you can offer some humor.