Is Your Plan Good? Check Your Gut

The cost savings in a good estate plan can be tremendous. A good estate plan can save you and your family: (1) probate court costs and fees, (2) income taxes – perhaps in the form of more deferral on retirement assets, (3) federal estate taxes, (4) protect inheritances from creditors’ claims, (5) loss of family money in divorces, (6) wasteful spending, and (7) control the ultimate distribution of assets.  Perhaps the greatest benefit of a good estate plan is the peace of mind you will have knowing that you have put these affairs in order.

So, how are you to know if you have a good estate plan?  Well, I suggest you check your gut.  Do you have a sense that your documents should be reviewed?  Do you feel as if maybe the way your assets are titled may not work properly with your legal papers?  Are you sure that your beneficiary designations are most beneficial for your family? 

If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, then you may not have a good estate plan.  The operative word here is “plan”.  Planning requires mental involvement.  You need to be engaged in your plan.  After all, you are doing the planning.  Your lawyer is advising you.  So, whether you have a good estate plan or not depends, often, on whether you feel you have a good estate plan. 

            At our office, we usually meet with clients 4 to 6 times in the course of a representation.   I am kind of like a teacher.  I feel as if I have done a good job if the client feels good about their plan.  There are many technicalities that need to be addressed.  That is another reason for our several meeting structure.  In the end, however, check your gut.  If you feel a little uncertain about how your affairs are arranged and your current documents, it is wise to sit down with an attorney and get some answers to your questions.

Contributed by:

Mark F. Winn

Attorney at Law, PLLC