Estate Planning Awareness Week 2015

Estate Planning Awareness Week

October 19 – 25

Don’t Delay Your

The need for financial planning is obvious, so why do so few people do it? Here are a few reasons:

  • Unorganized finances
  • Lack of financial knowledge
  • Not enough time
  • Procrastination
  • Lack of goals as a motivating force

Five Steps Toward
Estate Planning

1. DEFINE YOUR GOALS: What do you want to happen to your assets in the event of your death or disability? Who do you trust to execute your wishes?

2. GATHER & ORGANIZE YOUR DATA: Review your financial position. Review title to your assets. Review your beneficiary selections.

3. DEVELOP YOUR STRATEGIES: Identify needed legal documents or needed adjustments to existing documents.

4. IMPLEMENT YOUR PLAN: Draft or amend documents; change title; inform agents, executors, and trustees.

5. TRACK & MONITOR YOUR PROGRESS: Review your estate plan regularly and after changes in your family situation or net worth.

Checklist of Changes Requiring Review of Estate Plan

Changes in family relations

  • Marriage, separation, or dissolution
  • Illness/death of a spouse, child, heir
  • Changes in family members
  • Economic change: good or bad fortune
  • Attitude change toward testator/trustor
  • Change to heir (finance, drugs, lifestyle, etc.)

Changes in your economic or personal condition

  • Changes in assets
  • Change in insurability-health, life, disability,  long-term care
  • Change in employment (benefits)
  • Change in business interests (partnerships, corporations, LLC)

External changes

  • Changes in laws; state and federal income, estate or gift taxes; property; trusts; probate
  • Change of residence
  • Death, disability or relocation of executer, successor trustee, agent or guardian
Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. 
— Alan Lakein

Protect Your Family

Over 50% of our adult population does not have a current or up-to-date estate plan to protect themselves and their family’s assets; that’s half your family, friends, and associates.

Estate planning is a financial process that can protect you and your family and is a very important component of your overall financial planning. Now is the perfect time to put your estate planning house in order. If you don’t have an up-to-date estate plan and you happen to get hurt or sick and cannot manage your financial affairs, the courts will have to appoint someone to manage them for you. The person they appoint might not be the one you would want to perform those tasks.

Without an estate plan, when you pass away, your affairs will be settled by default through a complex legal system called “probate.” The crafting of a good estate plan starts with planning, followed by the proper drafting and signing of appropriate legal documents such as wills, trusts, buy-sell agreements, durable powers of attorney for asset management, and an advanced health-care directive or health-care power of attorney. Having these documents in place saves you and your family a lot of money and time at a very difficult and emotional time.

Regardless of the extent of your net worth, estate planning is important for everyone. Complex strategies may be used by wealthy people to reduce death taxes and costs. Others may only require a simple will and/or trust to pass on property to their heirs and provide for minor children.

Even if a simple will is all you require, an estate plan is an essential part of your financial planning. Everybody will need it someday. The time to address or update your estate plan is now.

For more information on estate planning content contact

By, Alba Melena and Merrill Hanson

This page is not intended to convey legal advice.  You should contact an attorney for your specific situation.  Please read our Disclaimer page for more information.