As you take time to give thanks this holiday season, it may be time for you to consider how you will show your family your appreciation. Keeping your estate planning documents and beneficiary designations up-to-date is one of the best gifts you can give your loved ones.
What Estate Planning Can Do for Your Family – and You Having a comprehensive estate plan, for example, can:
Allow you to control not just the disposition of your assets, but the timing of the disposition as well. For example, trusts can be used to provide for children until they are old enough to handle assets responsibly themselves.
Allow more money to go to your loved ones or to charities of your choice instead of to federal and state taxes.
Prevent the hassle and expense of probate in certain jurisdictions where revocable trusts can be used, when appropriate, to bypass the probate process.
Allow you to nominate a loved one to protect your interests if you are incapacitated.
Give you peace of mind knowing that you have made your wishes clear and legally binding.
Updating Documents and Designations If it’s been years (or even decades!) since you considered your estate planning, or if you have not done any planning yet, it’s time to consult with an estate planning lawyer about your needs and desires. Federal laws change regularly and your estate planning attorney can review your documents to determine if updates are needed to reflect those changes. If you have experienced major life events, such as the birth of children or grandchildren, death in the family or divorce, you may need to make changes to your will and other estate planning documents to reflect your changed family circumstances.
Don’t forget that the documents prepared by your attorney are only part of your estate plan. Your estate plan also includes the beneficiary designation for assets like retirement plans and life insurance. Make sure that those designations are consistent with your current wishes.
*Randall A. Denha, JD, LL.M., is the Principal and Founder of the law firm of Denha & Associates, PLLC with offices in Birmingham, MI and West Bloomfield, MI. Mr. Denha continues to be recognized as a “Super Lawyer” by Michigan Super Lawyers in the areas of Trusts and Estates; a “Top Lawyer” by D Business Magazine in the areas of Estate Planning and Tax Law; a Five Star Wealth Planning Professional and a New York Times Top Attorney in Michigan. Mr. Denha can be reached at 248-265-4100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org