Naming long-term guardians for your kids is critical and should be your number-one planning priority to ensure they will never end up in the hands of strangers in the event of your incapacity or death.
Proactive measures to help stave off risks posed by the big wealth transfer is important to make sure your wealth is protected and put to the best use possible, regardless of how much or how little wealth you plan to pass on or stand to inherit. Having a comprehensive plan and openly discussing your values and legacy with your loved ones is another key way to ensure your planning strategies work exactly as you intended. Here are several important actions to take for wealth transfer.
It is crucial to create (and regularly update) an inventory of all your assets, including digital assets in your trust and to immediately amend your plan following major life events like divorce, deaths, births, and inheritances to ensure that your assets will never be lost and will be inherited by your family. Learn here the consequences of not updating your plan.
Your "When I die" file is one crucial part of your plan as it will give your loved ones access to all your planning documents, financial accounts, digital assets, etc. in the event of your potential incapacity or death. Failure to execute this file will result in your family an agonizing work and endless expenses in tracking down your assets and worse, they will all end up as if they never existed. Read here to know what to include in your file.
Putting a proper Estate Plan in place gives you confidence and peace of mind that your assets will be protected and that your loved ones will be provided and cared for no matter what happens to you. Without one, your heirs could face huge tax burdens, hefty attorney fees, or worse, the courts could designate how your assets are divided and even who gets to raise your children.
A will is an integral part of your estate plan, but it is not enough to protect your wishes in the event of incapacity or death. There’s a common saying among lawyers: “Where there’s a will, there’s a probate.” But having your family end up in court or conflict is no laughing matter. That's why it is important to complete a comprehensive estate plan in addition to the will, including a trust (if needed), advanced health care directive, financial power of attorney, and Kids Protection Plan®.
No matter who you are, your life will inevitably change: families change, laws change, assets change, and goals change. In the absence of any major life events, it is important to review your plan annually to make sure its terms are up to date. There are several common life events that require you to immediately update your plan—that is, if you want it to actually work and keep your loved ones out of court and out of conflict.
You might assume your close family and friends will take care of your children if anything ever happens to you, but everything won’t be simple and easy unless you prepare for it. Your family and friends would probably want to take care of your children, but it is not up to them to decide. If you did not appoint a guardian for your children, even a stranger could gain custody of your loved ones. Plan now so you could make certain that your children are never taken into the care of strangers.
Traveling, especially in foreign destinations, means you’ll likely be at greater risk than usual for illness, injury, and even death. In light of this reality, you must have a legally sound and updated estate plan in place before taking your next trip. Read here the 4 critical estate planning tasks before going on vacation.
It’s critically important to have the appropriate safeguards in place to reduce the risk of fraud and identity theft, especially for your senior parents. Because your parents are probably not as savvy about digital technology and may be losing some of their powers of discernment as they age, it’s quite likely up to you to help them protect themselves—and ultimately your inheritance.