Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Add Estate Planning to Your New year's Resolutions

In addition to diet and exercise, we were happy to note, a Forbes article recommended adding estate, financial, insurance, and retirement planning to a list of New Year’s resolutions. Actually, contributor Marvin Shankman was giving a lecture to lawyers, CPAs and financial advisors, who he realized are like the proverbial shoemaker with the barefoot kids. His advice, however, can benefit everyone who has been putting off getting those all-important estate planning documents in place.

Shankman himself, he explains, plans to explore bringing his children into the estate planning meeting, and suggests “you should resolve to inform, or even involve heirs and others” in your planning process in the New Year.

Do you have copies of all key estate and financing planning documents accessible in an emergency, he asks? Resolve to have electronic copies of all key documents disseminated to appropriate advisers, family, and fiduciaries, he says.

As estate planning attorneys at Geyer Law, as we work with clients to update wills, trusts, and power of attorney documents, we include language giving designated agents the ability to access digital assets, an important consideration as people continue to shift more of their finances online.
“My trusts are getting old and creaky…and could use a facelift,” Shankman admits.  Laws change, and planning techniques get more sophisticated. He has a blended family, and therefore must balance the pros and cons of using institutional trustees, not only family members.
Everyone’s documents get ‘creaky” as life brings changes - more children, more assets, a falling-out with friends or relatives, new grandchildren, split-ups, businesses or real estate properties bought or sold. At Geyer Law, we know: life does not stand still, and neither does your estate plan.
Developments that are change-drivers include new treatments and therapies that open up possibilities for “aging in place”, changes in tax law, changes in health insurance and Medicaid. While the cost of legal services is a concern for every client, at Rebecca W. Geyer, P.C., we make every effort to offer legal guidance at a fixed fee.

“Accept that estate, financial, charitable, insurance, retirement, and other planning is a process, not an end game,” Shankman concludes.  Resolve to stick with it, revisit it, and periodically address and improve whatever your plan is, he advises.   Amen to that, and - Happy New year!

- by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer blog team

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