For the month of August, we are making it even easier to put together your life legacy plan. Read on for our special offer.

If you’ve experienced a close family member’s illness, injury, or death, you understand the importance of legal planning for such events. This is even more true if you had to deal with the chaos when there is no such legal plan. A comprehensive plan is often called an “estate plan”. But you don’t have to be wealthy to benefit from an estate plan. Anyone who may have or experience the following should have an estate plan:

  • Injury that results in incapacity (even temporary)
  • Illness that results in incapacity (remember COVID?)
  • Someone who depends on them, financially or for day-to-day care (an elderly parent, a child, a grandparent, a pet, or a disabled relative or friend)
  • Pets
  • Investments
  • A home
  • A business
  • Rental property

This is a small sample of who may want to have a clear legal plan in place, for both the expected and the unexpected. Your estate plan is an instruction manual for when you cannot make decisions: who will care of your dependent(s), who will manage your finances (your investments, rental properties, home, etc.), and who will make decisions about your medical treatment and care, and any limitations you want placed on that treatment. It is also an instruction manual for what you want upon your death: what happens with your home, your pet, your business, artwork, and what you want done with your remains (donate to science, burial, cremation, for example).

A Will provides basic instructions; Revocable Living Trust is the vehicle that holds your assets and makes it easier to get them where you want them to go, in the way you want them to get there. If you have young children, you can designate someone to manage any money or property that you leave, until the children are mature enough to manage it themselves. You may want to protect your widow from a future new spouse taking the property you left as inheritance. If you are in a blended family, you may want to make sure you provide for your children from a prior relationship as well as your spouse. You can leave something to your favorite charity and even control how that donation is to be used. Most importantly, a Revocable Living Trust keeps your estate out of Probate court, which speeds up the process of getting your loved ones what they need, minimizes the trauma for those already grieving, and eliminates probate fees and costs, preserving the value of your holdings for your loved ones.

Creating a legal plan for both expected and unexpected life events doesn’t have to be complicated. To help smooth out the process, here are a few tips:

  • Make a list of everything you own: homes, investments, bank accounts, art, jewelry, and other valuables.
  • Update your designated beneficiaries on your insurances policies, investments, and retirement accounts. If you are recently divorced, you need to change your insurance beneficiary from your former spouse. A divorce does not automatically nullify such designation – your ex may sill inherit.
  • If you already have a plan in place, review it every couple of years to update it with any new assets or loved ones, and to make any necessary changes to your wishes.
  • When reviewing your existing plan, update those you have designated for various tasks: executor, healthcare power of attorney, financial power of attorney, guardian for your child or pet. Make sure these people a) are still willing and able to take on the assigned role and b) are people you still trust.

While it may be tempting to “do-it-yourself” or use an online program to create your legal plan because it’s cheap and fast, these tend to be little more than “find and replace” systems that populate your name and assets into templates that do not accomplish your goals. Unfortunately, you won’t know it until it’s too late to fix. A strong plan is one that is clear in your instructions and minimizes the chance of creating conflict among your family that results in a lengthy and costly will contest later on. Get the peace of mind knowing that you have a plan customized to you and your goals, for yourself and your loved ones.

Call Diana L. Martinez to schedule your free introduction and let’s put your life legacy plan in place today. In honor of National Make-A-Will month, we are offering a $200 discount until the end of August 2023. Just mention this blog and let’s start your life legacy plan.

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