Losing a loved one is, first and foremost, an emotional experience. However, unavoidable financial and logistical considerations are also lurking in the wings. In the aftermath of someone's passing, the task of making final arrangements and juxtaposing profound grief with mundane business transactions can often feel a bit surreal. This is particularly true when the death is unexpected or if family members disagree about what arrangements should be made.
Creating an estate plan is a highly personal event. It requires people to open up and make plans for what they want to happen to their personal property, who they want to make decisions on their behalf, and what type of legacy they wish to leave.
Estate and end-of-life planning are topics that often put people on edge. Maybe they make you feel uncomfortable or anxious, or maybe they seem too overwhelming and complicated to think about.
An estate plan is a valuable tool for any adult. It can minimize taxes, protect property, and provide critical guidance to loved ones who may otherwise struggle with making difficult decisions on your behalf.
Selecting someone to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated or pass away can be a difficult decision. Though most people choose a spouse, an adult child, sibling or parent to fill these roles, the decision is completely up to you.
Creating an estate plan is a wise decision for any adult. It allows people to document their wishes, appoint people to act on their behalf, and distribute their property after the die.
Many people face a very difficult situation when a loved one passes away. They often deal with grief, loneliness, and sometimes anger. Unfortunately, the process of managing and distributing that person's estate and assets doesn't make the situation any easier.
When people think about protecting assets and providing for family in their estate plan, they often think about real property and end-of-life care decisions. These are certainly critical to protect, but there are other elements of an estate plan that warrant protection, even though they are intangible.
The situation: Our client retired, then went through a divorce. After remarrying, he submitted a beneficiary change form to his retirement plan administrator, naming his second wife as the new survivor beneficiary of his retirement account. The plan administrator never communicated that this change could not be made after his retirement date, which had long since passed. After he passed away, the benefit was paid to the first wife, but mailed to the second wife. It was then that they realized there was an error in the administration of the plan that needed to be addressed.