Why You Need a Professionally Prepared Estate Plan, Ep #165

Do you have an estate plan? Is it up to date? Was it prepared by an estate planning professional?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you need to listen to this episode.

Today on the show, we welcome, Adam Tarsitano, an estate planning attorney in Raleigh, NC, to discuss why it is so important to have a professionally prepared estate plan in place.

Listen in to hear the difference between a professional estate plan and a DIY estate plan and what could happen to your assets if the state decides what to do with them.

When preparing your estate plan, start with your goals

When planning what to do with your estate make sure to start with your goals. What are you trying to solve for? You have been accumulating assets your whole life so you want to ensure that they are passed on in the most efficient and orderly manner possible.

Many people assume that an estate plan simply means a will, however, an estate plan is comprehensive and includes both financial power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney. Without these documents in place, your family may have to face guardianship proceedings which can be expensive and may not turn out the way that you want.

An estate plan is less for yourself and more for your heirs since they are the ones who will be dealing with the repercussions once you have passed. Having a professionally reviewed estate plan will ensure that your wishes are executed.

Why it is important to have your estate documents prepared by an estate planning attorney

Many people choose to DIY their estate planning documents. They may find a template online or even seek the help of another type of attorney or family friend to revise them. It is important to get the expertise of an estate planning attorney when preparing these documents.

Estate planning isn’t simply preparing a will, it is putting together a comprehensive plan. An estate planning attorney will bring a much deeper level of analysis than you would get with a DIY plan or even a plan prepared by another type of attorney. Estate planning attorneys understand the specific language that needs to be used to bring clarity to these documents so that they will hold up under close scrutiny.

When choosing an estate planning attorney check out their website to understand what they do. If you choose a general law office, make sure that they have an estate planning team. When you are gone your estate planning documents will be all that remains of your wishes.

Considerations for those with minor children

Anyone who has minor children should have a testamentary trust in place to catch the share of assets that may fall to them. Generally, the spouse is the primary beneficiary. The trust would then be the secondary beneficiary. The trust will ensure that equal shares are distributed between the children. A trustee will be named to manage the trust on the minors’ behalf. Then the monies will flow to the children and a predetermined age. A lifetime testamentary trust is beneficial since the money is protected from the children’s creditors in the event of divorce, bankruptcy, or other unforeseen issues. Testamentary trusts are discretionary which means that you rely on the trustee to decide what is in their best interests.

Without an estate plan in place, your estate will be left to the laws of intestancy which will most surely not distribute your assets the way that you had intended. Estate planning is one way to show your heirs how much you care even after your passing. Listen in to hear why you need a professional estate plan.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30] The goal of an estate plan is an orderly transfer of assets
  • [4:26] Why it is important to set up a trust for minor children
  • [13:57] Make sure to use full names
  • [16:30] Make sure your goals are the same every few years
  • [19:27] What is the default?
  • [23:20] Progress principle

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