An estate plan can always use improvement. Your plan should grow and evolve just as you do in life. Besides regular reviews of your plan, here are three points to consider with your plan that can help improve it immediately.
- EXECUTOR: Who is your Executor, and do you have backups? The importance of choosing competent Executors cannot be overstated. You should have one primary Executor and two backups. These individuals will be charged with settling your estate, maximizing the estate value and minimizing taxes. The Executor is a fiduciary, someone who is charged with making sure that your beneficiaries are treated fairly and that they get everything they are owed.
- BENEFICIARY FORMS: For insurance policies, annuities, and retirement plans, a Beneficiary Designation Form (BDF) is used to determine how that account passes, NOT your Last Will & Testament. Every custodian has a different BDF and different rules. Also, each account must be coordinated with your overall estate plan. It is not as easy as filling out a form. You should review your beneficiary designations with your estate planning attorney.
- GET ON THE TRUST WAVE: Trusts are for everyone, and they have different purposes. You can use a trust to achieve asset protection for your loved ones and heirs. A trust may be used for special needs or to protect your IRA and ensure your heirs get the “stretch IRA.” A trust may also be used to protect against nursing home spend down. Trusts are no longer for the ultra-wealthy nor are they only designed to save tax dollars. Trusts are commonly used today to preserve your estate in the long run for you and your loved ones and keep the estate in your bloodlines.
Need assistance with your estate plan? Contact our firm today by calling (215) 706-0200 to schedule your initial consultation.