A Process; not a Transaction
A good estate plan is by necessity a process, not a transaction. After your estate plan is implemented, many things can happen that will affect the initial design of your estate plan. The laws about estate taxes, capital gains taxes, qualified retirement assets and income taxes can change. Many of these laws have been changed recently but are not permanent in nature and may sunset back to laws in effect before you signed your documents. The nature and value of your assets may change. Your family and personal situation evolves regularly. Those who you have initially chosen to manage your affairs or make health care decisions for you in the event of disability may, after time, not be the best choices in the future. For these reasons, it is impossible to guarantee that the estate plan you initiate will work as you intend if it is not regularly reviewed and updated. Upon your death, when your estate plan really has to work, it may cost your family more to settle your affairs than had you engaged in a regular and review, maintenance and updating process.
The Importance of Maintenance
There are three critical phases to a proper estate plan; the design process, the maintenance process, and the settlement process. Each of these phases incurs costs. But the money saved by failing to maintain and update your estate plan may be far less than the increased costs incurred by your family upon your death because the estate plan was not properly maintained. A Living trust is only effective to the extent that you have properly aligned your assets with the trust. In addition to updating the trust to incorporate changes in the law and changes to your family situation, it is critical to constantly review how your assets are titled and ensure that the funding process of your Living trust is complete, maintained and updated. Regular reviews with your estate planning
attorney are essential.
Access to Attorneys and Staff
The members of our team will be available to answer your questions whether by telephone or email whenever and as often as you would like.
Client Education Services
Our maintenance program will provide regular educational workshops for our clients, their family, and successor Trustees. The topics of such workshops will include recent changes to the trust and estate tax laws, what successor Trustees should do if you become disabled and when you die, and how to maximize your Social Security benefits.
We will review your estate plan whenever you reasonably request, and at least every two years, and we will update your plan as the law changes, when your personal situation or goals change, and as the nature and value of your assets change. This will ensure that your estate plan will always be up to date.
Asset Review, Tracking and Updating
We will provide regular reviews of your asset funding, and will also provide regular funding updates to ensure that your trust is fully funded and will work as it designed.
Within sixty (60) days after your estate plan is completed, (or as soon thereafter as you can arrange for all your family to participate), we will provide you the opportunity to meet with us, your family members, and your financial and professional advisors who will implement your plan so we can answer of their questions, explain how your plan works, and explain how to settle your trust upon your passing.
Coordination with Advisors
Our staff will be available to consult with your financial advisors, accountants, and insurance professionals. They will provide electronic copies of your documents should you so request.
Additional Participant Benefits
We will provide free Notary Public Services as and when needed and will provide copies of your estate planning documents to your advisors and others upon your request. You will also be invited to an annual appreciation event.