Your estate plan is an important component of your life planning journey, and if you have taken the time and put in the effort to accomplish this critical task, you should be commended on a significant accomplishment. Now that you have come this far, there are some important next steps that you can take to help you protect all the hard work you have put in and to help ensure that your intentions are both preserved and carried out when the time to implement them comes. If you have questions or concerns about your next steps after you execute your estate plan, the experienced estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC (512-505-2753) are here to help.
Your Estate Plan Overview
Many people are confused by the very concept of an estate plan and believe that it applies only to those with palatial estates—like the Hiltons. Your estate plan is actually a template in which you address how your financial legacy –regardless of its size –will pass on to your loved ones when the time comes. Your estate plan represents a powerful tool, providing you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have done the soul searching and taken the appropriate steps to continue protecting and supporting your family in the future.
According to the Office of Financial Readiness, when it comes to your estate plan:
- Your estate plan is about much more than just putting together a Last Will and Testament (will). Instead, your estate plan addresses your overall assets, which make up your estate, and your wishes regarding these assets. This is in addition to ensuring that the plans therein will be effectively and efficiently executed when the need arises.
- Your estate plan is not a static event. As your life, your assets and your goals evolve, so will your estate plan. Keeping a running account of all changes and updates –and allowing the administrator of your estate access to this evolution –helps make sure that your estate plan keeps up with your life and your wishes.
- Streamlining is key. For example, you can help ensure that certain kinds of accounts and assets, such as retirement plans and bank accounts, bypass considerable red tape, legal complications, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax implications by completing a transfer on death designations and by designating beneficiaries.
Ultimately, your estate plan will be unique to you. By addressing every critical element, in turn, you will build a plan that upholds your wishes –in support of your family’s financial future. There is naturally a strong emotional component to estate planning that cannot and should not be ignored. The dedicated estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC have both the compassion and the keen legal insight to help ensure that your plans are financially solid and that they authentically reflect your personal wishes.
You have put in the time and effort to establish an estate plan that provides you with the peace of mind you are looking for, and that should be celebrated. Now, however, is the time to think about the important next steps after you execute your estate plan. This follow-up is intended to make sure that all your hard work and planning do not get lost in the shuffle and that your intentions will ultimately be upheld.
Store Your Documents Safely
You have your estate plan in good shape, and now, it is time to think about storing these documents safely and with careful intention. Keeping all the following in mind is well-advised:
- Keep your documents well organized and easy for the administrator of your estate to process.
- Keep your documents in a locked, fire-safe box that protects them from destruction.
- Consider using a safety deposit box at your bank for additional security.
- Make sure that the administrator of your estate knows how and where to access these important documents.
Designate Your Beneficiaries and Fund Your Trust
Whether you create a revocable living trust(funded in your lifetime)or a testamentary trust (a trust in your will funded after your death), the first thing to do is to designate the trustee of your trust as a beneficiary of any asset that will be used to fund the trust. Speak to your financial planner or contact your estate planning attorney to figure out how best to fund your trust.
Generate a List of Key Contacts
Depending upon how complex and expansive your estate plan is, you may need more than one contact person (to carry out various aspects of the plan). Make sure that each of your key contacts receives a digital copy of the estate planning documents that are relevant to him or her; implement a reliable update system (for any edits you make along the way), and make sure that the primary administrator of your estate knows where you keep the original copies and how he or she can access them.
Coordinate Your Efforts
Your estate plan is unlikely to be a single document or effort. An important post-planning step that is easy to lose sight of but that tends to be immensely beneficial is coordinating all the components of your estate plan, including those accounts with beneficiaries, into a consolidated whole. Addressing each separate piece as part of an organic whole helps to ensure that you find balance within your planning efforts and that these efforts are not tripped up by loose ends.
Attend to the Digital Details
Gone are the days that everyone’s estate plan was memorialized on paper and locked in a safe. Estate plans are much more likely to have a digital component now (including contact and password information for retirement accounts, financial holdings, and more), and it is important to address this aspect of your estate plan from the outset. Compiling critical identification and password information, keeping it secure, and ensuring that the people who need to access it are able to access it when they need to is key.
Revisit Your Estate Plan with the Professional Guidance of an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
Estate planning is important to you, and you are committed to taking the next steps after you execute your estate plan. While this process can feel daunting, you are not alone in your efforts. The knowledgeable estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC have the impressive experience, legal focus, and drive to help you. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 512-505-2753 today.