Last month, we shared a good chunk of the questions we ask our clients during the estate planning process. The goal is to get to know them and their family and customize a strategy that fits their situation. But what happens when the answers to some questions are unanswerable or change over time? This is why flexibility in estate planning is so important.
Think about all the questions you can’t answer right now:
- When are you going to die or become incompetent?
- What will the laws be when you die?
- What assets will you own when you die?
- What will your family situation be when you die?
- Will all your assets be in the trust when you die?
Flexibility in estate planning is important because circumstances and laws will change. And when they do, your family will need an instrument that can adapt to situations you and them can’t predict or control. The problem is that most estate plans are designed based on the circumstances that prevail when the plan is created and usually have language to cover only some contingencies. This is not the best way to ensure your affairs will be handled the way you want and need.
At Leigh Hilton PLLC in Denton, TX, we know you need your estate plan to work when you die or become incapacitated. We’ve put several methods into practice to create flexibility in estate planning.
Language covering anything that could go wrong
In Who Gets Your Stuff When You Die: 14 Secrets For Protecting Everyone You Love And Everything You Own, I explain that it is critical your estate planning attorney know anything and everything about you and your family. I customize my clients’ estate plans to cover all known issues discovered during the time we discuss the family situation. I also add language to cover all the things that I see could go wrong or be entered into the mix in the future. Examples include:
- The birth of a child
- Marriage or divorce
- The death of a loved one named in your estate plan
- Additional assets
- Changes in tax reform
Simply put, estate planning is in a constant state of flux. One way we combat that and maintain flexibility is by adding a Trust Protector. The way this works is by authorizing an independent trustee to appoint another independent person to make changes in the Trust or Will so that it may adapt to changes. This corrects errors while also allowing greater flexibility in accommodating changes in a beneficiary’s circumstances or changes in the law.
All the estate plans I draft also include a Standby Supplemental Needs Trust, which protects beneficiaries if they later become disabled and have a need for government benefits.
Will we be able to account for absolutely any scenario? That’s difficult to answer, but together with my clients, I can make some educated guesses to include many possibilities into the plans we create. We also suggest reviewing estate plans every three years to make sure everything base is covered.
Call Leigh Hilton PLLC today!
Flexibility in estate planning is important, so please call Leigh Hilton PLLC so that we can help ensure your family will be taken care of in the best way possible. Proper planning of an estate, whether through a Will, Trust, or both, helps ensure your wishes are carried out – regardless of how often your circumstances change.
Leigh Hilton PLLC wants to be your first call every time for any estate planning need. We look forward to serving you.
Thanks for reading!