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Make a Will Month

Make a Will Month

August is “National Make a Will Month”

We have recently discussed corporate fiduciaries, special needs trusts, and the differences and similarities between wills and revocable trusts. Although August is officially “National Make a Will Month,” we wanted to highlight the importance of estate plans – not just wills. For today’s post we have compiled a list of tips to help ensure that your estate plan is carried out just the way you want it.

  • With an estate plan consisting primarily of a trust, it is still important to have a will because it will allow you to nominate a guardian for any minor children in the event of your death. It also serves as a “catch-all” for any assets that do not make it into the name of your trust for whatever reason.
  • As you may know, you can change the provisions or completely restate your will or revocable trust as many times as you like during your lifetime. However, if you amend or restate your trust and you are not serving as your own trustee, please be sure to provide your trustee with the new document as soon as possible after signing to ensure the changes are properly adopted. Even if you are serving as your own trustee, if you’ve provided copies of your trust to any successor trustees or trusted investment or tax advisors, you should also provide them with the updated versions as soon as practical.
  • Many people think a safe deposit box is a good place to keep your will or trust (or funeral documents and directions). But in reality, it may take several weeks or more before anyone has legal authority to access the box when you pass away.  Therefore, some suggest that keeping estate planning documents in a safe place in your home (safe or locking cabinet), so long as at least one trusted friend or family member knows where it is and how to access it, is a better place for safekeeping. Another recommendation is to leave at least a full copy of your estate plan with the person or corporate fiduciary that you name as your PR or trustee. Again, just be sure to provide them with any updates as they are made.
  • No matter what documents make up your estate plan, it is always important to work with an experienced estate planning attorney. You should also consider including your tax advisor and wealth advisors, as applicable, in your estate planning discussions. There are those who choose to try the generic on-line forms, or to perhaps work with professionals that do not specialize in estate planning to save a little time or money. In many cases this could work out okay, but in some circumstances it could be disastrous. Missing a huge planning opportunity, or something simple like a proper witness or notary where necessary, can entirely change the outcome to something that looks very different than the plan intended. It could be expensive or time-consuming to correct, and may create adversaries out of once close family members or friends.

Fiduciary Partners Trust Company has experienced professionals ready to help you with your fiduciary needs. As a neutral party, we offer services as trustee, co-trustee, personal representative, co-personal presentative, agent for fiduciary, and agent under power of attorney for finances.

Did “National Make a Will Month” encourage you to take the first step? For questions, contact us today.

Thursday, August 5, 2021
Categories: Insights

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