When developing an estate plan, interconnectedness is important. Typically, you rely on a group of professionals to handle your finances. Bankers, brokers, financial planners, and accountants all play a role. Synchronizing all of these moving parts into an estate plan is critical. If you don’t, you end up with a Frankenstein-like plan of disconnected pieces cobbled together.
Where do I start?
A pay-on-death designation is a great example of simple estate planning done by non-lawyers. The average, working-class person has assets consisting of a house and financial accounts (401k, life insurance, mutual funds, etc.) managed by a third party. Whoever manages these funds asks a standard question: “Do you want to designate a beneficiary?” When you answer with “Pay it to my wife,” you’ve just done estate planning. Upon your death, that asset will transfer to your wife. For a lot of people, the transfer of assets to a beneficiary is exactly what they want. For a few, it’s exactly what they don’t want.
What about a Will?
If you put a transfer-on-death status on your house or financial account, your Will doesn’t control that asset. Your car and possessions might be the only property then covered by your Will. This might be exactly what you want – or not. Let’s say you want Cousin Fred to get a decent inheritance because he’s always been there for you. If the only place you put this wish is in your Will, then your wish may not be fulfilled as you intended. If key assets are transferred upon death to beneficiaries, the Will has little left for Cousin Fred. Your estate plan has been defeated. When nothing in your estate plan is interconnected, your plan can easily become ineffective.
How do I coordinate beneficiary status?
The solution you need is an attorney who can coordinate your beneficiary statuses and create documents that mesh. An attorney’s job is to step back and help clients form a grand plan. An attorney is not just a vending machine of legal documents. The attorney becomes a guide to walk people through the tangled jungle of laws, facts, and wishes in order to form a comprehensive plan.
How can Attorney Shanley help?
Shanley Law offers Estate Planning Packages that take all of the moving parts and create one, master plan. Green Bay Attorney Devin Shanley creates as many documents as clients need to get everything straightened out and on the right path. Schedule a free consultation today.
About Us: Attorney Devin Shanley is the approachable expert clients can trust. A native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Devin has been developing legal solutions in his beloved hometown since 2012. Married to Mo and dad to two rambunctious kids, he has a soft spot for the Green Bay Packers, grilling out, and playing with his kids. His areas of practice are Estate Planning, Family Law, Business Law, and Non-Profit Organization Law. Schedule your free consultation by calling 920-471-4337.