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Essential Documents to Include When Updating Your Estate Plan

Posted by Sergio White | Dec 30, 2019 | 2 Comments

As we approach the New Year, you may be thinking about updating your estate plan. Periodically reviewing your estate plan is a good practice to maintain. You may find that your needs have changed since the last time your estate plan was updated. Also, you may discover that certain key documents have been carelessly omitted from your estate plan. Here are four essential documents to consider including when updating your estate plan.

Beneficiary Designation for Bank Accounts

When creating an estate plan, many people focus on protecting their largest assets, including real estate and retirement accounts. However, bank accounts are often the simplest and most forgotten asset within a person's financial portfolio.

Federal banking regulations allow a bank account holder to designate a beneficiary to receive the balance of his or her account upon death. In most states, you can also register your bonds, stocks or brokerage accounts to be transferred to your beneficiary after your death. An Upland estate planning attorney can help you achieve this goal.

Life Insurance Policy

Recent surveys indicate that nearly forty percent of Americans do not have any life insurance. This is a mistake, since life insurance is an essential component of a balanced estate plan.

If you have children who are minors, own a home, have debt or are liable for estate taxes, then you should consider purchasing life insurance. An estate planning lawyer can offer advice on how to purchase the right life insurance plan for you and your beneficiaries.

Payable-on-Death (POD) Account

Everyone knows that they are going to die. However, many people do not consider who is going to pay for their funeral. If you do not want your family coming out of pocket for your funeral expenses, then you should consider paying for them in advance.

One way of doing this is by opening a bank account that is payable only at death. Once you pass away, your beneficiary can retrieve the money and use it to pay for your funeral. Payable-on-death accounts are popular since they do not have to pass through probate. However, you should always check with an estate planning attorney to ensure that this is the best option for you.

Organized Succession Plan

If you are a small business owner, then you should have an organized succession plan in the event that you pass away. This will ensure that your business is protected from relatives or employees that want to take over the business.

You should also consider setting up a buyout agreement if you share ownership of a business with another party. A buyout agreement will determine who can buy your shares of the business and what the price is for these shares after you pass away or choose to leave. Consult with a California estate planning law firm to see if an organized succession plan makes sense for your business.

Contact an Upland Estate Planning Attorney Today

If you plan on updating your estate plan in the New Year, then you need a knowledgeable attorney on your side. At Family First Estate Planning Law Center, we can provide you with the assistance you need to feel confident in your estate planning decisions. Contact us today at (714) 591-0640 or fill out our confidential contact form to learn more.

About the Author

Sergio White

Sergio White is the Owner and Principal Attorney of Family First Estate Planning Law Center. Mr. White is a California native who graduated from The University of Southern California in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science.  He received his Juris Doctor from Loyola Law Scho...


Thomas Clarence Reply

Posted Sep 30, 2020 at 11:44:30

It never would have occurred to me that life insurance is an important part of a balanced estate plan. Would it be a good idea to hire an attorney when you are trying to create an estate plan for the first time? It seems like hiring an attorney is a good idea because they will be able to help you include things that you didn’t know you needed.

Sergio White Reply

Posted Sep 30, 2020 at 13:26:10

Absolutely. Because while most people have an idea of what they think an estate plan is or should be, based on what they have heard or observed in life, the reality is the thing that can hurt your family is what you don’t know. An experienced estate planning attorney can look at your plans, ask you, questions you might not have thought of, help you see what you are missing and assist you in creating a solid estate plan designed specifically for you and your family’s needs and circumstances.

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