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Revisit your Estate and Business Succession Plan Today

Coronavirus will certainly change how all of us will most likely conduct ourselves in the future.  Social gatherings, business meetings, church celebrations, and even small family and friend gatherings will probably forever be impacted by the virus.

One thing that will not be changing for our clients, is the desire to make sure that they take care of their families and business in the event of a disability or death. During this current hiatus, it is a perfect time to revisit your estate and business succession plan. Here are some observations and tips that your estate planning attorney, along with our firm, can assist you with potential updates and future planning:

  1. Thoroughly review your current will and trust to make sure that your ultimate goals, objectives, and beneficiaries are being addressed. Children get older, charity desires change, some beneficiaries, successor trustees, executors, or designated Durable Power of Attorney (DPA) could be deceased. There have been some recent estate tax laws that have changed. All of these should be analyzed and updated. Often, upon consultation with your attorney, a simple addendum can address your desired changes without drafting a whole new document. 
  1. Make sure you have approved and selected your Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, Financial Power of Attorney in the event you are incapacitated or unable to make decisions. One key provision is a contingent advocate in the event your designated person/entity is deceased, disabled, or declines the responsibility. 
  1. Check the beneficiaries on all your life insurance policies, retirement plans (IRA’s, 401k’s, pensions, stock options, etc.…)  You should check and evaluate the selected primary and contingent beneficiaries every 3-5 years or as a result of a life event (i.e. marriage, divorce, birth of child). This will ensure that your beneficiaries are aligned with your estate plan and more importantly your ultimate distribution wishes. 
  1. Review, understand, and confirm the appropriate ramifications to you, your spouse, and family on all Social Security, Medicare, Pension, and Annuity benefits at the time of your retirement or in the event of your death or disability. Please feel free to contact our team for direction and review. 
  1. It is important to review your property titling, as it is one of the major advantages of having a revocable living trust. It allows assets properly titled to the trust the ability to bypass probate and reduce administrative and legal fees at the time of your death or disability. Assets that may need to be titled to your trust include:
  1. Individual or joint brokerage, savings, and checking accounts may require a change of ownership to the trust or a Transfer on Death (TOD) directive to your trust if you or your spouse pass away.
  2. Company Stock Options, Stock Certificates, and Government Bonds that are not in your brokerage account should be retitled to your trust or have a TOD completed in order to simplify distribution.
  3. Personal Residence 
  4. Small and partial business ownership 
  1. For larger estates and second homes, consider drafting additional trust planning documents to reduce estate taxes and manage the family’s holdings. These may include:
  1. A second home personal residence trust
  2. An irrevocable life insurance trust or specific asset trusts
  3. Charitable remainder, lead, and unit trusts.

 These more sophisticated trusts will require involvement of your legal team. If you have not yet connected your attorney with EWM, we encourage you to send us their information and we will make the first contact. With your permission, we can work on your side together. 

  1. Check all your company benefit plans to make sure you have selected adequate life insurance and disability insurance coverage for your needs.  Review your company health savings accounts, paid medical leave, flexible spending accounts, and check beneficiary designations.  Discuss coverage with your EWM team to ensure you are not over or under insured. This is a vital part of your overall financial plan. 
  1. During this Stay Home, Stay Safe directive it is an opportune time to review your risk management and insurance planning needs with your EWM team.
  1. Life Insurance
  2. Disability Insurance
  3. Long Term Care Insurance (An often-overlooked critical coverage)
  4. Business Insurance (Buy-Sell Life and Disability Insurance) 
  1. For any business owner or partnership, it is important to review your business succession plan. Make sure that your buy-sell as well as succession plan documents are updated to protect your spouse, family, partner, other stockholders, and beneficiaries. It is important to confirm you are not underinsured for the value of your business in the event of disability or death. 
EWM, along with your accountant, and legal team are here to assist you in making sure that your planning is up to date to reflects your ultimate desires. 

Without sharing any of your personal information, we can initiate the relationship at your request and for your benefit.  
Please contact us at (810) 229-6446 or by emailing info@ewmadivsors.com if you would like assistance in any of these estate planning or insurance initiatives.