Watch this short video that briefly explains the importance of aligning your assets with your family’s estate planning documents.
In 2017, I decided to work with a Nevada attorney who I know and trust to create an additional component to my estate plan. Like many of you who have created an estate plan, I worked with the attorney for a few weeks on the design, and once the estate plan was finalized, I went to the attorney’s office and the attorney gave me a book filled with my estate planning documents—I was very relieved and proud to have my wishes documented for my family.
In late 2018, prior to a serious medical procedure, I had Kaiser Law Group’s paralegals review my estate plan along with my assets to make sure all was in good order. I was shocked when my paralegal reported that none of my assets were aligned with the Nevada portion of my estate plan. I thought, “How could this be? I hired a smart and trustworthy attorney, I paid the firm good money, and the attorney gave me my book of estate planning documents? Everything should be done.” When I called my Nevada attorney to express my dismay at my paralegals’ findings, my attorney directed me to the estate planning binder and the cover letter within the binder. The cover letter directed me to the 10-page instructions under one of the tabs in my binder that instructed me to align the assets with my trust.
In my mind, even though I knew intellectually that I had to take additional steps with respect to my assets, like many of our clients, I fell into the illusion that when I received my magic binder of estate planning documents my family would be taken care of if something were to happen to me. After walking a mile in our clients’ shoes, I realized our clients were having the exact same experience once I handed them a binder of estate planning documents with ten pages of instructions for “trust funding.”
My experience with my own estate plan crystallized one of the main reasons why we implemented a Legacy Program at Kaiser Law Group. The Legacy Program is designed to not only provide our clients with a thoughtfully designed estate plan, but to also make sure our clients’ assets are aligned with the plan – so that the plan actually works! Clients on our Legacy Program experience Kaiser Law Group taking on the task of accurately completing the paperwork to re-title assets to their trust and designate beneficiaries or communicating with institutions when clients want our help. We also follow up to make sure that there are verifications documenting that assets are aligned with the estate plan.
Of course, the Legacy Program has other meaningful benefits, such as family meetings, ongoing communication with our clients’ teams of advisors, and proactive updates to our client’s family estate plan due to life or law changes. Ultimately however, if the assets are not aligned with the estate plan, those thoughtfully-designed estate planning documents will simply not be effective to take care of the family as the trust creators intended. In fact, when we carry out traditional estate plans, those plans USUALLY have one or more assets that aren’t in harmony with the plan – resulting in a partial probate, conflict between family members over the trust creators’ true intentions, or tax inefficiencies.
Please take a look at this short video that briefly explains the importance of aligning your assets with your family’s estate planning documents.