Life is uncertain. While no one likes to think about their mortality, the hard fact is that everyone will pass away some day and leave assets to someone else. If you don’t have an estate plan in place, we highly suggest you consider talking with our firm. Estate plans can help you make sure that your assets go to your designated beneficiaries Estate planning is more than simply creating a will. It arranges your affairs and finances so things happen as you wish after you die – or even, in some cases, when you’re still alive.
An estate plan determines how an individual’s assets will be managed and distributed after passing. Ensuring the security of your loved one’s future financial situation can be impacted by your decisions made today.
Estate planning is the preparation of your asset base tasks to manage your assets in the event of incapacitation or death. Preparation tasks include creating a will (a legal document that provides clear instructions on how to handle the individual’s property and custody of minor children), establishing trusts, naming an executor and beneficiaries, and setting up funeral arrangements. One of the best things you can do for yourself and your loved ones is to create a will.
Wills and trusts are designed to safeguard your family’s future. Assets can include cars, houses, stocks, life insurance, pensions, and debt. Estate planning is also important if you are looking to fund your descendant’s education. To preserve family wealth and/or ensure the survival of your family, estate planning is essential.
• There’s more to estate planning than simply writing a will. Accounting for all of your assets and wishes will ensure your plan is executed smoothly after your death.
• Keeping written lists (and informing your estate administrator of the location of those lists) will make sure no assets or wishes get left out.
• By designating beneficiaries on retirement accounts and completing the transfer on death designations on other accounts, you can keep those assets from passing under the will.
Things To Do Before You Die
Estate planning goes beyond drafting a will. Thorough planning means accounting for all of your assets and ensuring they transfer as smoothly as possible to the people or entities you wish to receive them. Along with implementing your plan, you must make sure others know about it and understand your wishes.
Not sure how to get started? Follow this checklist, and you’ll have covered most, if not all, of your bases.
• Itemize Your Inventory: To start things out, go through the inside and outside of your home, and make a list of all valuable items. Examples include the home itself, television sets, jewelry, collectibles, vehicles, art and antiques, computers or laptops, lawn equipment, and power tools. The list will probably be a good deal longer than you may have expected. As you go, you may want to add notes if someone come to mind that you’d like to have the item after your death.
• Follow with Non-Physical Assets: Next, start adding your non-tangible assets to your list, such as things you own on paper or other entitlements that are predicated on your death. Items listed here would include brokerage accounts, 401(k) plans, IRAs, bank accounts, life insurance policies, and other policies such as long-term care, homeowners, auto, disability, and health insurance. Include all account numbers and list the location of any physical documents you have in your possession. You may also want to list contact information for the firms holding these non-physical possessions.
• Assemble a List of Debts: Then, make a separate list for open credit cards and other obligations you may have. This should include items such as auto loans, mortgages, home equity lines of credit, and any other debts you might owe. Again, add account numbers, the location of signed agreements, and the contact information of the companies holding the debt. Include all your credit cards, noting which ones you use regularly and which ones tend to sit in a drawer unused. It’s generally a good practice to run a free credit report at least once a year. This will also identify any credit cards you may have forgotten you have.
• Make a Memberships List: If you belong to any organizations such as the AARP, The American Legion, a veteran’s association, a professional accreditation association, or a college alumni group, make a list of them. In some cases, these organizations may have accidental life insurance benefits (at no cost) on their members, and your beneficiaries may be eligible to collect. Include any other charitable organizations that you support. It’s also a good idea to let your beneficiaries know which charitable organizations or causes are close to your heart and to which you might like donations to go in your memory.
• Make Copies of Your Lists: When your lists are completed, you should date and sign them and make at least three copies. The original should be given to your estate administrator (more on that person later). The second copy should be given to your spouse (if you’re married) and placed in a safe deposit box. Keep the last copy for yourself in a safe place.
• Review Your Retirement Accounts: Accounts and policies that have designated beneficiaries will pass directly to those people or entities upon your death. It does not matter how you direct that these accounts or policies be distributed in your will or trust. The beneficiary designations associated with the retirement account will take precedence. Contact your employer’s customer service team or plan administrator for a current listing of your beneficiary selection for each account. Review each of these accounts to make sure the beneficiaries are current and listed exactly as you like. This is especially important if you have divorced and remarried.
• Update Your Insurance: As with retirement accounts, life insurance and annuities will pass directly to beneficiaries. It is important to contact all life insurance companies where you maintain policies to ensure that your beneficiaries are up-to-date and listed correctly.
• Assign Transfer on Death Designations: Assets bequeathed in a will often go through probate, as do assets if someone dies intestate. This process, in which your assets are distributed per court instruction, can be costly and time-consuming. However, many accounts, such as bank savings, CD accounts, and individual brokerage accounts, are unnecessarily probated every day. If you hold these accounts, they can be set up or amended to have a transfer on death (TOD) designation, which lets beneficiaries receive assets without going through the probate process. Contact your custodian or bank to set this up on your accounts.
• Select a Responsible Estate Administrator: Your estate administrator or executor will be in charge of administering your will when you die. It is important that you select an individual who is responsible and in a good mental state to make decisions. Don’t immediately assume that your spouse is the best choice. Think about how emotions related to your death will affect this person’s decision-making ability. If you foresee an issue, consider other qualified individuals.
• Draft a Will: Everyone over age 18 should have a will. It is the rulebook for the distribution of your assets, and it could prevent havoc among your heirs. A will can also name a guardian for your minor children, and designate who should care for your pets. You can leave assets to charitable organizations through your will, too. Wills are fairly inexpensive estate-planning documents to compose; many attorneys can help you craft a will for less than $1,000, depending on the complexity of your assets and your geographic location. You can also write your own will with the assistance of online services or other software packages. Make sure that you sign and date your will, in front of two non-related witnesses who should also sign the document, and have it notarized. Finally, make sure other people know the location of the document so they may access it when needed.
• Regularly Review Your Documents: Review your will for updates at least once every two years and after any major life-changing events (marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, and so on). Life is constantly changing, and your assets and wishes are likely to change from year to year, too.
• Copy the Administrator: Once your will is finalized, signed, witnessed, and notarized, you will want to make sure that your estate administrator gets a copy. If the original is not being kept in your home (for example, it’s at your attorney’s office), you should also keep a copy in a safe place at home. Bear in mind that while you can make copies, only the original will—the “wet signature” document, in estate-planning lingo—can be filed for probate.
• Visit an Estate Attorney and/or a Financial Planner: While you may think that you’ve covered all your bases, it may be a good idea to consult with a professional on a full investment and insurance plan. And if it’s been a while, you may want to revisit your plan. As you get older, your needs may change, such as figuring out if you need long-term care insurance and protecting your estate from a large tax bill or lengthy court processes. Professionals will also be up on changes in legislation and income or estate tax laws, which could impact your bequests.
• Simplify Your Finances: If you’ve changed jobs over the years, it’s quite likely that you have several different 401(k) retirement plans still open with past employers or maybe even several different IRA accounts. You may want to consider consolidating these accounts into one individual IRA. Consolidating of accounts allows for better investment choices, lower costs, a larger selection of investments, less paperwork, and easier management.
• Complete Other Important Documents: At a minimum, you should create a will, power of attorney, healthcare proxy, and living will. Your will should also assign guardianship for your minor children as well as any pets. Consider setting up both financial and medical powers of attorney so that people you trust will be there handling your affairs should something happen to you. You can also write a letter of instruction to leave step-by-step instructions as well as spell out your personal wishes for things like your funeral or what to do with your digital assets like social media accounts. If you’re married, each spouse should create a separate will, with plans for the surviving spouse. Finally, make sure that all the concerned individuals have copies of these documents.
• Take Advantage of College Funding Accounts: You may want to set up 529 college savings plans for your grandchildren. In these plans, savings grow tax-free, and many states offer tax deductions for the person contributing the funds.
How to Avoid Estate Planning Mistakes In Sandy, Utah
Estate planning is important; without one, your loved ones may have to wade through tedious legal procedures after you die and your final wishes may not be recognized by state probate and intestate laws. In fact, the most common mistake people make when planning their estates is not actually taking the time to plan. To ensure that your last wishes are acknowledge, talk to an attorney and begin planning for the security of you loved ones today. It is important to name a legal guardian for your minor children in your estate plan. Until now, you may have assumed that estate planning only involved your personal belongings and financial assets. This is false. Without an assigned, legal guardian, the state will decide who raises your children if you die before they reach legal adulthood. You can only assigned guardianship in a will. Avoid this mistake by making sure that your children’s future is protected in your estate plan.
Joint ownership is another mistake that people make when planning your estate. It is not unusually for elderly people to add an adult child to the title of their belongings and assets to avoid complicated legal procedures after they pass away. This may be problematic for several reasons. First, joint ownership decreases the amount of control you have over you estate – you might even lose some of your assets to your joint owner’s creditors or ex-spouse. After you die, your assets will probably be distributed via the probate process. If you have a will, your loved ones cannot receive their inheritances until probate is complete. One common mistake made by individuals planning their estates is failing to avoid probate. Probate is tedious, but you may be able to avoid it by establishing co-ownership, beneficiary designations or a revocable living trust. Because co-ownership is not preferred, the best way to avoid probate is through a living trust.
Estate planning can take effect before you die. If you become seriously ill or incapacitated before you pass away, your estate may fall into the hands of your beneficiaries. For example, if you suffer a stroke and are unable to manage your assets, someone else will be appointed to take care of them. If you plan ahead for incapacity, you are able to control who will be in charge of you estate if you become seriously. Additionally, you may include instruction for your medical care in the event of serious incapacitation. Using a qualified attorney to help you plan your estate is imperative. Avoid using kits, online programs, or attempting to plan your estate by yourself. An experienced attorney can help you understand the estate planning process, help you avoid probate and give you peace of mind about the future of your family, belongings and financial assets.
Estate planning involves a variety of tedious laws, statutes and regulations. Protect your final wishes by having a knowledgeable lawyer on your side.
Estate planning isn’t a one-time event. As your wishes, financial circumstances and other variables change, you may wish to adjust something in your plan. For instance, if a specific charitable organization becomes significant to you, you may want to leave a gift for it when you die. Your personal wishes and circumstances are always changing; your plan should too. If you have questions about estate planning, writing a will or establishing a living trust, talk to an attorney today. Having a knowledgeable lawyer guiding you through the estate planning process can help you secure the future of your assets, family, and ensure that your final wishes are executed correctly.
Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506
Ascent Law St. George Utah Office
Ascent Law Ogden Utah Office
|• Mayor||Monica Zoltanski|
|• Total||24.16 sq mi (62.58 km2)|
|• Land||24.15 sq mi (62.55 km2)|
|• Water||0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)|
||4,450 ft (1,356 m)|
| • Estimate
|• Density||3,990.73/sq mi (1,540.84/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−7 (MST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−6 (MDT)|
|Area code(s)||385, 801|
Sandy is a city in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, located in Salt Lake County, Utah, United States. The population of Sandy was 87,461 at the 2010 census, making it the sixth-largest city in Utah. The population is currently estimated to be about 96,380 according to the July 1, 2019 United States Census estimates.
Sandy is home to the Shops at South Town shopping mall; the Jordan Commons entertainment, office and dining complex; and the Mountain America Exposition Center. It is also the location of the soccer-specific America First Field (formerly known as Rio Tinto Stadium), which hosts Real Salt Lake and Utah Royals FC home games, and opened on October 8, 2008.
The city is currently developing a walkable and transit-oriented city center called The Cairns. A formal master plan was adopted in January 2017 to accommodate regional growth and outlines developments and related guidelines through the next 25 years, while dividing the city center into distinct villages. The plan emphasizes sustainable living, walkability, human-scaled architecture, environmentally-friendly design, and nature-inspired design while managing population growth and its related challenges.