Reason #3 to Review your Estate Plan in 2017: Changes in Beneficiaries

One of the most crucial reasons to update your estate plan has to do with changes to your beneficiaries. An out of date trust that provides for the wrong beneficiaries (or the right beneficiaries in the wrong way) can spell disaster for a family.  We want the trust to provide for your beneficiaries in a responsible way.

Reason #8 to Update Your Trust: Your Beneficiaries Have Changed or Their Lives Have Changed

Imagine for a moment that your adult child comes to you asking for money. Do you get out your checkbook without giving it a second thought? Chances are, you ask a few questions first. What is the money for? What is this child’s history when it comes to handling money? Is there any chance that an irresponsible spouse would have access to this money? These are some of the same questions we think you should be asking yourself when forming or updating your estate plan because giving money to your kids, whether you’re alive or not, can cause complications if care and caution are not used.

As big fans of Dave Ramsey, we like to share the way he compares money to a brick: “In the hands of the right person, a brick can be used to skillfully build a home for a family. But in the wrong hands, a brick can be used to break your car window and steal your wallet. It’s all about whose hands it’s in.” (“What’s the Goal of Financial Peace?”)

So just imagine how catastrophic things could be if, upon your death, all of your assets were handed over to a beneficiary who could do some real damage, such as an estranged spouse of one of your children. Hopefully this is not your situation, but sadly, we visit with people all the time who need to amend their trusts for reasons like this. We will discuss a terrific tool you can use to prevent this from happening in a later post in this series, so stay tuned. For now, here’s a list of other more common reasons your old estate plan may need an update:

  • Your children are grown up now, so maybe we can lift restrictions placed in the trust as to when and how much money they get.
  • There are grandchildren in the picture now and you want to provide for their education or futures.
  • You disinherited a child who is now back in your good graces (or vice versa).
  • Your adult children still act like kids when it comes to money management, so we need to  structure the trust to protect them from irresponsible habits and help them have a retirement someday.
  • You have a child who is or could be on disability someday so we need to consider a special needs trust to protect their benefits.
  • You provided for parents or elderly beneficiaries who are now deceased.
  • You named charitable beneficiaries and want to change up who you’ve named.

If any of these situations apply to you, please don’t wait! Make an appointment now to visit with us and find out how to ensure that your estate will be a blessing to your beneficiaries for years to come.



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