On August 13, 2016

How to build flexibility into an estate plan

How to build flexibility into an estate plan

Building flexibility into your estate plan is important to ensure that your wishes, family and legacy are protected as life circumstances change in the future. Although ‘flexibility’ can mean different things for different estate plans, in general, some of the things that can be done to make an estate plan more flexible include:

  • Naming ‘back-up’ executors, trustees, agents and/or personal representatives – The person or people who you choose to oversee the administration of your will, trusts and/or powers of attorney may not necessarily be available or willing to serve in this/these positions in the future. By naming a backup option for each of these fiduciary roles, you can be sure that someone whom you trust will be overseeing these affairs in the future (rather than a court-appointed stranger who doesn’t know you handling them).
  • Developing certain types of trusts – Depending on your assets, wishes and beneficiaries, you may want to set up one or more trusts to distribute your assets in the future. An option that provides you with ongoing flexibility in your lifetime will be the living or revocable trust, which empowers you (the trustmaker) to alter the assets or terms of the trust at any point in the future. This can be very important to ensuring that a trust evolves with your changing life circumstances.
  • Putting some plans in place to help your loved ones minimize their probate obligations in the future – Building in options that will help your loved ones avoid (or minimize) probate in the future is a way of providing flexibility after you pass away. That’s because, if the bulk (or all) of your estate doesn’t have to be probated, there will be more flexibility (for your loved ones) in terms of getting certain assets ASAP and using these assets as needed. That, in turn, can be crucial to helping families pick up the pieces after a death, as well as ensuring that they have the support they need in the future.

Flexibility Is Only One Piece of the Puzzle

While it’s certainly important to have a dynamic, flexible estate plan, it’s also crucial to understand that, from time to time, reviewing and updating your estate plan will be necessary. Generally, it’s advised that people review (and revise, as needed) their estate plan on at least an annual basis.

More specifically, some of the events that should also spur a review of your estate plan can include (and are not necessarily limited to):

  • The birth of a new child
  • A death in the family/the loss of a loved one named in your estate plan
  • Marriage or divorce
  • The acquisition (or loss) of a major asset, including starting (or selling) a business.

Contact a Denver Estate Planning Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

For experienced help devising, revising or administering an estate plan, you can turn to the estate planning attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC. We provide a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to our clients’ estate planning, elder law and other legal needs, and we take pride in helping each of our clients and their families find the best solutions for them.

Schedule an initial consultation with one of our lawyers today to discuss your estate planning options. To set up this meeting, call us at (303) 741-2400 or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Drafting Wills, Estate Planning, Medical Directives, Powers of Attorney, Trusts