Estate Planning, Probate, Business Law, Oil & Gas
See my Estate Planning and Probate Law site at www.borgerlaw.com
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Reviewing and Revising Your Estate Plan
Unfortunately, most people might never muster the courage to draft an estate plan. For those who do, the immediate sense of relief obtained is followed shortly thereafter by an unceremonious stashing of those legal documents into a desk drawer, usually underneath that pile of cancelled checks, old tax returns and old family photos that they’ve been meaning to organize one day. In other words, the plan is ignored until something bad happens.
I understand. Most people would rather spend valuable time with friends and family - planning vacations, building wealth, simply enjoying life. Asking people to re-visit the task of estate planning, after they have done it once, isn’t something I undertake lightly. Consider this, though: if you don’t review your plan on a regular basis, at least yearly, and, particularly after a major life-event, your negligence might threaten the best parts of your plan - asset protection and distribution, probate avoidance, even disability planning. An estate plan should change with you, with every major life event, so that it remains a plan capable of implementing your wishes and desires for yourself and your loved ones.
Some major life events that would warrant an estate plan review include:
• Changes to your Business Succession Plan (and if you don’t have one…call me!)
• The birth or adoption of a new child or grandchild
• The death or disability of a family member
• Educational funding needs for children or grandchildren
• A change in circumstances regarding the pre-selected guardians, trustees or executors
• Marriage or divorce, yours or your heirs
• Illness or disability of you or your spouse
• Changes in your life- or long-term care insurance coverage
• Purchase of a home or property
• Borrowing a large amount of money
• Large swings in the value of your investments
• Receipt of a large inheritance or gift
• Changes in federal or state tax law
Any of these events might have the effect of unraveling your plan and thwarting your best intentions. For example, assets acquired subsequent to the effective date of, and not included in, your living trust might necessitate a costly probate procedure before title is transferred. On more than one occasion I have seen the surviving family members of a very successful businessperson desperately trying to value and divide up a family business. Other sources of funding in the decedent’s estate plan were insufficient to fund both bequests and a surviving spouse’s (unanticipated) need for long-term care. There are many reasons to review and update your current estate plan.
If you have an estate plan and you’re concerned it might need to be reviewed and updated, call me today.
Business Succession Planning and Buy-Sell Agreements
A Buy-Sell agreement is a contractual document in which the owner (s) of a business set out the terms and conditions of the transfer of a departing owner's share of the business. A buy-sell agreement specifies when owners can sell their share of the business, to whom they can sell, and at what price. Buy-Sell agreements are an important Estate Planning component for small business owners. A properly crafted agreement will provide for an orderly succession of a family business after a major life event, such as the owner's retirement, incapacity or death.
I’ve been named as an Executor of a Will. What happens now?
You’ve recently lost a loved-one and you’ve been named as the Executor in the Last Will and Testament. What happens next? Acting as an Executor carries with it some very important responsibilities. Your duties may include funeral arrangements, collection and safe-guarding of assets, filing of a final tax return, and paying debts. Or, it may be the case that you don’t need to probate the Will at all. Call the Borger Law Firm to discuss your options and responsibilities.
Why Everyone Needs an Estate Plan
Everyone needs an Estate Plan regardless of wealth. A properly crafted Estate Plan can provide for you and your loved ones in the event of your death or incapacity. Small business owners often have the greatest need, but are often the last to address this very important issue. Estate Planning can ensure the smooth operation and transition of business in the event of your incapacity. A plan will provide for your family, minimize expenses, and ease the strain on your family and employees, and possibly even save taxes. If you want to know more, call the Borger Law firm today.
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