Friday, July 10, 2015

Estate Planning - Think Inside the (3) Boxes

A couple of weeks ago I had a conference with a middle-aged couple to review their old wills. They have children and grandchildren They came in with an estate distribution plan in mind which was straight-forward. We had an easy conversation about their children and grandchildren and about their assets. What I learned helped me to offer a few simple suggestions without complicating their plan. This helped them think of a few details for their wills that they had not considered. They liked the ideas and ask me to include those in the new wills they wanted me to prepare.

Then I raised a couple of the most important questions I ask all of my estate planning clients:

Do you have assets like life insurance, retirement plans or annuities that have beneficiary designations?

Do you own property jointly?

The answer to both of these questions is often "yes."

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at
That is the point in our conversation that I show my clients a very simple and effective estate planning tool which I created. It is a chart with 3 boxes on it. One box is for assets with beneficiary designations, one is for joint assets and one is for everything else. I explain that all of their assets can be put in one of those three boxes. Clients can now see how some assets are controlled by their wills and others are not.

This is often an "ah-ha" moment. Clients then understand the steps they need to take to connect all three boxes into a coherent plan. I can honestly say that every time I am finished explaining my "3-box" chart, folks tell me how helpful it was. I then give them the chart to take home with them along with specific ideas for them to finish the plan, like updating beneficiary designations on life insurance, retirement plans and annuities.

Estate planning can be simple. We just want to be sure it is complete.

If you want want to know more about R. Kurtz Holloway, check out:

#Bucks_County #lawyer #lawyers, #Montgomery_County #Souderton #Pottstown #Law_Firm #Wills #Power-of-Attorney #Living_Will #Healthcare 

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