Posts Tagged ‘annual review’

Another New Year! Time to review your estate plan!

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Happy New Year!  I hope that everyone has a great and wonderful 2013.

And, to get things off to a good start, I’d like to suggest that you review your estate plan to make sure it is up to date and has taken into account all of life’s changes since you created the previous version.

New members to the family?  Some members no longer with us?  Perhaps a new pet that you want to make sure is taken care of if you are not able to care for him or her yourself?  Have you become involved in a new charitable organization that you think deserves a gift?  Perhaps the person you have named as the agent under your Power of Attorney is no longer capable or willing to do the job?  Perhaps someone in your family has received a college degree that would make them a better fit for the job of executor or agent?  Perhaps you have new acquisitions that need to be re-titled in the name of your trust?  Planning a job change this year?  Perhaps retirement?  Is your health status changing?

This is a good time to take a few minutes to just think about these ideas.  And if you think your estate plans needs to be updated, please give us a call.  We’d be glad to help!

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at

Have You Checked Your Beneficiary Designation Lately?

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

I encourage my clients to review their estate planning documents on a regular basis, and an annual checkup seems like something that can be scheduled and easy to remember.

But what about things that aren’t part of the documents that I help to create?  What about your individual IRA?  or your life insurance policy?  or your company retirement plan? or your investment portfolio?

These types of plans are contractual in nature and the contract is between you and the insurance carrier or the plan administrator, or….whomever.

It is also important to make sure that these beneficiaries are up to date.  If the beneficiary is a minor child, do you have the person you want today as the trustee of these funds?  Have the children now become adults and you want them to have access to the funds immediately?  Have you created a trust and just never got around to changing the beneficiary of your insurance so that the funds will go into the trust to be distributed the way you wanted?

One of the biggest problems is selecting a beneficiary and just forgetting about it.  What happens if that person has died before you?  What happens if that person is no longer the one that you want to have access to the funds?  Maybe they got married to someone you hate.  Maybe they ran off to join a commune.  Maybe receiving the funds will make them ineligible (for just a little while) for medicaid benefits they are receiving now?  Maybe…. (fill in the blank).

I had a very personal example of this.  My mother had a life insurance policy that she got when she was working.  Her plan was that we could use her life insurance proceeds to pay for the funeral and then there would be a little left over for each of us (I’m the oldest of 7 children).  We all knew she had the life insurance and we all knew what she wanted us to do with the proceeds, but what we didn’t know was that she hadn’t really named a beneficiary at all.  I know she meant to have the beneficiary set to ‘all of my children equally’, but it never got recorded at the life insurance company.  The funeral home would have taken an assignment of the insurance proceeds, but that assignment had to be signed by all of the named beneficiaries and there were no named beneficiaries!

That meant that we needed to get a certified copy of her divorce papers, and all 7 of us had to sign affidavits that we were indeed her children before we could get access to the funds.  Of course we needed to have this done on the forms provided by the insurance company, which took time.  And somebody had to pay the funeral home right away.  So mom’s plan to use the insurance proceeds to pay for the funeral only ‘kinda’ worked.  One of us had to pay the funeral home and then each of the other 6 had to reimburse the one that paid when they got their one-seventh of the proceeds.

I have a great family and it worked out fine, but I’ve heard lots of examples of where one child has been ‘stuck’ with the entire funeral bill and the others refused to reimburse the sibling that paid the funeral home itself.

Please, take a few minutes and double check your beneficiary designations on all of those ‘contractual’ assets.

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at

Special Day To-Do List

Monday, July 19th, 2010

My birthday is this month and I’ve always thought that birthdays should be special.

Since I like to-do lists, I also make a special to-do list for things I try to do on my birthday.

I try to take the day off from work.  I try to have a special dinner.  I try to spend the day with my favorite people.

and…I try to think of what might happen in the next year so I can plan for those things.

yes, this also includes things that I may not really want to have happen, like an accident or illness.

that’s why I also have reviewing my estate plan, and especially my Power of Attorney documents as part of my birthday to-do list.

A new year!

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Welcome to 2010!

I love the start of a New Year!  It’s a time to reflect on the events of the past year and to make plans for what is coming up in the new year.  It is also a time to make our resolutions.

One of my resolutions is to review my own estate plan to make sure that it still fits my needs.

There have been some changes to the makeup of our family during the past year, and the addition of another pet.   I want to make sure that these changes will be handled correctly in my estate plan.  And I want to revisit my General Durable Power of Attorney and Advance Medical Directive to see if they need to be changed.

An estate plan is not a ‘do it once and put it away’ type of thing.  It should be reviewed regularly.  Think of it as an annual checkup – only for you estate plan and not your health.

That’s why our January Special is a complete review of your current estate plan for only $100!

Call the office today to schedule your estate plan checkup!  We can be reached at 757-234-4650.

I hope you all have a Wonderful New Year!

Things are changing.

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

I love the start of a new school year!

When I was growing up, the start of a new school year was when things changed. I got a new teacher, got new clothes, got new school supplies, moved into a new grade and often found new friends.

That’s why I suggest this time of year to review your estate planning needs.

If you already have an estate plan (with the appropriate medical directives, powers of attorney, will and perhaps a trust), this is the time when you should take a few minutes and think about what changes have occurred since you last considered the plan.

Do you have a new spouse? (or are you now unmarried?) Do you have new children/grandchildren? Have your children left the home for lives of their own? Have you purchased a new home? Have you moved to another locality? Have you purchased or sold any items that should be considered in your gifting scheme? Have you changed jobs?

If any of these have occurred, you should consider a review of your estate plan.

Also, even if none of these changes have occurred, you should consider a review of your plan if it has been at least 3 years since your plan was established. Why? Because laws change and you want to make sure that your plan is taking advantage of the newest legal rules.

At Kristina Beavers, Attorney at Law, we will be happy to review your existing estate plan to make sure it fits your needs today. Call us today at 757-234-4650 to schedule this review!