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If You Have Loved Ones In Your Life, You Should Also Have An Estate Plan

A common misconception about estate planning is that it is only for the elderly or for extremely wealthy individuals. The truth is if you have people in your life who you love, then you need an estate plan.

At Janssen Law, PLC, in Des Moines, lawyer Dallas J. Janssen helps people from all walks of life develop a comprehensive estate plan that allows them to protect their assets and pass them on to loved ones in the manner they desire. Dallas has more than three decades of experience assisting clients throughout Iowa with their estate planning needs. He works with high-asset families who require complex strategies, as well as those with more modest assets who merely want the peace of mind that comes with a comprehensive estate plan in place.

What Is An Estate Plan?

An estate plan is comprised of multiple documents that set out your wishes regarding your assets, medical care, end-of-life decisions and other aspects of planning for the future. Every estate plan should be tailored to fit the unique situation. At the very least, you should have a will that provides instructions on how your personal assets should be distributed upon your death, as well as the power of attorney designees for financial matters and health care in case you become incapacitated and cannot make these decisions yourself.

Dallas can help you put an estate plan into place that is carefully thought-out and well-crafted to address your wishes and goals. He helps clients understand their options by first painting a clear picture of their situation, from determining what assets they own to financial planning for the long-term. He drafts all kinds of estate planning documents, including the following:

  • Wills
  • Guardianship designations for minor children
  • Financial powers of attorney
  • Irrevocable trusts
  • Revocable trusts
  • Income assignment trusts (Miller Trusts)
  • Health care powers of attorney
  • Living wills

When you work with Dallas, you can expect clear guidance on which tools are appropriate for your situation and what they accomplish.

Why You Need To Regularly Review Your Estate Plan

An estate plan allows you to control what happens to your property if you die or become incapacitated. Periodically reviewing your estate plan will alert you to any changes that need to be addressed.

When should you review your estate plan?

  • Immediately after a major life event
  • Annually
  • Thorough review every five years

There will be times when you’ll need to make changes to your plan to ensure it still meets all of your goals. For example, an executor, a trustee or a guardian may have died or changed his or her mind about serving in that capacity, requiring you to name someone else.

Examples of events that should trigger a periodic review are:

  • Change in marital status
  • Addition to your family through birth, adoption or marriage (stepchildren)
  • Death or incapacitation of a spouse or family member
  • Spouse, parents or another family member has become dependent on you
  • Substantial change in the value of your assets or your plans for their use
  • Receipt of a sizable inheritance or gift
  • Change in income level or income requirement
  • Retirement
  • You have plans to change any part of your will or estate plan

Dallas can help you update an existing estate plan to reflect your current situation and goals, no matter where that estate plan was originally drafted.

What To Update In Your Estate Plan

Here are some examples of things to review in your estate plan:

  • Who are your family members and friends? How do you feel about them?
  • Does your will reflect your current goals and wishes? Does your choice of an executor or a guardian for your minor children remain appropriate?
  • In the event that you become incapacitated, do you have a living will, durable power of attorney for health care or “do not resuscitate” order to manage medical decisions?
  • What property do you own and how is it titled?
  • Have you reviewed your beneficiary designations for your retirement plans and life insurance policies?
  • Do you have or need a trust, living will or testamentary?
  • Do you plan to make any lifetime gifts to family members or friends?
  • Do you have plans for charitable gifts or bequests?
  • If you own or co-own a business, have provisions been made to transfer your business interest? Is there a buy-sell agreement with adequate funding?
  • Would lifetime gifts be appropriate?
  • Do you own sufficient life insurance to meet your needs at death?

Dallas can walk you through these considerations and inform you on how they will shape your updated estate plan.

Learn More About Estate Planning During A Free Consultation

Dallas welcomes the opportunity to answer your questions about asset protection and explain what you can achieve with the proper estate plan in place. Call 844-879-2839 or use the quick online contact/contact/ form to schedule a consultation.