Thursday, August 17, 2006

what estate plans do you have in place? please share

I've recently read a number of posts questioning the idea of insuring oneself without dependents or of insurance one's parents and children.

Biting my tongue, I've decided to hold off with specific comments and prepare a more comprehensive discussion of the topic. However, before I do, I'd be grateful if you would share with me a brief outline of your estate plans (insurance, trusts, wills, guardianships, pour over wills, asset title, etc...) that you might have in place. It will help me write a more thorough and comprehensive posting on the topic.

Background:
Over the last four years I have spent a great amount of time and money researching the complex maze of estate planning, trusts and wills. Initially it was motivated by the imminent birth of our first child, however, it had been a long standing preparation that I had been itching to resolve. I know have a comprehensive plan in place and have already completed my first very thorough revision. I will share what we've done in our next posting on the topic after I've had the chance to review what you, the readers are doing and interested in.

So, please, share with me your questions (I may not have answers for everything - this is an arcane topic), goals, strategies, actions and rationale regarding estate planning.

I have a feeling this is certainly going to be a dead-on topic for the mid 30s - 40s crowd, as most of us are at a stage in life where the impending mortality of our parents highlights the need for our own preparations - especially those of us with dependents.

Have a wonderful day,
makingourway

4 comments:

mOOm said...

I have no arrangements apart from beneficiary on my US retirement accounts. I have sent a list of all accounts and details to my mother, brother, and girlfriend - not amounts just details of how to contact etc. Under New York law my estate would go to my closest relative which is my mother. At this stage that is OK with me. When/if I get married I will of course address this all properly. Actually am wondering more about pre-nuptial agreements :)

Kira said...

I don't have enough assets to worry about it, but as soon as I buy a house or car I will want to draw something up and update it frequently. My retirement accounts and life insurance have my parents as beneficiaries.

Arindam said...

We have a living trust that was prompted by the birth of our first child. It's essentially a defensive strategy against shielding the first 2 million of our assets against the death tax. I think this goes up to 3 million by 2010 if Congress does not repeal it. Seems like an easy enough thing to do for about $1300.

makingourway said...

arindam,

i agree with you whole heartedly regarding the living trusts. we've done the same.

moom, i understand you situation and mine was set up in the same way until the expected birth of our first child. I recommend putting a will in place for your other assets and possessions to spare your relatives time and expense in disposing your estate.

Kira, sounds like you're set. How much insurance have you funded? What was your reasoning / strategy?

moom, you might want to see how NY state law effects your assets after marriage. perhaps preexisting assets in retirement accounts may already be protected?

a friend of mine tried to avoid the whole issue of prenups by setting up a living trust which distributed his personal assets on death but kept them private before then (I guess - still spotty on the legal manuevering there).

obviously an attorney would be the best to consult on the pre-nup. we had decided against it, realizing that although i had more assets initially, my wife would catch up quickly.

regards,
makingourway