The One Thing That Means Everything

In estate planning, there is one thing that means everything. In elder law, there’s one thing that means everything. Estate planning is about knowing what will happen to your assets (your estate) when you pass away. The reality is that everyone, at one point, will die, and we will do so with assets. Furthermore, most people have wishes regarding what will happen to those assets after their deaths. If you have never considered estate planning, are new to it, or are trying to learn more about it, then start with that one fundamental concept that is easy to accept. When it comes to the answer to that question, it boils down to the title of assets.

Titling Assets

This is the one thing that means everything. We have been involved with estate planning for decades. It is common for people to contact us because a loved one has just passed away. Most of them follow that with this question: What do we do next? To bring this full circle, the answer to that question largely depends on how the deceased’s assets were titled.

Everyone has heard different versions of horror stories regarding estate planning. From our end, these stories can also universally be traced back to issues regarding titles. Titles determine everything. When something happens, the title declares where that asset goes. Unfortunately, this fact is hugely overlooked by people and attorneys alike. When people approach a lawyer and ask what will happen to their assets, the typical response they will receive is to get a will. A will is not the one thing that determines everything

Here’s a Scenario:

Imagine that you draft a will that states that you leave everything to your spouse when you pass away. When you both go, your daughter inherits everything. You pay the attorney’s fee and lock the will in a safety deposit box. You feel like you have completed your estate planning. After you pass away, it is discovered that everything was titled jointly, or your wife was listed as a beneficiary. 

You do not have a complete estate plan until you have dealt with the titling of assets. In the previous scenario, the person could have bypassed the will completely and tilted the assets according to their wishes—and it would have been more effective. If you take away one point from all of this, remember that you do not have a complete estate plan without titling your assets. 

Complete Your Estate Plan With J. Kevin Tharpe

After reading this, you may have discovered that you don’t have a complete estate plan. However, there is time to fix this oversight. Contact J. Kevin Tharpe, P.C., to schedule your consultation. We will sit down and learn about what you have done and what you want to do now. Let’s get started.

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Kevin Tharpe

With 25 years of experience, Kevin understands how estate planning, special needs planning, and government benefits programs work together. This is a crucial element of a thorough plan. He explains your eligibility for benefits programs and ensures that you do not make costly mistakes that may disqualify you or deplete your assets.

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