As you begin filing your annual taxes or as you are waiting on that refund check, use it as a reminder to also review your assets.
For many people, one of their main goals when they created their estate plan was to avoid probate. However, if a trust was part of your plan, did you know your trust only controls assets that are in the name of your trust? If you don’t have a trust, do all of your assets have the correct beneficiary or beneficiaries?
Usually if you have an estate plan you will also have a will that will tell the court what to do if an asset doesn’t have an owner or a beneficiary listed. However, in Missouri, wills have to go through the probate court and can be a long process.
To avoid using the will, and be sure that your assets avoid probate, it is important to make sure you fund your trust or place beneficiaries on all your assets. You may have done this right after you executed your documents. However, our assets change over time and it is important to frequently review your assets and make sure any new assets are titled properly.
- Have you recently purchased a new home?
- Did you purchase a new car this past year?
- Did you change jobs and get a new 401K?
- Did you take out life insurance since you last reviewed your estate plan?
- Did you open up a new savings account at the bank?
Every time you obtain a new asset you want to be sure the owner or beneficiaries of those new assets match your estate plan.