Avoiding LOSS OF ASSETS With a Complete Estate Plan

Another of the Four Horsemen of the Estate Planning Apocalypse is a threat to your estate’s assets after you die. How can you protect them?



Loss of Assets is Looming Large

I’ve talked before about the four biggest dangers that come with not having a complete estate plan, which I’ve deemed The Four Horsemen of the Estate Planning Apocalypse.

The first Horseman I want to discuss in detail is Loss of Assets. When people pass without an estate plan, their possessions and property are easy to lose track of or fall into unwanted hands.

If your plan is incomplete, your assets are not safe from creditors, the government, or even unwanted family members. Your family might not even know some of your assets exist, let alone where to find them!

Problem 1–We can’t find your assets

Now, one of the biggest problems in probate is finding assets. Think about it—if you passed right now, would your family know where to find your stuff? Here’s some things to ask yourself and get in order to prevent this from happening.

  • Do you have a list of your assets? It doesn’t have to list the exact, to-the-penny balances, but a rough list of where everything is located so people can actually find your stuff is a first step.
  • Do you have any digital assets (like photos, accounts, domains, NFTs, or cryptocurrency) that should be preserved? (We need to know where these things are to save them. Or maybe just need to know to delete your Ashley Madison account.)
  • Have you checked Unclaimed Property? (There’s a lot of unclaimed property out there, possibly yours. Go get your stuff.)
  • Does an advisor or family member have a list of all your financial accounts? (Financial Advisors don’t always have the full picture, and just focus on the accounts they manage. But we don’t want to lose those accounts.)
  • Are there any assets you haven’t identified, like points and miles? (Again, don’t leave anything out.)
    Do you have a safe deposit box? (There’s no automatic record of it, so we need to know about it before you can’t tell us)

Schedule a free consultation with Strohmeyer Law to protect your family with an estate plan.


Problem 2–Beneficiary Wastes

Sometimes the assets you worked hard to pass down don’t get used in a responsible way or in they way you intended by the beneficiaries themselves.

It’s possible that if you give your 18 year-old all of your money and assets, they’re going to be magically transformed in to bubblegum, cigarettes, Faberge Eggs, and Maseratis about 15 minutes after they get it. This isn’t what you were hoping for.

We can mitigate this in your estate plan with the use of trusts (usually revocable trusts), and by ensuring guardianship and other plans are explicitly spelled out in your estate plan.

Problem 3–Predators, Creditors, and Future Ex-Spouses

The last big category of problems deals with losing assets to the wrong people entirely. You don’t want the wrong family member or a nefarious outsider acting as the administrator or executor of the estate, and taking assets away from the intended recipients. You also need to plan for creditors to ensure they’re paid out in the correct order and with the correct funds – and to make sure there’s enough to pay them at all! Perhaps you’ve got concerns about a current spouse of your own or of one of your child’s spouses, and you don’t want them to have access to part or all of your estate.

We often call these Asset Protection issues, and they can all be managed and minimized with a proper estate plan, insurance, and a little work while you’re still on Earth.

In Summary

Ultimately, this Horsemen of the Estate Planning Apocalypse can be kept at bay with solid planning and some forethought from you and your attorney. Make sure you check out my other videos in this series and subscribe for regular estate planning updates!

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