A Christian estate plan is one you develop by determining how God wants you to: (1) provide for your family and other “dependents” at your death and (2) have your finances managed and decisions made for you if you became incapacitated and no longer able to do those things for yourself.
Step #3 Coordinate Your Plan. Efficiently and effectively accomplishing God’s plans for how your assets are to pass at your death requires you put together a “coordinated” plan for how they will pass.
Assets that are beneficiary-designated such as life insurance and retirement accounts will pass per the terms of the beneficiary designation document, not per the terms of your Will. Likewise, jointly-owned assets will pass to the surviving joint owner at your death, no matter what your Will says.
Only assets in your name alone or designated to be paid to your estate pass as your Will directs.
Failure to coordinate how assets will pass may result in a beneficiary receiving assets in a way you did not intend. Example: it is your intention anything passing to your son at your death is to be held in trust for him until he is 25. Your plan includes both a bequest to the trust in your Will and a life insurance beneficiary designation naming your son as beneficiary. The bequest will be placed in trust, but the life insurance will be paid directly to your son, whether he has reached age 25 at the time of your death or not.
Next Month-Step #4 Plan Your Use of Joint Ownership.
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The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.