On November 20, 2015

Major Assets to Include in an Estate Plan

Major Assets to Include in an Estate Plan

As you get started developing an estate plan, one of the first things that may need to be done is to take stock of your major assets. Understanding what these comprise can be important to appropriately preserving them for the future and your beneficiaries.

For most people, the major assets to include in estate plans are:

  1. Cash and bank accounts – While cash can be directly designated to a beneficiary or used to fund a trust, bank accounts (including personal checking and savings accounts) can be directly transferred to some beneficiary via “transfer-on-death” (TOD) or “payable-on-death” (POD) designations.
  2. Real estate and other personal property – The transfer of real estate can be complicated, particularly if the property is in another state or country. Working with an attorney to devise the right plan for the transfer of property can be essential to minimizing any liabilities or complications that could arise in the process. For personal property of significant value (such as jewelry, motor vehicles, art collections, etc.), the options for this property are varied and can include directly designating it to particular beneficiaries (in which case it would likely have to pass through probate) or using it to fund a trust (which could avoid probate).
  3. Investments – These include stocks, bonds and other investment accounts you may have. Using TOD designations is generally the preferable way to transfer investment assets, as it gives the beneficiary direct access to the asset because that asset will not have to pass through probate.
  4. Retirement accounts – Again, TOD designations are usually the preferred manner of transferring these assets upon death.
  5. Business interests – The nature of the business interests, as well as the wishes of the grantor, will dictate the best options for transferring these assets upon death. For instance, if the interests are in a family business that the grantor wants his or her family to take over in the future, business succession planning may be in order. Discussing the options with a lawyer can be the key to appropriately planning for business interests in an estate plan.
  6. Insurance policies – These can include temporary (term) life insurance and permanent (whole or universal) life insurance.

Contact a Denver Estate Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

When you are ready to develop, update or administer an estate plan, you can turn to the Denver estate attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC. We provide a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to our clients’ estate planning, elder law and other legal needs, and we take pride in helping each of our clients and their families find the best solutions for them.

Let’s discuss your estate planning options during an initial consultation. To schedule this meeting, call us at (303) 741-2400 or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Estate Planning