The foundation of any estate plan is a consultation with your attorney, not just any attorney, but one who focuses their practice in and around the area of estate planning. Each attorney within the Legacy Assurance Plan Network is carefully vetted for their knowledge in the area of estate planning as well as their overall legal background and experience.
This qualification process ensures that our Members are working with someone who has the specific knowledge and necessary level of experience to help them achieve their estate planning goals. From the initial consultation to the quality of your final estate plan, you will have the confidence of knowing your attorney is experienced in estate planning matters and specifically focuses their practice in this area of the law.
Through their estate planning attorney, Members of the Legacy Assurance Plan also receive access to a wide variety of estate planning documents. This includes wills, trusts, powers of attorney, both for health care and financial matters, along with advance directives, deeds and any other estate planning documents they and their attorney deem necessary to meet the Member's goals and objectives. The exact documents received by each Member is based on their consultation with their estate planning attorney and the attorney's subsequent recommendation.
To be effective, legal documents need to be properly signed. Once a Member's estate plan has been finalized, Legacy Assurance Plan will help to facilitate the delivery and execution of the various estate planning documents, often in the Member's home. This service includes coordinating with witnesses and providing notary services.
Based on the recommendation of your estate planning attorney, your estate plan may be centered around something called a living trust. If so, it's important to understand that a living trust requires "funding," a critical process involving the transfer of your assets from you individually to you as trustee of your living trust. This process is often partially or completely overlooked, causing the trust to fail in its functions to manage or distribute assets later.
Should your attorney include a living trust in your final estate plan, Legacy Assurance Plan will help to oversee the funding process by providing the necessary "how-to" information and guidance to ensure that your plan is properly funded and ultimately delivers the desired result.
BENEFICIARY REVIEW AND DESIGNATION ASSISTANCE
Beneficiary designations, such as those associated with life insurance, retirement accounts and other financial instruments, often play a significant role in the estate planning process. These types of accounts can represent a substantial portion of your legacy. Unless you have named your estate as beneficiary, the proceeds from these financial vehicles bypass your estate and go directly to the named beneficiary. For that reason, it's important to review each of these instruments individually (and periodically) to ensure that they are directed to intended and surviving beneficiaries. If applicable, you may also want to consider making your living trust the beneficiary of certain non-retirement assets. If the proper beneficiary is not designated, proceeds can be irreversibly misdirected, resulting in unintended consequences.
As part of the initial estate planning process, Legacy Assurance Plan will provide you with a qualified, licensed professional who will assist you in reviewing these designations to assure that they reflect your current intentions and that they are properly directed to the person(s) or entity that you intended.
While you might expect that's where our services end, it is actually where they begin. That's because, as a Member of Legacy Assurance Plan, both you and your survivors will go on to receive a lifetime of other benefits and services.
Our lives, and those around us, can change over long periods of time. Therefore, it's important that your estate plan is updated and adapts to those changes as necessary. A periodic review of your plan can ensure that it remains up-to-date as your life evolves. That's why every 12 to 24 months a representative of Legacy Assurance Plan will meet with you in the comfort of your home to review your plan. If necessary, they will also assist you by facilitating any changes that may be needed to update your plan. If no changes are necessary at that time, you will have the continued peace of mind that your plan remains current and will ultimately deliver the result you intended.
DEATH OF A SPOUSE
In addition to being emotionally difficult, the death of a spouse also creates a need to review and often revise your plan. In the event of a Member's passing, we will provide the surviving Member with access to critical information that may be necessary following the loss of a spouse or significant other. This includes, among other things, helping the surviving Member to obtain certain survivorship affidavits or other legal documents. It also includes providing guidance to the survivor regarding such things as claims filing or other financial related matters.
CONSULTATION WITH SUCCESSOR(S) AND BENEFICIARIES
Finally, upon the passing of the surviving Member, Legacy Assurance Plan will provide similar services to the Member's successors and beneficiaries. This includes facilitating certain legal documents such as survivorship affidavits or other related documents. It also includes a one-on-one consultation with your successor(s) to help them better understand the various steps involved with the estate settlement process, including providing them with a step-by-step estate settlement guide. Legacy Assurance Plan will also help to facilitate referrals to certain financial or tax professionals, if necessary.
OTHER INCLUDED SERVICES
While sound legal advice and having the proper documents in place certainly plays a significant role in the estate planning process, they alone cannot always protect you from unforeseen risks, such as the often catastrophic financial impact of an extended nursing home stay. For that reason, included with your Membership, is a no-cost consultation with a financial professional.
Of course, if Members already have an existing relationship with a trusted advisor or other fiduciary who they know and trust, they are welcome to continue on with that relationship. This service is merely part of the overall comprehensive services being offered to Members who may need this service or who are looking for a second opinion.