Client Spotlight: Christine Chung, Esq.

What’s Your New Year’s Resolution for 2022? Consider estate planning to be one of them!

By Christine Chung, Esq.

As we enter a new year and a new season, even with the continuing pandemic, there is no better time to consider creating an estate plan or revisit your current estate plan to make sure all is aligned to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Many of us have goals of what we want to accomplish in life and I’m sure the most important ones are centered around our family and their future.

We can easily set aside the estate planning process because it’s a difficult topic to think about and plan for. But it can be one of the best things you can do to protect your loved ones, your health, and your assets.

To get estate planning off your to-do list, here are some things to get started with:

Consider your children – Estate planning helps you protect your children throughout their lifetime.

  • When they’re young, they will need a guardian should something happen to you.
  • When they’re older, you want to have the financial capacity to send them off to college.
  • When you have passed away, you want them to enjoy a legacy that includes passing on your values as well as your assets.

Consider your health

  • If you become incapacitated, who will talk to medical personnel and make the health care decisions for you?
  • Do you want your life to be prolonged by life support no matter what?
  • Whatever your wishes are, they may not be followed unless you have an Advance Health Care Directive that addresses these matters.

Review beneficiary designations

  • Life insurance policies, retirement accounts, investment accounts and other financial vehicles require a beneficiary form for you to designate who will receive the assets upon your death.
  • With no form, the State will have a plan for you and your assets may go to those you never intended to receive them.
  • Make sure to review them annually.

If you already have an estate plan in place already, GREAT! It’s the perfect time to review your wishes and see if you there are any life changes that may require a few modifications to your estate plan. Some things to consider:

  • Location of your documents – Are you able to easily locate your estate planning documents? And does your trustee, representative or agent know about them and where they are located?
  • Marital Status – Did you get married or divorce?
  • Birth – Did you have a child or a grandchild that needs to be mentioned in your plan?
  • Named guardians – Are there any significant changes in your children’s long-term or short-term guardian nominations? Has anything happened either in your children’s lives or your guardian’s lives that may make you rethink things?
  • Have you lost a family member or friend who was named as a trustee, personal representative or agent in your estate plan? Or has anything happened in the past year that would impact your decision to have them administer your plan?
  • Did you buy a house? One of the most common mistakes is failure to update a plan after a home has been purchased or sold. Forgetting to transfer the new house into the trust may force your estate into probate, which is why a trust is created to avoid the long and costly court process.
  • Did you sell your business, retire, have significant change in assets or win the lottery? Any significant assets that you acquire should be transferred into your trust to avoid probate.

Estate planning is a continuing life process because our life journey is full of constant changes.

While every change or milestone in your life doesn’t mean that you need to update your estate plan, it’s important to think through the past year’s events to make sure that your estate plan will still take care of your family and loved ones just as you planned. A well thought-out plan is an invaluable gift that keeps on giving to you and your family. Make it a priority in this New Year to accomplish your goals and have a plan in place or update your estate if needed!

If you would like to consult or make an appointment with Christine, her contact information is below.

Law Offices of Christine Chung
Estate Planning | Wills | Trusts | Probate
2522 Chambers Road, Suite 113
Tustin, CA 92780
T: (949) 529-1480

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