Anchor: And our financial expert Kurt Pearson is here this morning. It sounds like this battle centers around nuances in the estate planning documents. What can families do to avoid a situation like this?
Kurt: Well sometimes it’s very difficult, but I think one of the key things of course is to have a good attorney on the front end. Make sure those legal documents are up to date and are very clear and specific. But even then there could be challenges after the death occurs. I think a patriarch and matriarch have an incredible responsibility in a family to communicate ahead of time their exact wishes verbally and then of course in the legal documents through a good attorney. So I think that could really help because then it give the heirs and beneficiaries a chance to vent some of those feelings that unfortunately only come up sometimes after the fact.
Anchor: It’s one thing to have the plan and it’s another thing to have the right documents in place. So what documents do you need?
Kurt: Well again consult with a good attorney but some of the basic ones I’ve seen them recommend are of course a last will and testament which we’re all pretty familiar with. Sometimes a trust is appropriate and again consult with a good attorney. But a living will, a durable power of attorney. I mean there are several these days that are very important and again very important to keep them current. Every two to three years is our recommendation to go back to your attorney and make sure you have things pretty well cinched up. And I always encourage folks to steer away from the basic internet documents and trying to do this on your own. This is just too important to try to go it on your own.
Anchor: And in addition to the documents, anything else that should be in a good estate plan?
Kurt: Well, yes, there are several types of assets where you need to make sure your beneficiary designations are updated. Life insurance obviously, IRA accounts, Roth IRA accounts. And then there are TOD provisions even on non-qualified types of accounts these days. So it’s very important that if you’ve set those beneficiary designations at one point that you pull those out and you review them every couple of years as well to make sure they’re current with your wishes and your desires.
Anchor: Well good advice as always Kurt. Thanks so much for your time. If you have questions for Kurt you can contact him at Compass Financial in West Des Moines. 327-1020 is the number there.