FAQ: What Is Asset Alignment?

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what is asset alignment | estate and probate legal group

It’s a common mistake. People often think that once they have written their will or trust, established a Power of Attorney and decided on a health care directive; their estate plan is done. They assume they can do this planning one time and never worry about it again. There are several reasons why this is wrong. For one, your estate plan needs periodic updating. Another reason the belief is false is that they may not have checked to ensure all assets are aligned. Many people may not know about asset alignment.

What Is Asset Alignment?

Asset alignment ensures that all your assets and named beneficiaries align across all areas of your estate plan. One such example is that if you co-own your car with a sibling, you can not leave it to your friend in your will. Since your sibling co-owns the vehicle, ownership of the car would automatically go to them.

That may be an easy example (but definitely one that you need to think about.) Some other, more in-depth examples of ensuring asset alignment are:

  • Revocable Living Trust
    Your assets must be titled to your trust and not in your name. If you have a significant savings account, it cannot simply be in your name; it needs to read “Jane Doe, trustee for the Jane Doe trust, dated January 1st, 2022”.
  • Divorced
    If your Dissolution of Marriage reads that you will bequeath the family home to your ex-spouse when you die, then that is what you must do. You cannot leave it to someone else in your will.
  • Business Interests
    If you have closely held business interest assets (such as a family-owned business), you must ensure this asset aligns with your will or trust. There may be written restrictions on how your company share is distributed after you are gone.

Your estate may be held up in probate court if there is a conflict regarding the distribution of your assets. This will cost your loved ones time and money while the courts rule on your estate. If your retirement lists your nephew as a beneficiary, it doesn’t matter what the will says; your funds will go to your nephew.

Working With An Attorney

As you can see, establishing an estate plan is not a simple task. Many legal documents must work together to provide a robust solution. You need an experienced estate planning attorney who can understand your unique situation and help you establish a plan that will encompass all your needs and allow all your documents to work together.

Ensuring asset alignment is one of the most important things you can do for your estate plan. Another critical step is to update your plan periodically. Your assets and situations change over time. It’s wise to review and update your estate plan every 3-5 years. It’s good to know that you are never done with an estate plan; it is something you can always change and improve.

Oak Brook Estate Planning Attorneys

Call the Estate and Probate Legal Group to discuss the best strategies for your situation. You do not need to set up your entire estate plan all at one time. Our lawyers at Estate and Probate Legal Group will patiently work with you until your plan is complete. Contact Us today at 630-864-5835.

AREAS WE SERVE: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties.