Law Talk with the Flock

When Do You Need To Start Or Update Your Estate Plan?

February 12, 2020 Jeana Goosmann, Nick Montague Season 1 Episode 1
Law Talk with the Flock
When Do You Need To Start Or Update Your Estate Plan?
Show Notes Transcript

Goosmann Law Firm Omaha Estate Planning Attorney Nick Montague and Host Jeana Goosmann discuss when to start or update your estate plan. During this episode you will learn: 

  1. Why it's important to start an estate plan
  2. How often/when to update your plan 
  3. How to get started
  4. Options offered at Goosmann Law

Learn more about Goosmann’s estate planning practice HERE.

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Goosmann Law Firm:

Do complex legal issues hold you back? Let's get energized and bring clarity to your top legal questions. This is law talk with the flock by Goosmann law firm.

Jeana Goosmann:

hello, welcome to law talk with the flock. I'm your host, Jeana Goosmann , CEO and managing partner of the Goosmann law firm, author and business leader here to help walk you through your issues with the law business leadership and your business. Today with me I have attorney Nick Montague , an estate planning attorney at Goosmann law firm and Nick has been one of the best estate planning attorneys I have ever seen working with clients. I am just so impressed by him . I'm really excited today to talk with him about when do you need to start and when should you update your estate plan. Sound like something that we can cover today, Nick?

Nick Montague:

I think we can handle that today for sure.

Jeana Goosmann:

Nick and I are both Creighton law grads, aren't we? Go Bluejays . You got your blue tie on to represent. That's great. And you're also an avid Hunter, if I remember.

Nick Montague:

That's right. That's right. Not an average killer, but average Hunter. That's right. I'm out there all the time. Not always successfully, but I'm out there. I like to hang out in the trees in the Prairie.

Jeana Goosmann:

And so living here in Nebraska is a good spot for you .

Nick Montague:

It's a great spot. Absolutely great spot.

Jeana Goosmann:

And you also have a little one.

Nick Montague:

Yes, got two year old Mr. Colton. He runs our household. So yeah, he's a lot of fun, a lot of chasing him around, but that's a lot of fun.

Jeana Goosmann:

That's great. It's a good time when they're two and mine are now seven and eight and so it's every phase has got new challenges. Just when you figure him out, they change.

Nick Montague:

Well, we're just getting it figured out so hopefully we can figure it out for a while longer here.

Jeana Goosmann:

Good luck with that. Let me know if you get them all figured out. So Nick, when working with the family, what gets people started? Why start an estate plan?

Nick Montague:

Yeah , that's a great question. And really you start because everyone needs one. We all need planning at different stages of our life. We don't always need the same plan at the same time, but we always need something. You know, we've talked to so many people and folks think about estate planning. As, you know, I'm getting towards retirement or I'm , you know, I'm getting older now. It's time to think about where my stuff goes, but that's not the time to necessarily start. I mean, every stage of your life you need something. You know, when folks are young and they're just getting out of their house and they're going , maybe they're going to college now, or maybe they're getting out of school and working and all of a sudden it's not, where's my stuff go? It's who's going to make decisions for me if I can't write , if I'm in a car accident, if I'm incapacitated for something, something's going on. Who's going to step in there and talk to doctors for us? Right ? Who's going to make financial decisions? Is that the same person? Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. Is it parents? Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. Right? But at every point in life needs something. So we start so young, it's time to really get those things in line. And then as life changes, as you grow, right? Maybe now you have a career and maybe now you have little kids and name those guardians, right name, who you really want to take care of my son or whoever it happens to be. I mean we've got plenty for that specific reason. That's one of the reasons really prompted us was Hey, you know, we've got our son now, who do we really want to take care of him and instill those values and goals that we have in him.

Jeana Goosmann:

And if you don't make a plan, the state has one for you.

Nick Montague:

That's right. And it's not the one I want because I've looked into it. So I can tell you right now that you know, the wishes that you have ultimately are typically not going to mirror what the state has in mind. And not only that, but you don't want to put those decisions up to really whoever raises their hand. Right? If I don't have a plan with my wife and we both pass away. Well guess what? It's my family and her family standing in front of the judge saying, Hey, we both want him. Well that's not a good situation for anybody. So being able to have those proactive conversations and proactive plan really helped in that type of situation.

Jeana Goosmann:

And we work with a lot of business owners too, don't we ? And in that circumstance, what do you think about when they need a plan?

Nick Montague:

Yeah, so that's the harmony piece, right? It's the, we've built this business now how do we protect it moving forward? How do we pass it? How do we want to pass it? Is that the next generation? Is that the key employee is that we're selling to a third party? How do we want to have that done? Without planning it's not going to happen the way you want it. I mean, the same way you sat down and planned for that business as you grew it, the same thing you do with your transition planning where you want to go and how do we get that done? Because ultimately at the end of the day, if you do no planning, it's reactive planning and that's where we don't want to be. That's the worst possible way to plan is reactive because now you're not making your decisions anymore. Someone's making it for you . Maybe your wishes are taken care of, maybe they aren't. But ultimately , if you sit down and have the conversation beforehand, map out what you want done, that's really going to protect the business, protect your family, protect your legacy going forward.

Jeana Goosmann:

And what about when people don't know what they want? Should they still make an appointment and come in and work with us on how to do a plan?

Nick Montague:

Certainly, you know, starting a plan is about a conversation first. It's about sitting down and learning your goals, learning about you, learning about family , what's really important to you. At the end of the day, it's not about, you know, here's the document. Sign it. This is where stuff goes. That's not what it's about. Estate planning is about relationships. A business plan is about relationships. Let's really dig down deep and find out what's important to you. And then how do we want to accomplish those goals that are important to you? And let's talk through some of the pitfalls you may not have thought about, right? Let's kinda throw some of those red flags out there, things we've seen or run into in our experiences and, and what we may or may not, or what you may or may not face in the future. Let's project things out. Let's look 10 years down the road, where are you? Where's the business? What are the goals? Have they changed? Maybe they have, maybe they haven't. But it's important to sit down and have that conversation. So even if you don't know what you want done, let's sit and talk about it.

Jeana Goosmann:

And through that conversation, you can help guide and figure out what would a plan be and what would that look like?

Nick Montague:

Absolutely. It's really about that roadmap. Let's sit down and talk about it . It's learned about you. Let's learn about what you want, and then we'll help guide you here. You know, here are a couple options based on what you're telling me, what I'm hearing from you, what you want done. These are different ways we can plan and these are pros and cons to each. And let's sit down and talk those through.

Jeana Goosmann:

Something else I hear from people is , Oh, I don't have the time. What do you think about that Nick?

Nick Montague:

Well, you might not right at the end of the day you pass away, someone's going to have to make time for it. If you don't make time now it's going to take 10 or 20 times that much time at the backend. And again, that gets back to we want to be proactive planners. At the end of the day, you want to protect your legacy. You want to get stuff where you want it to go. You don't want the state step in and you don't want drawn long drawn out court processes and you know, I'm an attorney, but as much as you want to avoid that as you possibly can at the point in time someone goes, but um, you know, we don't have, we say we don't have time. We have time . At the end of the day, you have time.

Jeana Goosmann:

To really get a plan done and come and meet with you at the first meeting. How long would that take?

Nick Montague:

You know, typically we set up a site about two hours and again, that's the, we want to really have that deep dive with you really want to know what's going on. But you know here at Goosmann, keeping up with the speed of business is really one of our, our mantras and so we turn around estate plans pretty quick, about 30 to 45 days from the word go. When I've sat down with a family or an individual and said, you know, we've taken that dive and looked at things and they've made decisions. As soon as they engage me, we'll run it. I mean, we really are to get these things knocked out. We don't want to kick down the road six months. We've seen it happen, right? Just keep kicking the cane , kick the can kick can , you know, we don't do that. We're going to sit down, we're going to have a conversation. We're going to identify some things for you and we're going to get going on it.

Jeana Goosmann:

So how do people get started? If they're interested, they are like, okay, they hear this today and they want to get going. What do they do ? What's their first step?

Nick Montague:

It's a call in, right? So just give us a call. We set up a time, we put those two hours together and we have initial information packets that things we can send the clients to fill out to start to have these, these thoughts and start to have these conversations with whoever it is they're planning with, whether it's a spouse or whoever that may be. So we prompt them on some things. We say, here's a little homework. Bring in names and addresses of folks that are important to you or folks that you want to be powers of attorney for those sort of things. Bring in the financials, right? Part of this is looking through all the financials and really the reason behind that is an estate plan is not about the document so much as it is about ownership. And beneficiary designations. Okay. You have all that . You've done a great job on the 401k, you've got the life insurance place, you have all these things. But if we don't mirror what those those plans say and our estate plan, we'd have problems, right? I could have a will that says it goes to my son, but my life insurance says it goes to my brother. Well guess what? Brother's probably gonna win that one. Right? So we really want to make sure we , we we dig down and look at all those different things.

Jeana Goosmann:

So it all starts with the phone call and then that first meeting. Then after that first meeting you might give them a little bit of homework.

Nick Montague:

Yeah. So at that point in time, there will be homework based on the planning. Right. So , um, and again, we can plan for, for folks all across the board, we plan for people just fresh out, right? Just getting to school or just starting a career. Just, you know, looking at, we'll , we'll call it a central planning, right? Get powers of attorney in place, get our living will in place, get the will itself in place , and update beneficiaries and make sure they mirror what we want. But then we start to get as you grow in your estate and as your family grows and as your goals grow, we start to look into trust planning for multitude of reasons. And maybe it's asset protection that's important to you. Maybe it's getting away from court that's important to you. Maybe there are other things that are maybe being, maybe you're charitably inclined, right? Maybe there's some philanthropic goals you have in there. Well , let's talk about those. And , based on the road we walked down with planning, that's ultimately going to be how much I'm working at , right? So it depends on how in depth they get everything at the end of the day and what your homework looks like.

Jeana Goosmann:

What are some of the different reasons people might want to update their plan? I can think of one off the top of my head. Like if somebody gets divorced.

Nick Montague:

Yeah. Yeah. So really it's , it's the D's of estate planning, right? Divorce being a big one. Not only among family members, but what if the guardians I listed get a divorce. Okay, now I pass away and wife passes away. Well, where's my son go? Right? Well, if they've been divorced, I want to come back and update my plan. You know, descendant. Okay , and now I've got another son. Well, let's look at this again. Let's update our plan. Let's make those adjustments. A decade. That's too long to , that's a D, right? But that's too long to look at your plan. You should typically look at your plan about every three to five years in general . I recommend it because life changes, powers of attorney go out a date, all those sort of things. And death, right? Again, not only in the family, but maybe it's death of someone that was going to be a poverty. Maybe they might be a mom and dad or my power of attorney if not for my wife, but now they've passed away. Well, guess what? We need to come back and update those things. Or, you know, maybe one of the beneficiaries we had listed pass away or whatever those things happen or come back, adjust your plan, take a look at it. So really it's those D's of estate planning is why it's important to update your plan.

Jeana Goosmann:

And share with everybody to at Goosmann law firm or trust law counsel group inside of Goosmann that does this sort of planning - How do we work with clients and how do we get paid?

Nick Montague:

Those are good questions too. So we do everything Flat fee in trust law counsel . So that means we're going to sit down and look at your situation, recommend planning based on what's going on. You're going to come back and say, Nick, I like plan a and this is why. And I said, okay, we're going to go plan A and this is the fee. This is the cost for plan A. This is the investment to get plan A set up. So , we're going to look through the planning, we're going to show you opportunities out there for you . We're going to give you a fee based on what we're doing, how in depth it's getting. At the end of the day, at the end of the first meeting, they'll generally know what it would cost depending on how they decide to plan.

Jeana Goosmann:

People like that don't they? To know what it's going to cost.

Nick Montague:

Yeah. It's nice to know exactly what's up front versus, you know, you'll find out when the bill comes. Right. So we'd like to be very transparent with that and I think folks appreciate that at the end of the day. So then we collect half that up front when they engaged and half of it and we're all done with the planning and you know , we go from there and that's kind of how the fees work.

Jeana Goosmann:

And do you also help them , and I know you do, but do you help them get their assets retitled if they need to? If they form a trust?

Nick Montague:

Yes. That's a big part of our folks that trust law council's not only setting up documents but getting things where they need to go. Right. So that's that deep dive. That's, you know, now we need to get the property in the trust. Now we need to change life insurance or whatever, whatever the asset is to make sure things are are , are funneling into our plan or make sure things are working in conjunction with our plan, not against our plan. And so that's part of it. Part of our fee incorporates that updating beneficiaries or really guiding clients in the updating. Sometimes we actually have specific forms from companies to help folks update things. Sometimes we'll send letters out to different companies saying, Hey, this is the change that's made. This is what we need done. A lot of times it's retitling property based on the planning to where we'll actually draft the new deed and just have the client sign it and file it for them . So , funding is certainly a big aspect of what we do at t rust l aw counsel.

Jeana Goosmann:

And how about being collaborative with our other advisors? If they have an important insurance partner or banker or a CPA in their life and they really want them to be part of this process, what are your thoughts on that?

Nick Montague:

Bring them 100% of the time. I mean I would tell you 95% of the meetings I do have another professional in the meeting. You know, we're taking care of the legal side of things, right? We're getting the technical work out of the way, but I'm not guiding on financial decisions. Right? I'm not telling you what to invest in or what life insurance is or is inappropriate where you are, right? That's your other professional jobs. My job is to help make sure your plan is going to execute the way you want it to. So we love the collaboration part and I think clients appreciate that as well. I think clients really like to wrap that team around them and so we just like to be a part of that team.

Jeana Goosmann:

And when they're all done, what do they walk away with at the end of the day?

Nick Montague:

Peace of mind hopefully, but physically, you know, trust law counsel , we've got specific documents and binders that lay everything out for you. Or we've got table of contents in there , we've got tabs. You can find these documents are so user-friendly that you know what you're looking for when you open the thing up. And not only that, but we spend time in the signing meeting, an hour to an hour and a half of going through the document review and the document. Make sure things are the way you want them , make sure you know how to get to what you know, what you're looking for here. And if you don't, we always have our information right there in that front page. If you need something, give us a call so we can, you can find it. But we , we really pride ourselves in having user friendly documents that people can really understand at the end of the day.

Jeana Goosmann:

Well thank you so much Nick. I think that providing that peace of mind is so key and I really appreciate you coming on the podcast today. And helping our listeners understand what estate planning means and when they should get involved with it. So thank you for being part of it.

Nick Montague:

Absolutely. Thanks, Jeana.

Jeana Goosmann:

Well, everyone, thank you for listening and go make it worth it.

Goosmann Law Firm:

Thanks for joining us for law talk with the flock by Goosmann law firm. We hope you feel energized and ready to soar past your goals. Become a flock fan and subscribe to our podcast for weekly episodes. Learn more at www.goosmannlaw . com.