Review and Update Your Estate Plan Regularly

Imagine this scenario: Wendy spent her life creating a nice asset portfolio.  The assets are at a bank (let’s call it “Sun-bust”.)  She named her husband as her initial beneficiary and her children as the alternate or contingent beneficiaries.

Now imagine that Sun-bust is sold to another bank (let’s call it “Tru-not”.) Tru-not has taken over all of Sun-bust’s client accounts. Somehow during the transfer, the beneficiary designations were lost and Tru-not had no record of them.  Then Wendy dies.  When her family finds out the beneficiary designations weren’t transferred over, what should they do?  

Our friend John has a job at Publix. He has a good job, a comfortable salary, and a nice home. However, John has never thought about what would happen if he lost his job or became ill or injured.

One day, John is involved in a car accident and is unable to work for several months. During this time, his expenses continue to mount.  He still has a mortgage, car payments, and other bills to pay. However, John has no savings and no disability insurance, so he quickly finds himself struggling to make ends meet.

“Continuity planning” refers to organizing one’s personal finances and lifestyle in the event of job loss, disability, or other unexpected events. 

The goal is risk management.  To protect your loved ones you must reduce any long-term risk for businesses and family investments.  Many of my clients have never heard of an umbrella policy, let alone a business succession or continuity plan.  

If this sounds like you or your family, keep reading.

When the pandemic hit, many businesses and families were unprepared for an economic downturn or loss of resources.

Here are some ways to reduce your risk of loss and plan for the future:

Obtain an “umbrella policy.”  Many car insurers do not offer enough coverage to protect you against liability claims.  Unfortunately, a bad accident with multiple injuries can wipe out your savings.  An umbrella policy provides extra coverage.  Check with your car insurer to see if they offer one to bundle with your auto plan.  Also, consider purchasing disability insurance or life insurance to provide financial support in the event of the unexpected.

Figure out your family’s needs and dynamics to plan for short- and long-term scenarios by identifying potential events that could disrupt your finances and lifestyle, such as job loss, illness, or death.

Create contingency plans for both personal assets and your business, such as establishing an emergency plan.  Aim to build up a savings account that can cover your expenses for three to six months.

Other asset protection strategies include the transfer of rental property to a business entity.

Trusts can also be used to transfer property to another, minimizing risk and financial loss and at the same time, potentially reducing tax consequences.

By reviewing and updating your plan regularly you can account for changes in your circumstances or goals. In Wendy’s case, she should have reviewed the beneficiary for her accounts annually, such as at tax time, saving her family the hassle of a potential probate estate.

And of course, preparing an Estate Plan with a competent Estate Planning attorney will help you plan for any unexpected events that could disrupt your life, finances, and lifestyle. 

Andrea L. Jakob, PA is located at 12401 Orange Drive, suite 219 in Davie.
They can be reached at 954-862-1479 or on the web at