InSight Into Estate Planning
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Beware of Auto-Pay Pitfalls

A loved one suddenly becomes incapacitated. They are unable to work and, all of sudden, the stream of income halts. If your loved one had all of their bills scheduled for auto-pay, this can create a serious financial issue with checking or savings accounts being overdrawn, thereby incurring penalties, if the auto-pay settings are not adjusted quickly. 

This issue is becoming more prevalent. Many banks offer automated bill payments options. As a result, many people have set up online accounts for the seamless payment of common household bills. Paperless billing options can streamline and simplify those recurring expenses. However, it is important to analyze and plan for how these payments and notifications are sent in the event of a loved one suddenly passing away.

Important Tips to Ensure a Relatively Smooth Settlement

When a loved one passes away, family members can often feel overwhelmed by the seemingly endless list of things to take care of.  An up-to-date estate plan and an educated family can help ease this feeling.  Unfortunately, if the family was not prepared, there can be significant confusion over who is in charge and what needs to be done.
If you find yourself in this position, here are some tips to help you get started:
  1. Take care of the final arrangements.  Even more important initially than the estate planning documents is to locate any funeral or burial instructions.  Your loved one may have written out his or her preferences, obtained a funeral insurance policy, or purchased a burial plot. The funeral director will ask how many copies of the death certificate you would like.  We recommend requesting at least 10 to 15 death certificates.
  2. Locate the decedent's important paperwork.  This can require investigation by several members of the family.  Try to determine whether the decedent had a trust and/or will.  These documents will name the executor or trustee.  If there are no estate planning documents, the court will appoint an executor during the probate process.
  3. Obtain the appropriate professional help.  Depending on the estate, the settlement process could be complex.  Finding a knowledgeable attorney, CPA, and financial advisor can put your mind at ease.  They can advise you on the requirements to properly handle the settlement.
  4. Keep good records of time you spend and any expenses you pay personally.  Both time spent and expenses can be reimbursable by the estate, but only if you can provide the proper documentation.
  5. Locate and secure the assets of the decedent.  If a list of assets is not readily available, try to find bank statements or a checkbook to track down bills and deposits.  Life insurance contracts, deeds, and other financial statements are often kept together in a home office or filing cabinet.  You should notify the financial institutions of the death and secure the house if nobody is living in it.
Get more tips for a smooth settlement here.
Less Than Half of Americans Have an Estate Plan

According to a survey conducted by, approximately 42 percent of respondents currently have a set of estate planning documents. If that was not bad enough, respondents with children under the age of 18 indicated that only 36 percent had a plan in place. So, if you are receiving this email and have an estate plan, you are ahead of the game. 

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Attend an InSight Event

Truth About Estate Planning (Morning Session)
Date: March 28, 2018
Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: InSightLaw's Ashburn Office
Event Description: Most people don't know what to expect from an estate planning attorney, let alone know the right questions to ask. In our experience, most families who have completed their estate plans don't fully understand their legal documents and the serious impact it can have on their loved ones. The Truth About Estate Planning™ Program will prepare you to deal with your planning concerns and examine your goals without the time pressure of making decisions.

Truth About Estate Planning (Evening Session)
Date: March 28, 2018
Time: 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Location: InSightLaw's Ashburn Office

Truth About Estate Planning (Afternoon Session)
Date: March 30, 2018
Time: 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Location: InSightLaw's McLean Office

Empowered Legacy Session (Webinar)
Date: April 6, 2018
Time: 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Description: Empowered Legacy session is our maintenance program "orientation" meeting. Topics include: Website Navigation, Client Organizer Review, DocuBank, Legacy Strategies and much more.

 InSight Law, PLLC | 703-654-6019 | |
Offices in Ashburn and McLean, VA and Denver, CO
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