Show Your Love Now, Start Your Estate Plan Today

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we celebrate his efforts and accomplishments in guiding the Civil Rights Movement. He was a dedicated champion of social justice, and it was a national tragedy when he was assassinated. In the following years, his family had to fight various legal battles to keep his property. For example, his travel Bible and even his Peace Prize medal were publicly litigated, with then-President Jimmy Carter serving as a mediator.

Because King’s death was shocking and untimely, he likely did not have his estate fully articulated — he was only 39 years old. However, it’s never too early to prepare your estate so your family doesn’t have to work out your wishes amid their grief after you pass. Here are a few strategies to consider.

Create a will or a trust — and know the difference between the two.
This is the first step to establishing your estate. These documents concretely state your wishes, outlining who will receive certain assets, like property or heirlooms. A will goes into effect once the individual has passed, distributing the assets according to those instructions within the document. A trust holds those assets during an individual’s life and distributes them after their passing through a designated trustee or successor trustee. You can create either of these or even both. Having both will ensure your loved ones know your wishes regarding your belongings.

Utilize beneficiary designations.
These are used alongside a will and/or trust. They specify who will inherit anything not covered in the aforementioned documents. You probably already named a beneficiary if you have a life insurance policy. Other accounts may also allow you to name a beneficiary. The critical thing to remember is that the beneficiary will overrule whoever is named in a will or trust to receive the policy.

These are just two of the foundational elements of crafting an estate plan. Give your family the gift of peace and your love now before it’s too late. Estate litigation is stressful, lengthy, and expensive. Please reach out so we can help with your estate planning today.


Andrea Shoup