I am Bryan Woodford, an attorney with Woodford Law P.C., and am also a 34-year-old husband with 2 children, and a 3rd on the way. I have noticed that many of my peers do not have Life Insurance nor Estate Planning in place. Estate Planning sounds like something that only the Wealthy need, but I can assure you that is not the case, so here is a glimpse of my personal estate plan. I recommend you do the same.
If you have minor children and don’t have life insurance, you need it now! Life Insurance is the most important piece of my estate plan, and the element that gives me most peace of mind. I pay SBLI $720 annually for a 20-year term policy that has a death benefit of $1,000,000.00. This is at a select non-nicotine rate, which is the third best premium rate available, it would have been higher but I had a parent pass away before the age of 55 which negatively affects the premium rate. Other factors such as your age, weight, and medical history may affect your premium.
You can acquire Life Insurance very easy by first getting a soft quote and then completing an application with an insurance agent like myself. Almost all MA insurance agents are independent and can apply for insurance on your behalf with any major Insurance Carrier. Having a legal background I feel that i have an upper hand on your average agent when understanding an insurance application and contract. I use SBLI as my carrier, but again, I am independent and can use anyone. Once the application is filed it then proceeds to the underwriting phase where the insurer assesses their risk based on physical examination, medical record examination, driving history examination, and other policies of their underwriting guidelines.
I have drafted reciprocating Last will and testaments for my wife and I, which executes our wishes detailed below.
1. If one of us passes away , we leave our entire estate to the other, which is common and simple. As an operation of MA law the surviving spouse has sole legal and physical custody of our children, regardless of what is written in the will, common sense.
2. In the event we both die simultaneously, we have requested my sister to be the guardian of our children. Even with a Will in place we don’t have the authority to appoint a guardian, only a judge can do that, however the Judge would have a tough time appointing someone other than your nominee in a Last Will, that is why it is important to have a will that nominates the candidate you want.
3. If we both pass away simultaneously then any assets of our estate are to be distributed from my estate into The Woodford Children Trust, discussed in more detail below.
POWER OF ATTORNEY (POA), HEALTH CARE PROXY (HCP), and HIPPA RELEASE
These three documents are not well-known, but a crucial part of my estate plan. The POA, HCP, and HIPPA, allow my spouse access to financial records, medical records, and to do all the things that only I can only now do myself. Without these documents in place if i was to get in an accident and was in a coma my wife would have to resort to the courts to get authority over my financials and medical records, which would be timely and costly.
THE WOODFORD CHILDREN TRUST
My Life Insurance and Assets would go to my spouse if anything shall happen to just me, however, if we both die in an accident together I have named the contingent beneficiary on my Life Insurance and Will as The Woodford Children Trust. If I did not have this trust then a court appointed Fiduciary would be required to administer my estate until my children reach 18, which with all the court forms is costly and time consuming. The Trust I drafted chooses my guardian as the Manager of the assets outside of the court system, and doesn’t give the children carte blanc access to the funds until they are 25 where as the court would give it to them upon reaching majority age of 18.
This is an advertisement for my Law firm, Woodford Law P.C., handles all of these matters at for a very modest fee comparable within industry standards. We offer a free consultation to discuss these items and at the consultation will quote you a fee for these services. Payment plans are available.