Estate Planning 2021 | Planning for Your Future

Estate Planning is one of the things that people want to accomplish every New Year. This year is no exemption, especially with the pandemic.
Estate planning is on top of New Year resolutions for 2021 of many people.
Mainly because they want peace of mind. They want to make sure that if something unfortunate happens, their family will be taken care of.

In this episode of Daily Wisdom, Attorney and Advisor Chris Berry educates us on the basic things about Estate Planning.

Estate Attorney and Advisor Chris Berry of Castle Wealth Group answers questions on retirement and estate planning every Wednesday at 1pm. Register via thisĀ linkĀ or give our office a call at 844-885-4200.

Castle Wealth Group and Christopher Berry help families with estate planning, elder law, retirement planning, and tax planning from their offices in Brighton, Ann Arbor, Livonia, Bloomfield Hills, and Novi.

Castle Wealth Group helps families with their legal, financial, and tax planning for their retirement and legacy.

With the use of legal structures like revocable living trusts, Castle Trusts (asset protection trusts), Chris Berry and Castle Wealth Group can help your family plan, protect, and preserve what is important through their Retirement and Legacy Blueprint Process.


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Episode Transcript

Estate Planning

So what we’re going to do is talk about estate planning. And so with new year’s resolutions being the big thing, a lot of people have estate planning as something that they wanted to accomplish in 2021. And this is something that I’ve seen every year for the past 15 years that we’ve been doing this. A lot of people reach out. It seems like there’s two reasons people reach out because estate planning, putting together a will and trust it’s pretty boring. It’s one of those things that it’s easy to procrastinate on. So usually there’s some type of events or something happening that causes someone to say, “Hey, now’s the time I need to put my plan in place, create that legal structure.” And the new year’s always seems to be a big one where people, I think families kind of list out what their goals are or what they want to accomplish.

And one of those things is, “Hey, we’ve been putting off doing our estate planning forever or we haven’t had it reviewed in 10 years, and this is going to be the year that I’m going to get it done.” And so a lot of people reach out to us in January. And then the other reason and this one kind of irks me a little bit is because they’re going on a trip somewhere. And so I’ll get a call to say, “Hey, we’re going on a trip. We’re going to leave our kids behind. This is one of the first times we’re going on a big trip without them, maybe they’re 10 or 12 where they’re going to stay with grandma and we’re leaving in three days.” Well, problem is it usually it takes us a month to put everything together.

But so with this being the new year, a lot of people are probably thinking about getting their estate planning done as part of their new year’s resolution. So I just want to talk about some of the basics of estate planning. And we provide a lot of information on this before, but I just wanted to cover the basics. And so for most people, estate planning is… Having their estate planning done is a combination of a couple of things that they want to accomplish. The big thing is being peace of mind. They want to sleep easy at night, knowing God forbid something happens that their family is going to be taken care of.


Protecting Assets from Devastating Cost of Long Term Care

Now that something that could happen could be a lot of different things. It could be passing away. So, that’s where estate planning takes a look at how do we make sure if you pass away, you leave your whatever you’ve accumulated to your loved ones as efficiently and effectively as possible. That something could be what happens if I have a stroke and I need long-term care, how can I protect my assets from the devastating cost of long-term care? Or it could be if I pass away and I leave things to my kids, I want to make sure it stays in the family and it doesn’t go to the in-laws or who we call the outlaws. Or if one of my children pass away, I don’t want that money going to the spouse when I remarry I want it flowing down to my grandchildren.

So estate planning, it’s not fun to think about, but it’s something that has to be done because really, I joke around about it. But estate planning is all about death and capacity and taxes. We can’t get around those things, right? And so there’re certain tools we use in the estate planning world to build this legal structure, to build this rule book for you. And the first thing is typically we either have a trust and a will or just a will. So we have will-based estate plans or trust-based estate plans. Why some people would do a trust-based estate plan typically is they want to avoid probate. They want to control that distribution, make sure the money stays in the family, or they want to protect them from the devastating cost of long-term care or protect themselves from potential lawsuit.

So we could create a trust that can accomplish those different goals. And again, that’s where we start with is first, what are your goals? Let’s develop the strategies and then pick the right tools. So it might be a trust or we could do a will, a will-based estate plan. Typically, we’re going to rely on things like beneficiary designations to make sure stuff avoids probate and so the will, will almost be is like a spare tire. It’s there just in case. But we still need to do a will because that’s where we appoint who’s going to make funeral decisions, that type of thing.


Financial Power of Attorney

So we have either a trust or a will, and then we need to have a financial power of attorney, is the document appointing someone to make financial decisions. A medical power of attorney, document appointing someone to make medical decisions. And then we need to have a deed. So if you have real estate, we need to make sure that that real estate goes where it’s supposed to go. And a lot of times we’ll do, what’s called a ladybird deed, which is a type of deed that says it’s in your name while you’re alive. And then if you pass away, it goes to whoever you’ve named as a beneficiary. So it’s almost like a beneficiary designation for your home.

And so those are the basic tools that we use when we’re putting together that legal structure and understand not all tools are created equal, not all families have the same goals. And so that’s where first we figure out what are your goals? And we walk people through what we call estate planning audit, where we figure out what are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish with your estate plan? And then, and only then do we start talking about strategy and tools. Because a big question I get is, do I need a will or a trust? I always give the lawyer answer of, it depends. Because it depends on what your goals are. What are you trying to accomplish? And that’s really where we start in terms of the estate planning process is what do you want to try to accomplish? How can we help you? And then we figure out the best way to accommodate that.

So this has been Chris Berry with Castle Wealth Group, another video educational video. If you want more of these, please make sure to subscribe. You can also join us for our Weekly Wisdom Webinars, where I jump on live at one o’clock on a webinar. There’s nothing pre-written, there’s no PowerPoints. It’s just me answering questions live that people either submitted ahead of time or they ask them right on the webinar. People find it very educational. I enjoy it, it’s a lot of fun for me. So feel free to register for one of those as well. You can do that by going to So this has been Chris Berry with Castle Wealth Group, make sure to subscribe. Thank you.

Castle Wealth Group as clients across the nation and helps families plan, protect, and preserve what is important by creating a retirement and legacy blueprint.



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