We’ve been talking a lot recently about the mistakes we see in estate planning because now, more than ever, we are finding that people feel uncertain, and they want to know their loved ones are secure. Despite the best of intentions, sometimes estate plans just don’t work because they were not set up or maintained properly (or you never had one to begin with). While we all want to feel good about our planning, we also want to make sure it is not a false sense of security. The next few blogs will address the mistakes we often see, and how you can make sure that you don’t fall prey to them!
Mistake #1: Procrastination
One of the biggest and most common mistakes that we see in estate planning is procrastination. For many, creating an estate plan (or updating the one they did 15 years ago) is something they are always meaning to get to but never actually do. The biggest mistake you can make is not having an estate plan, because the probate court has one for you. And for those who do have a plan, their biggest mistake may be not having looked at it in years. Changes in the law, changes in what you own, family changes, job changes, changing your residence, and changing your wishes can all keep an old plan from being effective if it is not updated. In our experience, most estate plans fail because they do not reflect what you want to have happen now.
The solution to this mistake is simple: create an estate plan or update your existing estate plan. Even if you are not quite sure who you want involved or the exact details you want to be included in your plan, someone who specializes in estate or elder law planning will be able to help you with that. Additionally, if you work with a firm that has an ongoing care program, you can always update your plan if you change your mind or if your situation changes.Read More
Although most of us probably cannot even imagine a scenario where we would refuse an inheritance, there are actually situations where it would make sense. Some of these situations include:
- The property left to you could require significant upkeep, therefore significant financial outlay. A property could have extremely high property taxes or insurance, or an older home could require so much upkeep that it is simply not financially feasible to accept the gift.
- Accepting the inheritance could potentially interfere with your eligibility for a necessary government assistance program.
- The inheritance may generate a level of tax obligation that you are simply not able to pay.
- You might want the property left for you to go to another person.
- You could be contemplating filing for bankruptcy and do not want the property to be sold to pay your creditors or have it otherwise interfere with your bankruptcy proceedings.
- You could be thinking about divorce and do not want to take the chance that the inheritance could be subject to the marital property division laws in your state.
- You simply may not like the item left to you or want the inheritance.
You may have wondered at some point in your life what would happen to your assets if you were to unexpectedly die. If you are like most of us, you quickly pushed those thoughts to the back of your mind, vowing to deal with them “later.” While few of us want to sit down and think about our eventual death, most adults recognize it is a topic that should be addressed. Many who have taken the step to have an estate plan drawn up may still find it awkward or uncomfortable to talk to family members about the estate plan.
It is extremely important to talk about your long-term care plans with your adult children or others who would be left to deal with your estate in the event of your death or incapacitation. Just remember, it is much better to have these conversations now than to wait until it is too late. Family Estate Planning Law Group’s Family Care Meeting™ is a great way to begin talks with your family about your estate plan. By bringing together your team, which can include your loved ones, our attorney team, a financial advisor, accountant, or any other professional you want to be included, the Family Care Meeting™ opens up communication, facilitating the conversation and answering questions from all those involved.Read More
During these unique and unprecedented times, we at Family Estate Planning Law Group are still working hard to help our families create estate plans and update their estate plans efficiently while also focusing on keeping everyone safe through social distancing practices. With the new stay at home order extended to May 18th, we have come up with several options to help our clients efficiently and safely review and execute their estate planning documents until it is safe for us to start in-person meetings again.Read More
If you have a business, you have likely thought about what would happen to your business after your death. A well-run, well-managed family business could potentially provide for your loved ones long after you are gone. Unfortunately, according to the Family Business Institute, less than one-third of all businesses survive into the second generation. The reason for this is largely due to a failure to plan for the future on the part of the owner of the business. Business succession planning is like writing an estate plan for your business. Few people are enthusiastic about estate planning, but most adults do recognize the wisdom in doing so.
If you have poured your time and energy into your business, you want to make sure it succeeds you. What you don’t want is your death to cause infighting among family members, and you certainly don’t want your business to collapse or end up in liquidation. In a best-case scenario, you will have planned so thoroughly for your business succession that every family member will know his or her role in the business, and the business will continue, as strong as ever.Read More