On the surface, it’s not difficult to understand why fewer than half of Americans have created an estate plan. Who wants to pay an attorney to talk about death and taxes? But it’s an important conversation to have. It’s not just about avoiding taxes; estate planning is really about deciding how you want to take care of your family. An article from The Street, “Estate Planning Needs to be on Your Retirement To-Do List” highlights this important way you care for your loved ones.
Going through the process of creating an estate plan may not be as fun as planning a family vacation, but investing in estate planning is likely to have more of a long-term impact. Many haven’t done estate planning because they’re too busy. Others start to consider their estate planning after experiencing the probate process for themselves with a loved one who has passed away (for more on the probate process, take a look at our last post). A parent’s death and going through the process of probating an estate may be a real struggle; no one wants to leave that mess for their children.
Estate planning is the smartest way to take care of your family and loved ones. Everyone needs to do a review of investments and be certain the beneficiaries on life insurance, IRAs and 401(k)s are updated, in addition to powers of attorney and health care proxies. Remember, documents need to be updated any time there is a change in your assets, your family situation or in the law. That includes not just any trust documents, but heath care proxies, powers of attorney and beneficiary designations.
Throughout your life, your estate planning goals and needs will look different. As you age, you may need more advanced planning or to start Medicaid planning. Most people don’t start thinking about estate planning until their 50s and 60s, but it’s an important way to take care of your family.
If you haven’t done any planning, take steps toward creating an estate plan. While you should certainly work with an experienced estate planning attorney, even if the plan you create today or tomorrow isn’t perfect, you’ve taken a huge step in the right direction: you have a plan to work with now!
At Family Estate Planning Law Group, we know your plan isn’t a one-time deal. Your life changes, your family circumstances change, your assets change and so does the law. That’s why we work with all our clients on an ongoing basis. We regularly communicate with our clients to ensure their estate plan still answers their needs and work with them to update it as things change.
For more information on our unique ongoing maintenance program, explore our website and contact us to schedule your consultation today!
Reference: The Street (September 24, 2016) “Estate Planning Needs to be on Your Retirement To-Do List”