Why You Shouldn’t Wait for Estate Planning
March 23, 2017
Every day, we meet with individuals and families for estate planning. Many of them share some variation of the following feedback: “We just never thought of it before…”. That’s an understandable reaction – estate planning isn’t a topic you hear about frequently on the news, and there’s often a misnomer attributing estate planning simply to retired individuals or couples.
But in reality, estate planning is something that makes sense for every person or family. And not just “someday,” but right now! Here’s why:
- It’s the best (and easiest) way to ensure your final wishes are upheld. Losing a loved one is stressful and while you may have casually shared your wishes with a family member or friend, in the chaos of days following someone’s passing, it can be easy to forget or “mis-remember” your wishes. Legally documenting your wishes in your estate plan is a quick and easy way to ensure your wishes and known and upheld.
- It ensures you’re able to take care of your loved ones. There are a range of laws and complexities that can impact how your money is distributed to your loved ones upon your passing. Meeting with an estate planning attorney can help avoid unnecessary delays or expenses affecting your ability to provide for your loved ones through your estate.
Standard estate administration proceedings take approximately seven (7) months to complete (at a minimum). To the contrary, sitting down and discussing an estate plan with your attorney and financial advisor can allow assets to be distributed to your beneficiaries mere weeks after a loved one passes (i.e. one example of this includes probate versus non-probate assets, which I’ve previously analyzed here in our blog).
- It can help you minimize tax liabilities. Small changes to your estate can make a major impact on the amount of liabilities taxed to your estate upon your passing. Following are just a few of the areas your estate planning attorney should review:
- Credit shelter trusts serve to limit estate taxes when a surviving spouse passes away (i.e. second to die passes away)
- Checking beneficiaries on accounts ensures that all assets will pay to the appropriate individuals and that assets will not pay out to pre-deceased relatives/spouses which can cause horrible tax consequences as those items would now be payable to the decedent’s estate instead of their children, etc.
- Peace of mind. This is the hardest to quantify but is perhaps the most important. Heaven forbid something unexpected should happen, having an estate plan means you don’t have to worry about what will happen when you’re gone.
An estate planning attorney can also provide peace of mind regarding long-term care planning (i.e. I’ve structured my estate plan so that I know that certain assets of mine will not need to be used for skilled nursing home care, nor will they be levied by the Department of Social Services. Instead, those assets are protected and will go to my children at my passing, instead of the nursing home or the State).
- You just never know what can happen. Sometimes life throws us curve balls. An estate plan can help you better weather some of those curve balls, and remove any undue burdens that are associated with them.
Depending on your specific needs, you may only need one meeting with an estate planning attorney. Here at Restaino Reddien, LLP, we are proud to service Niagara Falls and the entire Western New York region. We’ll give you the personal attention you deserve and will be sure your needs are met. Call us at 235-5885 or contact us through our website to schedule your free consultation.
Related Topics: Estate Planning
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