Why should I plan my estate? I have a will, isn’t that enough?

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27th Mar 2016

Ben Franklin once said that, “In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.” A major goal of estate planning is to minimize the effects of both on your assets. Putting together a successful estate plan with clearly defined objectives, you can separate yourself from the unprepared and the under prepared.

Many estate plans in America today fail to properly address goals of those who created them.  Sometimes this is because the attorney was not listening attentively during the design process. Another reason is the failure to ensure that the property and/or beneficiary forms are properly titled.

There are other common mistakes that are often made. Once you know what they are, you can be of help in the creation of your estate plan.

Focus on Recipients

The first error that is frequently made is the failure to focus on how the assets a person leaves will impact their recipients.  Will you approve of the way your heirs handle everything they inherit?  If not, the time to prevent this from happening is now, while your still alive. After incapacity or death, it’s too late.

Plan for Disability

Another mistake in estate planning is the failure to plan for incapacity. Where will you live if you becomes disabled?  Who will take care of you?  Who will pay the bills?  How will spending for the disability affect the goal of preserving wealth for a healthy spouse or his children?  Can an alternative be suggested, such as long term care insurance?  Must the Probate Court take control of their lives?

You can help prevent confusion by engaging a qualified estate planning attorney who can properly protect you. You can potentially save a small fortune later on if you prepare for it now.

Will It or Won’t It

A third common mistake that people make is thinking they are set because they have a will. Others feel that, because everything is held jointly, a will isn’t necessary.  In each case, they are wrong, and are unwittingly giving control to a probate judge.

The great majority of our new clients are amazed to find out that a will guarantees probate, whereas joint ownership may avoid probate when the first person dies.  But what about a remarriage, where all of the assets go to the new spouse or stepchildren, and none to your biological children?  Do you really want this?  Have you even thought about it?

These problems and many more can be avoided by engaging a strong estate planning attorney before the need arises. Sadly, much of what passes for estate planning by many law firms today is little more than word processing.  Someone asks a few questions and then fits you into their pre-defined box. This isn’t planning – This is simply document preparation. Don’t settle for word processing in place of quality planning!

At Christensen Young & Associates we will take time to get to know you, your family, your desires, your concerns, your goals, and any potential future problems. Your estate plan should be a custom fit not a “one size fits all”.  Good planning is no accident.

Advanced Directives, Care Planning, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Financial Planning, Incapacity, Inheritance, Last Will, Legacy Planning, Living Trust, Medical Directives, Power of Attorney