“I’m not wealthy.” “I’m young and healthy.” “I don’t want to jinx myself.” There are many reasons why creating an estate plan is an important and just as many justifications for not doing it. Here are some common excuses for procrastinating in preparing an estate plan and some ways to overcome them.
If you’ve been appointed personal representative of a probate estate, it is likely you are wondering what your duties are and what steps you are required to take. Probate proceedings are often time consuming because they are full of confusing procedural requirements.
Setting up a revocable trust is like building a treasure chest. When you pass away you want that treasure chest to go to your children, or other beneficiaries, filled with your property and assets. But what happens if the chest is empty when your heirs receive it? One of the biggest mistakes in estate planning is the failure to properly transfer your assets into your trust.
Estate planning documents serve many important functions both during life and after death. Not having such documents can present many different kinds of problems. Here are five tips for getting your estate planning in order.
If you are someone who is ahead of the curve in creating an estate plan, great! But don’t forget that it is also important to have it reviewed every so often.
Not only is estate planning law complex, it also changes constantly. Changing tax law may affect what type of estate plan you need and provide significant benefits for you to take advantage of. New property laws may provide more ways to transfer property after death while also avoiding probate.
In this day and age, the nature of our assets is changing. Traditional estate planning tells us that we should have a will so that our real estate, bank accounts, and personal property will go to our children or other beneficiaries. However, as the age of computers progresses, so many of our assets are becoming digital and web-based. Physical photo album books are replaced with Facebook albums and cloud storage. Letters replaced by email. Cryptocurrency. Even bank accounts, investment accounts, stocks and retirement accounts can be set up and managed completely online.
For me one of the best parts about estate planning is getting to know my clients personally, hearing their stories, finding out about their family and discovering how they want to plan for their future. In an industry that can get bogged down with the legality and legalese of attorney work, it is important to me to make those personal connections with my clients.
One of my favorite things is when my clients ask me if they can provide for their pets through their estate plan. The answer is yes. And why shouldn’t you? Your pets are part of the family too.
When I tell people that I do estate planning, I often get asked, “Like creating wills?” While a Last Will and Testament is type of estate plan, there is also a Revocable Living Trust. There are some common misconceptions about trusts. Some people may believe that they are only for very wealthy people, or utilized as a method for avoiding estate tax liability, or that they are only available to some people not to the general public.
In an earlier post, we looked at the importance of setting up a durable power of attorney for financial matters. But, imagine what would happen if you were seriously ill or injured, unconscious and at the hospital. Who makes the decision about your health care? Your doctor? Your spouse? Another family member? Creating advanced directives will allow you to designate exactly who you want to make these important decisions.
President Abraham Lincoln, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, James Brown, Prince, and most recently Aretha Franklin. These are just a few of many famous people who died without creating a will. Probate disputes can be long and contentious battles. This is even more true when there is no will spelling out the decedent’s wishes with regard to their property and assets. Jimi Hendrix’s estate was still being litigated almost four decades after his death. Bob Marley’s estate is a similar story: a 30-year dispute over his estate, including the rights to exclusive use of his name, likeness and image.
Jessica Brandow is foremost an estate planning attorney dedicated to providing quality legal service to all types of clients.