“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.
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.
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.
With a new baby in the house, likely one of the last thing on your mind as a new parent is the thought of creating an estate plan. During this time you are likely tired from the new changes in the house and elated at the new addition to your family. This time is both stressful and happy. However, you certainly should not procrastinate too long on contemplating the important decision of what will happen to your new baby if both you and your significant other are incapacitated or worse.
Most people likely believe that estate planning is just preparing a will or trust that directs how your affairs should be handled after death. However, an effective estate plan should also contemplate a plan for what happens if you were to be incapacitated. Consider what would happen to your financial affairs if you were to be taken ill or incapacitated for a long period of time. A power of attorney is a document that can direct exactly how your affairs should be managed in such a case.
Jessica Brandow is foremost an estate planning attorney dedicated to providing quality legal service to all types of clients.