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Don’t Procrastinate Your Estate Planning

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“I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” Like Woody Allen, most of us find just thinking about our own demise—let alone planning for it–to be somewhat unnerving and perhaps even downright unpleasant. Our advice is to plan for it anyway, and do it now. Here are five good reasons to not procrastinate making a plan for the succession of your estate and the care of your heirs:

  1. Peace of Mind. Our clients who make a plan regarding how their hard earned assets should be distributed upon death have less worry about their ultimate end, and much more peace of mind knowing that they are taking care of those they love when that end eventually comes.
  2. Probate Avoidance. Even a relatively small estate can wind up in court without a written plan. Wouldn’t you rather be the one choosing who will benefit from the accumulations of your life, rather than turning that control over to a court appointed administrator?
  3. Incapacity. A Revocable Living Trust is not just for death, but will also ensure that your assets are protected during your life by appointing a trustee to manage your trust assets if you can’t do it yourself because of incapacity. A Durable Power of Attorney and Advance Healthcare Directive, two documents also included in a complete Estate Plan, are important because they name your agent who can deal with legal matters falling outside of your Trust, and health care decisions if you should become incapacitated.
  4. Guardianship of Minor Children. If you have young children, it is critical that you create a Will, if for no other reason than to pick a guardian for your children. A legal document which names your guardian ensures that your wishes for the care of your children are carried out, and that others aren’t left to guess at the care you might have envisioned for them.
  5. Tax Savings. The estate tax exemption is currently at a record high, and many people are thus not concerned about paying estate taxes when they pass away. However, an Estate Plan can also address and reduce income tax exposure while you are alive. A good estate planning attorney can help to find strategies to reduce both potential estate and income taxes.

These are just a few of the many great reasons to contact a qualified estate planning attorney today to assist with the establishment of a personalized Estate Plan. It is never too early to do it, but procrastinating can most definitely make it too late. Death and taxes, although certain, don’t have to entirely out of your control, and we can work with you to create a comforting road map to guide you and your loved ones through the unexpected twists and turns of your life, and to protect the succession of your cherished assets upon death.

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