Sometimes unlikely fears keep us from making sensible decisions, like getting an Estate Plan in place. In the bad “who dun it” movies, the main character, usually a wealthy matriarch or patriarch, is dying and the “hoverers” begin to swarm. There’s always a fight over the Will and, most often, the villain is the long-lost relative who feels they are entitled to more than they are getting.
That story, however, is show business. In real life, a Will can protect your wishes and assets so that your chosen beneficiaries benefit from your savings and legacy. There is little likelihood of a nefarious plot brewing against you. That’s not to say there won’t be arguments between siblings or others who feel they deserve a larger slice of the pie. However, proper planning will force them to face reality. When drafted by experienced Estate Planners, your Will can ensure that your assets and final wishes will be protected.
Mistake 1: Delayed Planning: Assuming You Don’t Need to Do Anything
Many people make the mistake of thinking they’re too young to start the estate planning process or that they don’t have enough assets to actually warrant contacting a lawyer to make their wishes official. The fact is, however, that without a Will, lots of things can go awry. For example, if you have young kids, you’ll need to need to name someone to take care of them, and perhaps set up a trust for life insurance or other monies to be used for your children’s care. If you do not have a spouse or children, the family members who inherit your estate may end up paying inheritance taxes that could have been provided for in a Will. It’s critical that you make your wishes known. Hopefully the day when your assets must be distributed is far off in the future. But it is always better to be prepared for the unexpected.
Mistake 2: One and Done: Failing to Re-evaluate Your Plan
Things change; that’s for certain. It’s advisable to check your Estate Plan every three to five years to make that it still indicates your wishes. If something happens sooner, such as the birth of a child, a divorce, or marriage, (yours or a close relative’s), give your documents a once over with the help of an experienced Estate Planning attorney. Unless you know the ins and outs of this complex area of law, you shouldn’t go it alone. A skilled lawyer will help you take a fresh look at your plan and work with you to make the necessary changes.
Mistake 3: There’s No Such Thing as a Stupid Question.
It’s important to remember that a Will and an Estate Plan are not the same thing. However one directly affects the other when it comes time to execute your final wishes. There are likely many things you don’t know about estate planning. Why would you? For example, is your plan comprehensive enough to take care of all your needs? Do you have a special needs child who requires additional planning? Is there a family business or inheritance that needs protection? An Estate Plan is also living document that requires constant attention.
Make is easier on your family. Let the attorneys at McDowell Posternock Apell & Detrick, PC help you develop a comprehensive and easily executable Will and Estate Plan. Or, let’s sit down and review the plan you have in place. It’s never too soon to plan ahead. And, the peace of mind is priceless. Call us today to get started.