Saturday, July 27, 2013

Wills & Trusts Lawyer Cites “3 Cs” as Main Reasons for Estate Planning

Benjamin Franklin once said: “There are two things that are certain in life:  Death and taxes.”  Yes, both of these are certain.  But because these two are certain to happen, then that only means you should do your estate planning – now.       

                You have to prepare for death and taxes while you are still in control.  There are 3 main reasons why you should give estate planning your immediate attention.  All three begin with the letter “C.”          
                The first is Control.  You want to make sure that the ones you care for will get the items of your estate when you are no longer in control – or when you die.   So you have to do your will or living trust now.  You don’t know when you are going to die.  So, you should call your estate planning attorney and have your estate planning documents done.

                The second reason is still Control.   You want to make sure that the people you care for will inherit their part of your estate. But this time, when you are still alive but are not in a position to make decisions.  This happens when you have been declared as mentally incapacitated.   Or you are in a coma or vegetative state. In such a case, you have to execute a durable power of attorney and assign a person to make decisions on your behalf.  Besides making key decisions as to how to manage your assets, your DPA should also specify what your loved ones will do to you when you are in a coma.  Rather than let your family agonize as to whether to pull the plug or not, you must make the decision yourself while you are still mentally capable – and just let them follow your wishes.      
           
                The third “C” or reason for giving estate planning your priority today is Cost.  Cost in terms of estate taxes, legal fees and payments to creditors. And cost in terms of loss of privacy.  (When an estate undergoes probate, your heirs will lose their privacy as their personal affairs may be open book in court.  And, it is your heirs who will shoulder all the costs – not you.    

                That then is the third reason why you should give estate planning your immediate attention today:  reduced costs for your heirs.  You want your heirs to receive the particular item or amount from your estate.  But you also do not want a big part of their inheritance to be used to pay estate taxes.  You do not want to think that they will be selling off your prized heirlooms just to pay off creditors.  And you do not want your heirs to suffer the ignominy of going through probate.  Of course, with the help of your estate planning lawyer, you will come up with a plan that will redound to lower or no estate taxes and the avoidance of probate
                 You can do your estate plan when you are still in control.  And the time can only be now.

For a free consultation to get your estate planning affairs in order, contact our law firm today.