If you’ve delayed getting your estate planning documents together, this year, 2021, is the year to get it done. Think about it. You are stuck in this pandemic which took away your control over so many things. You cannot travel and visit with others as you wish. This entire time can be viewed as a complete time waster, if we do not act to create something of value. How about using 2021 to create the joy of accomplishment?
This is National Estate Planning Awareness Week. As an estate planning attorney, it’s my job every day to educate my community about issues they may face in the future with respect to their assets, family, debt and more, if they do not get their plan in writing.
The very best way to learn anything is to learn examples, especially about what could go wrong. So this week, let’s go over some contingencies to highlight why you should start thinking about your own plan.
Parents of young children often wonder if it is the best idea list their minors as account beneficiaries. Usually, a parent will list the spouse as the main beneficiary, but would like to name children as a contingent beneficiary, in the event something happened to both parents. This practice of naming minors as account beneficiaries, along with a few others set forth below, will cause many unintended consequences.
The probate process varies state to state and even county to county, in terms of costs, money and the time it takes from start to finish. Usually, the estate must hire an attorney to assist the Personal Representatives in all of the tasks and necessary paperwork. A simple probate takes a few months. If litigation is involved, it may take several years. The average probate may last a year.
Almost everyone knows it is important to receive these documents but many don’t do that. And we wondered why. Why do people avoid getting necessary documents? So we did our own informal survey and discovered the people are just overwhelmed with a seemingly large vats of documents they need to give to an estate planning attorney in order to get their own plans in order.￼