Estate planning may seem like a lofty concept reserved only for those with a lot of money or for those who actually have an “estate.” Even if you don’t think you have significant assets, there are plenty of reasons to consider estate planning. Estate planning is much more than just deciding who gets grandma’s Tiffany lamp or grandpa’s pocket watch. In fact, estate planning is as important as Medicaid planning in New York and should be on the top of your list of things to do this year.
There are many blended families in America, you might have a blended family. It is critical that you consider the needs of your current spouse, any children you might have with her and any children you have from a previous relationship. If this sounds rather complicated, it’s because it can be, which is why estate planning should be seriously considered.
If you have not taken the time to address how your estate will be divided, there will be dissatisfaction and divisions within your family. Taking the time to prepare for a worst-case scenario right now could eliminate many problems your loved ones might have in the future.
If you have children under the age of 18, you definitely need an estate plan. Should something happen to you before they come of age, there needs to be a solid plan considering who will take care of them. You might feel confident that the mother of the children is perfectly capable of raising them, but what should happen if you both perish at the same time? A horrific car accident that takes both your lives leaves to question who will take care of your children. You will never know if the kids go to a relative, a professional guardian and who will oversee any financial reserves left for them.
Let somebody with experience walk you through the options to discover the best solution for your family.
Federal/State taxes and inheritance taxes are great reasons to have estate planning in place. Through even the most basic estate planning, married couples can reduce estate taxes, making the tax bill less burdensome for their heirs.
Protection from Unforeseen Creditors
If you even suspect that a lawsuit could be planned against you, it’s not too late to protect your assets. Protecting your assets will provide benefits to you during your lifetime and your heirs after the time of your death.
Without an estate plan, your assets could become public information upon your death. This happens because a probate court is needed to assist your estate settlement, but a solid estate plan will negate any need for court involvement.
And while privacy is very important, don’t let it become a roadblock for your family should you die. Your estate plan should include a list of updated account information and passwords. This list should include emails, bank accounts and phone access, to name just a few. If you fail to have this information handy, your loved ones could wait an extensive amount of time to unlock some accounts.