Many people think estate plans are for someone else, and not for them. Common misconceptions are that they think they are too you (we’ll get to that later), or don’t have sufficient assets top reap the benefits of a well-crafted estate plan. Listed below are the Top 10 reasons to have Boznos Law review and consult with you as it relates to your desires going forward:
- Have you added or lost a family member?
Families expand and contract through the year. Marriage, divorce, adoption, are just a few of the reasons you need to be concerned. The addition of a family member may cause you to rethink how you want to distribute your assets. Also, a newly added family member may have special needs that should be taken into account.
If you’ve lost a family member due to death or divorce, now is also the time to think about asset redistribution to ensure that you are not making a disposition that doesn’t reflect how your family is currently constituted.
Whether you’ve added or lost a family member, it may also impact who you have designated as an executor, trustee or agent for purposes of health care or property powers of attorney.
What if you become incompetent and unable to manage your own affairs? Without a plan, the courts will select a person top manage your affairs. With a plan, you pick that person through a Power of Attorney.
- What about minor children?
Who will raise your children if you die? Without a plan, a court will make that decision. With a plan, you are able to nominate the guardian of your choice.
- Dying without a will?
Who will inherit your assets? Without a plan, your assets will pass to your heirs according to your State’s laws of intestacy (dying without a will). Your family members (and not necessarily the ones you would choose) will receive your assets without the benefit of your direction or of trust protection. With a plan, you decide who gets your assets and when and how they will receive them.
- Children with Special Needs?
Without a plan, a child with special needs risks being disqualified from receiving Medicaid or SSI benefits, and may have to use his/her inheritance to pay for care. With a plan, you can set up a supplemental needs trust that will allow the child to remain eligible for government benefits while using the trust assets to pay for non-covered expenses.
- Did you start or acquire a new business?
There are a number of considerations you need to be aware of. Succession planning is very important and a passing down of a business entity to your loved ones is not to be overlooked. Without a plan, you don’t name a successor thus risking that your family could lose control of the business. With a plan, you choose who will own and control the business. If you own a portion of a business, a smooth transition when you are no longer there needs to be coordinated with your estate plan. Also, from a business perspective, changes may need to be made to the operating documents to ensure that transition happens seamlessly.
- Keeping assets in the family
Would you prefer that your assets stay in your family? Without a plan, your child’s spouse may wind up with your money if your child passes away prematurely. If your child divorces his/her current spouse, half your assets could go to the spouse. With a plan, you can set up a trust to ensure that your assets will stay in your family and, for example, pass to your grandchildren.
- Financial security!
Will your spouse and children be able to survive financially? Without a plan, and the income replacement provided by life insurance, your family may be unable to maintain its current standard of living. With a plan, life insurance can ensure that your family will enjoy financial security.
- It’s time to establish a Revocable Trust
Depending on the size of your estate, as well as your tax or other considerations, it may be time to establish a revocable trust. There are many advantages to a revocable trust (ease of administration, privacy, avoidance of probate) and the funding of that trust can take many forms.
10. Avoiding probate
Without a plan, your estate may be subject to delays and excess fees and your assets will be a matter of public record. With a plan, you can structure things so that probate can be avoided entirely.
With over 34 years’ experience in advising families and businesses on estate planning issues, let Boznos Law work with you to ensure you are ready to meet the challenges posed by the ever changing estate planning landscape. Call Bill Boznos today at (630) 375-1958 or contact us at www.boznoslawoffice.com/contact-us through our website at www.boznoslawoffice.com