More Americans than ever before are learning the importance of estate planning, yet only about half of Americans have any type of estate planning in place. Many identify cost or plain discomfort as the reason for avoiding estate planning. Of those identifying cost, an increasing number have turned to cheap “do it yourself” estate planning they pull off the internet.
The trouble with the cheap do-it-yourself approach is that even if your situation seems simple (or the document seems passable) there can be substantial and financially devastating landmines going undetected. These landmines can end up costing your heirs and beneficiaries a lot more than you saved in legal fees or taxes by having an attorney involved. When the risk turns into reality it can mean tens of thousands of dollars in unforeseen costs from family members gear up for war against each other or avoidable taxes. Inevitably attorneys become involved which always leads to an interesting conversation about how affordable estate planning would have been if it was done properly.
Estate planning will avoid many of the common problems we associate with no planning. If you pass without a Will do you want default state law determining how most of your belongings are distributed? If you’re a single or surviving parent who dies without a Will, do you want the court deciding, without your input, who should raise your children? You do not want to be wondering if you told your spouse about your health care desires when you are being wheeled into an operating room.
- SAVE MONEY BY AVOIDING A FIGHT OVER YOUR CHILDREN
Estate planning is a selfless act that is aimed at guiding and providing for your family when you cannot speak with them and is particularly true for parents with children under 18. As part of your estate planning, you will name guardians for your minor children that will be given preferred status by the Courts. Absent estate planning guardianship of your minor children will be fought through the courts as various family members battle for control.
In a guardianship proceeding, any number of family members may step forward and make a claim that they would be the best person to be the guardian. These hotly contested court battles are costly with starting retainers going into the thousands.
- SAVE MONEY BY AVOIDING A FIGHT OVER YOUR BED
The second area over which estate planning can prevent problems is directly involving you. If you become incapacitated and are no longer capable of caring for yourself or your property or finances, then a court will hold a legal proceeding to name a guardian for you individually. Again, this can easily lead to a disagreement or fight within your own family about who should be appointed as the guardian.
Keep in mind, that whoever is decided as your legal guardian may have power over your finances or even where you get to live. Failing to name someone could see someone you don’t want appointed by the court.
- SAVE MONEY BY AVOIDING A FIGHT OVER YOUR PROPERTY
The final reason is that estate planning is more affordable than you think. Good estate planning will cost a fraction of the legal fees that can come with contested probate where family members fight over every dollar or battle for possession of treasured family heirlooms. Inevitably, the bigger the size of your estate, the uglier the fight.
Jerimy Kirschner and Associates wants to save you money and provide you serenity. We can draft your entire estate plan from start to finish, from simple wills to complex trusts, powers of attorney for both healthcare and finances or special needs trusts. We draft all of our documents with the goal of preserving your legacy and avoiding costly future conflicts.
If you’re in need of some Estate Planning, or some peace of mind, please call us to set up an appointment – You will also find out just how affordable estate planning can be!