National Estate Planning Awareness Week: October 16-22, 2017
National Estate Planning Awareness Week was adopted by Congress in 2008 to help the public understand what estate planning is, why it is such a vital component of financial wellness, and how it can protect your assets and loved ones. Estate planning essentially has four goals: Leave a legacy for family and heirs, plan for disability and assisted living, avoid probate, and minimize taxes. Regardless of the size of your estate, what you own, or what your family circumstances may be, a comprehensive estate plan is an essential tool for everyone. It is a “life-plan,” and does not just concern what happens to your assets when you pass away. It is motivated out of love for family, friends, and personal causes. If you already have an estate plan, it is equally important to keep it up to date to reflect major events in your life including a change in assets, marital status, and births and deaths in the family.
When There is No Plan
It is understandably hard for a young couple to think about estate planning. They often believe that because they don’t have many assets, dying without a will isn’t a big deal. To the contrary, it is a big deal. When someone dies without a will, probate costs can be 2-3 times higher than probate with a will, and that is assuming there is no conflict or challenge. Horror stories about probate and end-of-life decision making usually involve people who did not plan their affairs. Without a plan, the State and Federal governments step in with a plan, which controls you and your property in the event you become mentally disabled, or at death. This may include:
• conservatorships and guardianships if you become incapacitated,
• court proceedings governing end-of-life decision-making,
• state control over who receives your assets at death, and if there is no one to receive it, the State takes title, and
• how much you owe in estate taxes.
The “No Plan” plan is the most expensive plan for you and your loved ones, and usually produces the most disastrous results.
How to Get Started
Some clients appreciate the opportunity to gather together and organize all their personal and financial information at the start of the planning process. Other clients simply want to get their questions answered and need time to think. Some clients know exactly what they want to do and just need a little help to implement their plan. In most cases, you can save time and money in the preparation of your estate plan by gathering information on your own before discussing with attorney. To assist you in this process, download our Estate Planning Worksheet.
When you’re ready to move forward, Braun & Gresham offers you the opportunity to meet with us for an initial one-hour consultation, at no cost or obligation, to see how we can best assist you. We will review your family circumstances, your assets and goals, explain any issues we see, and make initial recommendations regarding which strategies and techniques meet your unique needs. Call Margaret Menicucci, a compassionate and experienced estate planning attorney, at 512-894-5426.
Take a look at these helpful blogs and success stories to learn more about the different components of estate planning, and get a feel for what you can expect when working with our team.
Estate Planning and Probate Handout
Young Adults and Families Need Estate Plans
The Importance of Updating Your Estate Plan
The Importance of a Carefully Developed Estate Plan
What is Probate?
Estate Planning with Blended Families
Estate Planning in the Digital World
Will vs. Trust: A Quick and Simple Reference Guide
Funding Your Trust
What Happens When a Will is Protested?
New Beneficiary Deed Good for Texas Families
Making Lifetime Gifts Free From Gift Tax
Business Succession Planning
Estate Planning for Rural Landowners
Saving Your Land by Sharing the Tax Exclusion
Success Story: Comprehensive Estate Planning Creates Peace of Mind
Success Story: Securing the Dahlstrom Family Land & Legacy