The combination of tightened budgets and an abundance of readily available DIY estate planning software has led many to believe this might be a project they can tackle on the their own. Although experts generally agree there are a very…
Despite the fact that estate planning is a crucial step in creating a secure financial future, the majority of us put it off as long as possible, some equating the act of creating an estate plan with having a root canal. In reality, working with your Virginia estate planning attorney is not painful at all. You can either hide your head in the sand and hope for the best, or you can plan, and rest easy knowing your wishes will be carried out in the event you become incapacitated or you die.
When you choose to avoid thinking about estate planning, your beneficiaries can be hit with significant costs, it can take a longer time to probate your will, your true wishes may never be known, and those you love can suffer unnecessary problems and heartache. Many people still believe estate planning is only for the very rich, but anyone who has any assets at all—pretty much everybody—should have basic estate planning documents. If you are ready to begin estate planning, the following steps will help guide you through the process:
Having an estate plan is extremely important, yet the majority of American adults don’t even have a simple will. Some 39 percent of adult men feel like having an estate plan is simply not necessary, while 26 percent of women believe it is too costly. Those who consider themselves Republicans are more likely to have an estate plan (46 percent of all registered Republicans do have some type of estate plan), while only 37 percent of Democrats have an estate plan. Almost a full third of Americans would rather give up sex for a month, do their taxes or get a root canal than to engage in estate planning. Aside from feeling an estate plan is either not necessary or too expensive, other common reasons given for not having an estate plan include:
While most of us are aware of the need to do at least a minimal amount of estate planning, few of us actually take the necessary steps to do so. According to Rocket Lawyers, more than 65 percent of Americans don’t even have a simple will—a number which is actually up from 2011. Even more women between the ages of 45-54 (67 percent) don’t have a simple will, let alone other estate planning documents. Perhaps even more shocking is that a full third of Americans say they would rather get a root canal, or do their taxes, than to create or update their will.
Unfortunately, mistakes regarding estate planning abound, and these mistakes can cause serious issues after a person’s death. Your estate plan should be very specific to your particular situation, and should be motivated by considerations for your loved ones as well as sound legal analysis. Take a look at the following estate planning mistakes, and ensure your estate plan is free of those mistakes. Chances are, there is at least one that you may have been guilty of..
Going through a divorce is one of life’s major events, and one that can leave you feeling battered and bruised. Because of this, the last thing on your mind during this difficult time is likely to be your estate plan. Yet this is one time when you absolutely need to address the issues associated with updating your estate plan. It is likely your divorce caused major changes in your personal finances as well as your overall planning objectives. First and foremost, it is highly likely you no longer want your ex to be the beneficiary of your life insurance or retirement pension. If you have children, it is even more important that you update your estate plan in order to provide for and protect them.
The emotional trauma of divorce often leads spouses to overlook important financial issues as well as the long-term effects divorce can have on wills, trusts and estates. States vary on how they deal with an ex-spouse who attempts to collect on an inaccurate will. Arizona, Texas, California and some other states have laws in place which stop an ex-spouse from collecting on a will that is no longer accurate. Other states will simply cross out the name of the ex-spouse and move on to the next beneficiary in line, when the will goes through probate. When a will is dealt with privately, rather than going through probate, there are no guarantees whether the stated provisions will be honored.
Many people confuse the terms “financial planner” and “estate planning attorney.” To be clear, estate planning can only be done by an experienced estate planning attorney. Financial planners, financial advisors and other financial professionals may have input prior to your visiting with an estate planning attorney. These professionals help you with your financial planning issues such as what you need to save, the difference in stocks vs. bonds, and how to make sure your retirement fund will actually meet your retirement needs. Financial planners can help you look at your overall financial situation and make the changes you need to make in order to provide for family members or plan for your retirement.
There are a number of reasons many of us put off planning for the future. While we are a very busy nation, not having enough time can also be used as an excuse to avoid estate planning. Some people simply…