If you missed it, October was National Estate Planning Month. Why? Because more than half of all adults in the U.S. don’t have an estate plan—or even a will—it is certain that estate planning is an often-overlooked component for financial wellness.
Estate Planning Awareness was created to inform and teach the public about the importance of and the numerous benefits associated with estate planning. Far too many of us put off even thinking about an estate plan until an emergency occurs or a close friend or family member dies. When such events happen, it usually comes to light that there are crucial issues which could have been avoided with one simple appointment with a Virginia estate planning attorney—and a moderate expenditure.
Not only does a lack of planning result in stressful circumstances, it can make a very emotional time even more so. It can be helpful to think of estate planning as a journey, rather than a destination. This means that even for individuals who have had an estate plan or a simple will prepared, it is not meant to be a “one and done” task. Rather it should be updated on a regular basis.
Think about how often your life circumstances change. Marriages happen, divorces happen, children are born, and parents may die. For all these reasons, it is always a good idea to stay in close contact with your estate planning attorney, updating your estate plan every 3-5 years, or anytime you encounter a sizable turning point in your life. Since tomorrow is the last day of National Estate Planning Awareness month, there’s really no time like the present!
Do I Really Need an Estate Plan?
If you truly have no assets to speak of, you might be able to get by with preparing your will via an online form. Be aware, however, that most all people actually have more assets than they realize, and that one simple mistake can void your entire will.
If you have virtually any assets, having an experienced Virginia estate planning attorney prepare your estate plan is almost always a better idea. Certainly, if you have assets in more than one state, you are considering a trust, or you have an investment company portfolio or significant assets you should definitely have an experienced estate planning attorney in your corner.
Further, if your total estate is more than $100,000, you have significant debt, or you own a significant amount of property, having a professionally prepared estate plan is simply the smart thing to do.
You may also have a disabled child—whether a minor or an adult—to consider. If so, having a specially prepared trust can ensure your child will always be taken care of, while still being able to access certain government programs.
You might also consider a trust for a beneficiary who has not exhibited responsible behavior with money. You can add a “spendthrift” clause which can clearly detail how that beneficiary will receive assets.
How a Virginia Estate Planning Attorney Can Help
There are so many benefits to having a Virginia estate planning attorney prepare your plan for you. You will have the peace of mind, knowing the estate plan is properly and legally prepared, plus you will know your loved ones will be taken care of in the event of your disability or death. When a death occurs, it is extremely difficult for those left behind to have to deal with legal issues associated with the lack of an estate plan. You will not want to leave your loved ones in such a difficult position, therefore, contacting a Virginia estate planning attorney this month is a loving gift you can leave behind.
Contact Our Northern Virginia Trust and Estates Law Firm
An experienced Virginia estate planning attorney can review all of your options with you when planning for the future. Northern Virginia Trusts & Estates provides affordable estate planning services for Virginia families.
For more information about trusts, wills, estate planning, or our services and packages, contact our office today at 703.719.4846 or visit our website: www.NorthernVirginiaTrustsAndEstates.com