How to Respond if Your Parents Have Outdated Estate Planning
By: Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
March 13, 2022
HAIMO: If you find that your parents have outdated estate planning, you should broach the subject fairly soon. It’s important that they plan for incapacity and death. Not just because of who inherits property, but also the tax implications as well as just making sure that you’re avoiding probate, guardianship and any other proceedings which not only are uncertain but can cost a lot of money and be an emotional burden on your family.
Understanding a Last Will and Testament
A “Last Will and Testament” or a “Will” is a legal document that expresses your postmortem wishes. It appoints a personal representative or executor to administer your estate. It designates a guardian of the person and property of minor children. It usually covers burial instructions, funeral expenses and estate tax apportionment. And it is most commonly understood to govern the transfer of a deceased person’s property to his/her designated beneficiaries. But outdated estate planning can have unpleasant implications if not handled properly and timely.
The term “Property” includes everything you can possibly own, such as cash, stocks, bonds, houses, vehicles, jewelry, artwork, business interests, and even future interests-think Michael Jackson. His estate will be open for a very long time. In other words, property is everything you own, both now and in the future.
The Dangers of Outdated Estate Planning
A properly drafted and executed estate plan will remove all assets from your name and provide for a smooth transition for your family not only after death but in the event you become incapacitated from injury or illness. It’s a no-brainer for both financial as well as emotional reasons. But outdated estate planning can fail to designate the correct beneficiaries, guardians or power of attorney. And this can result in lengthy probate or court proceedings.
Depending on the complexity of the estate, an administration can last for years. In our economic environment, it can take even longer because there are less clerks, court staff and case managers. It’s also dangerously unpredictable and avoidable thus resulting in unnecessary administration expenses.
You should make a will as soon as you have children, get married, acquire any assets, and especially if any of these areas incur material changes. And if you realize your parents have outdated estate planning or no plans, it’s important to act quickly.
The Importance of Planning Ahead
Haimo Law can help you plan for and protect your family and your business’s interests for the immediate and long-term future. Together, we can take advantage of incredible tools and techniques that are available to you right now.
Call us for wills, trusts, probate, asset protection and business planning. We offers premium professional representation at an affordable price. Helping your family and business is our priority.
Originally published 05/18/2015. Updated 03/13/2022.
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