SOME ESTATE PLANNING THOUGHTS
SHOULD YOU PLAN?
Yes! Too many people donít. Individuals put off estate planning because they think they donít own enough, theyíre not old enough, theyíre busy, they have plenty of time, theyíre confused and donít know who can help them, or they just donít want to think about it. Then, when something happens, their families have to figure it all out. If you donít have a plan, your state has one for you, but you probably are not going to like it.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON"T PLAN?
If your name is on the title of your assets and you canít conduct business due to mental or physical incapacity, only a court appointee can sign for you. The court, not your family, will control how your assets are used to care for you through a conservatorship or guardianship (depending on the term used in your state). It can become expensive and time consuming, it is open to the public, and it can be difficult to end even if you recover.
If you die with no intentional estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to the probate laws in your state. In many states, if you are married and have children, your spouse and children will each receive a share. That means your spouse could receive only a fraction of your estate, which may not be enough to live on. If you have minor children, the court will control their inheritance. If both parents die (i.e., in a car accident), the court will appoint a guardian without knowing whom you would have chosen. You have a choice to handle these matters privately by your family and not the courts - IF you have a plan.
WHAT IS THE FIRST STEP?
Start with a will or living trust. Tony can help you determine exactly how to set up your will or trust. Schedule a time to get this important job done for your family and their future!