By S. Eva Wolf
This week is National Estate Planning Awareness Week.
It is a common misconception that only the very wealthy need estate plans. This may explain why 55% of Americans do not have estate plans. However, the truth is that everyone needs an estate plan.
Estate plans help individuals and families transfer wealth in an orderly and tax-efficient manner to their loved ones and charitable organizations. Estate Plans also enable individuals to designate someone to take care of their minor children, manage their assets, and make health care and personal care decisions for them if they ever become unable to do so for themselves. If individuals and families fail to plan ahead, a court will make these important decisions for them.
A basic estate plan typically includes a will, revocable living trust, nominations of guardians of minor children, durable power of attorney, advance health care directive, nomination of conservators, and HIPAA/CMIA authorization. More advanced estate plans may include irrevocable trusts, family limited partnerships, and private foundations.
Estate plans need to be updated regularly to account for changes in family circumstances and state and federal law. Unfortunately, more than 120 million Americans have outdated estate plans.
If you are one of the many Americans without an estate plan or with an outdated estate plan, pick up the phone today to schedule an appointment with a qualified estate planning attorney.