Have you not yet created your estate plan? If so, you are hardly alone. In fact, despite recognizing the importance of having an estate plan in place, over half of all Americans do not have one. In the hope of motivating you to get your estate plan started though, the estate planning attorneys at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia share five reasons why you should start your estate plan today.
- You don’t want the State deciding what happens to your assets. One of the most basic reasons to create at least a basic estate plan is to prevent the State of New York from deciding what happens to your assets in the event of your death. The reality is that although the odds are good that you will live well into your 70s or beyond, there is no guarantee of that. If a tragic accident or terminal illness were to cause your death sooner, you don’t want to leave behind an intestate estate. Without regard to the size or value of your estate, the assets you do own are likely important to you. As such, you want to be the one to decide what happens to them. Without at least a Last Will and Testament, however, the state intestate succession laws will make those decisions for you.
- An estate plan also protects against incapacity. While the odds of your death at a younger age are very low, the odds of you experiencing a period of incapacity at any age are much higher than you may realize. If you were to become incapacitated tomorrow, and you had no estate plan in place, a judge may end up deciding who has the legal authority to make medical and personal decisions for you as well as who takes control of your assets during your period of incapacity.
- To protect your minor children you need to plan ahead. If you are the parent of a minor child, you need an estate plan in place to ensure that your child is provided for in the event something happens to you. Your minor child cannot inherit directly from your estate which makes it imperative that you have plans in place to protect your child’s inheritance. Typically, this means creating a trust to hold your child’s inheritance until he/she reaches adulthood.
- An estate plan can help your estate avoid probate. Yet another reason you want to avoid leaving behind an intestate estate is the fact that most assets from an intestate estate must go through the probate process. That means those assets will not be immediately accessible and available to the intended beneficiaries. If the assets were intended to help a spouse cover basic living expenses in the event of your unexpected death, this can create a serious problem as it could be months, even years, before the assets are finally released. Creating an estate plan, however, allows you to intentionally include probate avoidance tools and strategies in the plan to ensure that a spouse has immediate access to sufficient assets to cover expenses.
- Medicaid planning should start early. Your odds of needing long-term care go up with each passing year. The cost of that care is high. Unless you can easily afford to pay for LTC out of pocket, you will likely need to qualify for Medicaid because neither your basic health insurance coverage nor Medicare will likely be of any help. If you failed to plan ahead by including Medicaid planning in your overall estate plan, you will likely not be approved for Medicaid when you need it. Instead, you will be required to rely on your own retirement nest egg to cover LTC expenses until those assets have been depleted, at which Medicaid pay start helping. The only way around that is to include Medicaid planning in your estate plan well ahead of time.
Contact Estate Planning Attorneys
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have questions or concerns relating to estate planning, or you wish to get started on your estate plan today, contact the estate planning attorneys at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.