If you are like many of our prospective clients, you probably wonder whether you really need an estate plan of your own. Some of the more common observations we hear include “estate planning is only for really rich people” or “I’m in great shape, I’ll do that when the time comes,” and even “I’m worried that if I make out a Will, I’ll die soon thereafter.” We understand: Most people don’t think of themselves as incredibly wealthy, and planning for the latter stages of life, together with thinking about what might happen to oneself or one’s family in the event of incapacity or death, is simply a topic most people do not want to address.
However, for the vast majority of families, having an estate plan—and having it prepared by attorneys who focus on this area of the law—is one of the most important and thoughtful decisions you can make. This is because your estate is not just a set of instructions to tell the government how to distribute property after you are gone. It is a way to ensure you maintain control over your affairs while you are alive and after you pass away. It can allow you to accomplish all of the following, depending upon your particular situation:
Protect your assets
Help you and your loved ones continue to enjoy your current lifestyle:
Ensure your minor children or special needs child will be well cared for after you are gone by people who share your values
Ensure your goals for the future, values and expectations are passed on to heirs
Dramatically lower income, gift, estate and generation-skipping taxes
Keep your affairs and those of your loved ones private
Guide your loved ones through the complicated probate and estate administration process
Ensure you will be well cared for if you become disabled or incapacitated
Given all that an estate plan can help you achieve, it is important to note that a well-drafted plan can also provide you with one of the greatest benefits of all, peace of mind. This is true whether your family is well-to-do or of more modest means. We have helped numerous individuals and families address their most pressing concerns and achieve their goals through proper estate planning. We welcome the opportunity to do the same for you and your loved ones.