As many people grow older, they seem to lose track of time when it comes to estate planning and creating a will. Too often, children are left trying to create a will for their parents after they've lost the ability to make legal decisions themselves. Aside from spending much money to establish conservatorship, nothing can legally be done to plan the estate of someone who's lost their mental capacity.
Rather than putting off estate planning, why not settle that issue right away? Here are some basic legal facts you should know when going into the estate planning process.
Don't make your family go through probate. If you don't plan for the allocation of your assets, your children will have to endure a lengthy and costly probate process to inherit any of your estate. You may be reluctant to incur the fees of creating a will right now, but your children, spouse, or grandchildren will incur much more costs to settle your estate after you're gone. Probate can be easily avoided by planning your estate now.
If you own property, you need an estate plan. Estate planning isn't difficult. In fact, in its basic form, an estate plan is a written set of documents stating one's wishes for the distribution of his/her property after death. Property includes everything you own—real estate, securities, monies, home(s), and any tangible items you possess. If you possess any property (even if it doesn't seem much), you would benefit from having an estate plan.
What keeps people from estate planning? Procrastination, busyness, bad planning, lack of funds—all these issues can keep people from properly planning for the distribution of their estate. Many excuses seem like good reasons, yet when it comes to estate planning, no excuse will help when family is forced to endure legal battles to settle an unplanned estate. What's your excuse for not planning your estate?
Don't wait. If you wait until dementia incapacitates you or a member of your family, you won't legal be allowed to create a legal document such as a will or trust. Don't wait until estate planning can't happen. Begin now by speaking with an attorney or making a list of all your assets.
Be proactive. Think not only of yourself and your estate but of your family who will be forced to deal with your estate if you fail to legally plan for its distribution. Don't put your family through that battle, but give them the gift of peace of mind, knowing your estate is already settled.
Antelope Valley estate planning law firm Thompson Von Tungeln (TVT) offers sophisticated estate planning and administration for the affluent, discriminating client. As Board Certified Specialists in Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate as certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, partners Mark E. Thompson and Kevin L. Von Tungeln are expertly equipped to serve these clients with the creative, effective and custom solutions they demand. For more information, contact TVT at (661) 426-2499 or visit their website at www.EstatePlanningSpecialists.com.