National Estate Planning Awareness Week (H. Res. 1499) was adopted on September 27, 2008 to help consumers understand estate planning. Generally speaking, there are only two important questions when it comes to determining if you need an estate plan: (1) Do you own your home? and/or; (2) Do you have minor children? If your answer is yes to either question, it is essential to begin thinking about your estate plan. At Lowenthal APC, we believe in simplicity and transparency for all of our clients’ legal needs. Estate planning is essential if you would like to appoint guardianship for your minor children, set forth how your estate will be distributed and to mitigate taxes presently and in the future. If your estate is valued at $150,000 or more and your assets are not in a trust, your property will go through an expensive and messy process known as probate. Messiness after your death (or in the event of your incapacity) means the people you love the most will be stuck cleaning things up, going to Probate Court, struggling to get a handle on things, and taking time away from their lives and impact in the world to do so. Let’s stop for a minute here together and imagine who would take care of your things if something happens to you. Would it be your parents? A sibling? Your spouse? Your children? What would be the impact on their life of having to go to Court to get access to your assets, of having to figure things out because you didn’t leave clear guidance or instructions? Are you making decisions now by doing nothing that could lead to significant family conflict for the long-term? It’s quite common. Even among people who think they have nothing, it could cost a family hours upon hours of time and thousands in Court costs and legal fees simply to get access to an apartment, bank account and a car so it can be handled properly. If you have more than that, it becomes even more onerous.
If you want to make sure your family isn’t left with a disaster, we’d like to invite you to contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our estate planning lawyers.