Here?s Why You Need an Estate Plan

No matter what line of work you are in, estate planning has facets that apply to everyone, and it comes down to documenting wishes and avoiding probate and unnecessary taxes. Too many people put it off, but, in general, the sooner you do it, the better.

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why you need an estate plan
Estate planning is a critical part of the retirement planning process. As we kick off the new year, this is a perfect time to ensure that your plan is up to date.
Things change over time. That includes our lives, our family, and even the laws that apply to estates. This means the wills, trusts, and other estate documents that protect our families and secure our legacies may need to change, too.
With that in mind, we’re thrilled to have Keith McManus, attorney at McManus Estate Planning, back on the podcast. In our conversation, we discussed the downside of not reviewing and updating your estate plan, different ways to protect your biggest asset such as the family home, and the pros and cons of life estates and much more.
In this podcast discussion, you’ll learn: 
  • Reasons why a “set it and forget it” strategy can put your estate at risk.
  • How to take advantage of incredible opportunities before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act sunsets in 2025.
  • Why you may want to prepare estate plans to protect young adult children, even if they haven’t accumulated much wealth yet.
  • What it means to create a life estate–and the potential risks and benefits of this approach to retirement.
  • Why there’s no such thing as a cure-all trust–and how this makes estate planning more important than ever.
  • Why you never want to rely on a will as the backbone of your estate plan.

You don’t need to be wealthy to do estate planning.? It?s always the right time to plan your estate in advance, but it?s most critical when you have beneficiaries who are minors or with special needs, says the Capital Press in the recent article, ?Ag Finance: Why you need to do estate planning.?

Estate planning will provide value to your loved ones after you have died, no matter their age.? Mature, adult children can often work through the expensive and time-consuming probate court process without a proper estate plan, but it takes a toll.? Minor young children should have protections in place in the form of a proper estate plan.? If a family is relying only on a Will, the probate estate might go to children when they reach the age of eighteen, but without important legal protections or guidance on how to use the inheritance.? ?Trusts are a solution for most every estate, even for modest estates.? Trusts can further help by directing that inherited property will be held for minors and young adults until a set age, like 25 or 30.

Probate is the default, court-based process to administer an estate in Massachusetts after someone?s death.? Wills are subject to probate court proceedings.? Probate also gives creditors a chance to present claims for money owed to them. Distribution of assets will occur only after all proper notices have been issued, and all outstanding bills have been paid.? It’s an entirely avoidable process.

When a person does not have a properly drafted, funded Trust, probate is often the only alternative, and it is expensive.? Talk to Attorney McManus about your specific options for establishing a trust.? Most trusts can be amended or revoked at any time, if circumstances change.

Reference: Capital Press (December 20, 2018) ?Ag Finance: Why you need to do estate planning?