Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Estate Planning - What you don't know can hurt you!

Lynn A. Dean
Estate Planning Attorney
People tend to think estate planning is only for the elderly or for those who have accumulated wealth and assets.  This is far from the truth.  Take for example, a young couple with two young children where the parents are unexpectedly involved in a fatality.   They have no estate planning documents.  During a time of great tragedy, difficult decisions will need to be made but without any guidance.  Here are some outcomes: 
  1. LACK OF DIRECTION: If there are no advanced health care directives to tell the survivors their funeral wishes or whether they wanted to be organ donors, the family will have to make all the decisions in a time of crisis.
  2. UNCERTAINLY: If there is no designation of a guardian for the children, the person who gets to court first tells the judge who to pick.  There may be disputes within the family about this.   
  3. EXPENSE: Each parent’s estate will have to go through Probate doubling the expenses associated with probate costs. The children will require guardians. This is also a legal process done through the court system. Any monies left by the parents will go to the children, as a result of laws of intestate (without a will) succession.  The assets will be set aside for the children in blocked accounts, until the children turn 18. In order to access the funds for them, the guardians will need a court order (another legal process).

The purpose of Estate Planning is to provide a smooth, efficient and correct transition of an estate, big or small, at any age.  Take the time to plan and protect your family and your assets by contacting The Law Office of Lynn A. Dean.

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