Establishing an estate plan is an exercise that each of us is going to have to tackle at some point in our lives. It becomes more important with every passing year as our assets and legacy grow. Creating an effective and ironclad estate plan is not an easy venture, as it must accomplish multiple things at once. You may have substantial assets, property, or monies that must be protected.
A proper estate plan accomplishes another important purpose: it alleviates stress from the hearts and minds of those left behind. Emotions can heighten when a loved one dies. Deciding who gets Grandma’s wedding china or what happens to Dad’s military memorabilia can be a stressful exercise without your wishes clearly defined.
A good estate plan solves all these issues and is a gift you give to those who survive you.
7 Things to Remember
As you consider starting or amending your estate plan, there are certain “best practices” to remember, no matter what state your estate is in.
1. Create a Formal Estate Plan
There are far too many people who trust their estate to verbal promises and reliance on their family’s better judgment or nature. While trust in loved ones isn’t inherently the issue an estate plan eliminates uncertainty.
2. Hire the Right Attorney
Morris Hall, PLLC has been operating for over 50 years, providing clients with peace of mind and customized solutions. The right attorney will ensure you are considering all options.
3. Make a Plan for Ongoing Care
Protecting your estate can also pertain to your assets while still living. Over 70% of Seniors over the age of 65 will require continued care, either in a nursing home or through at-home hospice care, before their death. The cost for this can range anywhere from $50,000-$100,000 a year. A properly created plan can help you mitigate those costs properly.
Ongoing care can also pertain to handicapped dependents, like special needs children. In your will or trust, you can protect these family members from losing essential government benefits that will ensure continuity of care for needs like dental, education, and insurance.
4. Be Sure to Factor In Taxes
An often-overlooked factor in the transference of an estate upon death is the federal and state taxes that are then levied against the beneficiaries. For wealthy clients, the estate tax may be a factor (for estates valued at over $11,700,000 in 2021). For most beneficiaries, however, there will be taxes on inherited IRAs and 401(k)s.
5. Don’t Forget Your Pets
Unfortunately, so many pets are overlooked as estate plans are being drawn up. The fate of these animals is to live out the rest of their lives in shelters, instead of being cared for by people who know and love them. Your estate planner will be able to help you quickly set up a trust for any furry or feathered friend, ensuring that they have what they need in terms of food, veterinary care, and living arrangements.
6. Plan for Your Digital Assets
Your will or trust should make provisions for any digital assets you might own, such as social media accounts, email addresses, and even monetarily dear assets like bank accounts or bitcoin holdings. When planning for these assets, it should be clear what should be deleted, deactivated, transferred, archived, or invested. As more and more of our lives are lived online, digital assets will only grow in importance.
7. Don’t “Set it and Forget it”
Morris Hall provides first-class support to clients in Arizona and New Mexico, and consistently sends reminders about reviewing their plans from time to time. Additionally, clients can rely on communication about changes in the law or other events that might affect what they currently have in place.
The attorneys at Morris Hall, PLLC can provide you confidence that your estate will be protected and your ones provided for. Your legacy is a gift only you can give, and we can make sure your wishes are honored before and after the end of your life.