PART 1: WHO SHOULD HAVE AN ESTATE PLAN?
ESTATE PLANNING: WHO, WHEN AND WHY?
First things first. A brief thought exercise to grab your attention. (Only the courageous should read on.)
We want you to consider how much time you spent planning your last trip. Now, consider the time you invested in choosing and purchasing your current car, or even just the time you spent picking out your latest smart phone or computer. Indulge us by simply considering the time and planning you routinely put into the most mundane of transactions, on a daily basis.
Now consider the time you have set aside for planning some of the most important life decisions. How much time have you spent thinking about how you will be taken care of if you can’t care for yourself? How much time have you spent thinking about what will happen to your loved ones after your life has come to an end? For some people, these are scary questions that they never want to be bothered with. For others, they know they need to address these questions one day– but just not yet. And the result is, most don’t even spend a minute thinking about some of the most pressing concerns of their lives.
Pretty remarkable, isn’t it?
In fact, it’s not uncommon for some people to spend more time choosing what they will eat for lunch than choosing something as important as who their healthcare power of attorney will be when the times comes. Or, who will care for their children if they aren’t around or simply cannot do it themselves?
With that said…
The holidays are upon us. A time when we spend time with the family. A time when we slow down to reflect on the year, and perhaps plan for the future. A time when we can ask some questions and begin planning.
PART 1: WHO NEEDS ESTATE PLANNING?
The greatest misconception we see when we speak with people about estate planning is the belief that estate planning is useful only for the elderly, the ill, or the well-to-do. This is just flat-out wrong. Not only is it wrong, but this misconception is potentially harmful to so many people.
Estate planning is for almost everyone, whether healthy or sick. Whether old or young. Whether you have a modest bank account or a hefty estate. Almost everyone has some kind of estate planning need.
How is that so?
Estate planning doesn’t only address the distribution of assets, as many believe. The distribution of assets is merely a small fraction of its purpose.
When done the right way, estate planning also works to avoid future pitfalls regarding healthcare decisions, incapacity management, probate costs, child care and guardianship, privacy, end-of-life wishes, family cohesion, and so much more. When done correctly, estate planning can also be the best way to protect assets from creditors.
The reality is, nearly everyone should have some kind of an estate plan in place. It’s the right thing to do.
—->Coming soon, we will be discussing when estate planning should be considered, as well as when estate plans should be reviewed.
By: Bobby Kouretchian and Alejandra Garcia
Mr. Kouretchian provides strategic counseling and customized legal service to individuals, families, entrepreneurs, estates and businesses in the areas of estate planning (wills and trusts), corporate law (formation, governance, finance), contract law, and trademarks.