Six Good Reasons Why Estate Planning is Important for Everyone

More likely than not, you have upgraded your cars, computers and cell phones several times since the turn of the century. The law has changed considerably over the past seventeen years, have you updated your estate plan lately? Keep up with the changing times and let us provide you with a free review your current estate plan to see if it has kept up with changes in the law and your lifestyle.

  1. You can’t take it with you, but you can decide where it goes: Everyone has an Estate Plan. It is either the one you have created for yourself and your family or the one the state government creates for you. In our experience the government’s default plan is not going toget the assests you want to your intended beneficiaries in the manner you want it done. Callus today to schedule an appointment to ensure that your estate passes to your intended beneficiaries.
  2. Avoid Probate: A common estate planning misperception is that only estates without a Will must handled through the Courts. Having a Will is far better than dying intestate(without a Will) but it does NOT avoid probate. All Wills must go through probate in order for any assets controlled by the Will to pass to their intended beneficiaires. Avoiding probate will simplify your estate, reduce costs and get assets to your beneficiaries more quickly. Avoiding probate also reduces the risk of litigation. Periodically our firm offers client workshops outlining the probate process and steps you can take to avoid probate, including the use of revocable trusts, if desired. Contact us today to sign up for our next Probate Avoidance Workshop.
  3. Protect against the Escalating Costs of Long Term Care: The of cost long term care, most of which is not covered by health insurance or Medicare, can wipe out a lifetime of savings in a very short time. If properly planned for the cost of long term care can be reduced and your hard earned assets can be preserved for your family. To be most effective a long term care plan should be done well in advance of any actual need for care. Call today to schedule a consultation to discuss your options for long term care planning.
  4. Provide for a Loved One with Special Needs: Often there is a spouse, child, sibling, aging parent or other loved one who is physically, or mentally disabled. Disability can begin at birth or it can be brought on by illness, injury or substance abuse. Individuals with disabilities may be entitled to public benefits under certain cirumstances. Most of these benefits are only available to those with very minimal assets and income. A non-structured inheritance often disqualifies a disabled person from receiving government benefits necessary for extended care. Contact us today to sign up for our next Special Needs Planning Workshop.
  5. Tax Planning: If you have previously done estate planning but are no longer subject to state or federal estate tax, you should come in and have your existing plan reviewed to ensure that you are taking advantage of the full step up in basis so your heirs won’t pay any unnecessary capital gains taxes after your death.

If you are contemplating the sale of highly appreciated assets and are concerned about taking steps to mitigate capital gains, there are both charitable and non-charitable options to consider which may either defer or reduce your exposure to capital gains.

New York State residents with estates in excess of $5,250,000 are currently subject to State death taxes with a top marginal rate of 16% and U.S. Citizens and or residents are currently subject to federal estate taxes if their estates exceed $5,490,000 at a top marginal rate of 40%. With proper planning you can significantly reduce your exposure to estate taxation. If you have a tax issue you would like to discuss call to schedule a consultation today.