This week (October 20 – October 26) is Estate Planning Awareness Week. Taking steps to implement a proper estate plan during your lifetime will ensure that your wishes will be followed and that your family members will be able to effectively and efficiently administer your estate upon your death. Without an estate plan, your family could spend a significant amount of time and expense navigating the probate process after your death. In many cases it is possible to avoid probate with the proper advanced planning. Additionally, during your lifetime, if you become incapacitated, having properly-executed powers of attorney can obviate the need for a court-appointed guardian.
If you do not currently have an estate plan, now is the perfect time to begin this very important process. If you already have an estate plan, does it need to be updated? Major life changes, such as marriage, divorce, birth of a child or grandchild, sale of a business, as well as the passage of time (i.e., 3-5 years), warrant a comprehensive review of your current plan to make certain that the plan is consistent with current tax laws and your personal goals and objectives.