Let’s be honest. No one likes to think of death. However, as Benjamin Franklin once said, death and taxes are the only things certain in this world. Let’s spend a little time talking about both of these topics.
While death is inevitable, most people do not have an estate plan in place. According to a recent Gallup Poll, only 44% of Americans have wills.
People delay getting wills for a variety of reasons. Some have concerns about the expense. Others assume a will is unnecessary because their estate may be modest. Most have good intentions to get it done; however, they’re just too busy living!
Here is something to consider: Having a will can save your estate thousands of dollars! Let’s look at four ways to protect your life-long work.
1. Strategic Tax Planning
Certainly, you want your estate to pass to your loved-ones, not Uncle Sam. However, if you die without a will, you could be looking at a tax rate on your estate as high as 40%! Getting a will would drastically reduce your estate’s tax liability and save big money.
2. Conflict Reduction
You’ve seen the movies where discussing (or arguing!) over the will is the main point of the film. If you are a part of a blended family or have cohabited with another person, this situation can especially be true. Conflict equals attorneys, and their fees are often paid out of the estate’s assets, reducing the amount of money that would otherwise go to loved ones. All of this can be avoided by having a well-drafted will with your instructions on how the estate will be administered and how you wish for your assets to be distributed.
3. Waiver of Administrative Costs
Not many people know that several of the administrative costs, normally required by law, can be waived in a will. Inventories and accountings of all your estate assets are valuable mechanisms to ensure the estate is properly administered; however, they can be expensive. As you are making your will, simply waiving inventory and accounting could also save your estate thousands of dollars!
4. Intestate Succession
Every state has laws that govern what happens to your property when you die without a will. These laws are called intestate succession, and they are very specific! They vary depending on the family’s makeup. The state may give your surviving spouse the entire estate, but if you have children, different stipulations come into effect. Depending on the age of the children and their interfamilial relationships (blended, under-aged or adult children), this can create additional complications for families, as well as (of course) additional costs. See a trend here?
So, Bottom Line? Get a Will!
When considering these potential issues, you can see why having an up-to-date will is so important. After all, do you really want to leave the government in charge of distributing your assets in the future? Do you think they’ll even come close to what you desire?
The best way to ensure that your estate is managed just as you wish it to be is with a properly-written will and the assistance from a Tennessee-based estate-planning attorney.
A plan for tomorrow allows for peace-of-mind today!