Avoiding Unnecessary Negatives is Key

Avoiding unnecessary negatives is at the heart of any good estate plan. What are the negatives to avoid? Guardianship, conservatorship, formal probate, family disputes, taxes, loss to in laws, loss to creditors, loss to indiscretions. All those negatives cost money and take time. Presumably, you have what you have because you worked hard and made sacrifices.

Why allow what you have acquired become lost to the above negatives? There is no reason to allow what you have to be lost or carelessly squandered. A good, up to date, flexible, properly funded estate plan will go a long way to protecting everything you have. The basic estate plan will have powers of attorney and we almost always use trusts to avoid many of the above negatives.

Plans and asset titling and beneficiary designations ought to be looked at closely and regularly. Imagine your estate is like that junk drawer in the kitchen…you know, the one where you keep a lot of stuff and is pretty disorganized. Every once in a while you rifle through the mess and find what you need. Well, with your estate plan, you do not need to have that uncertainty. In fact, planning for a degree of certainty in the midst of many uncertainties is what estate planning is all about. Keeping your assets in your family is another thing a good plan can help ensure.

Contributed by
Mark F. Winn, J.D., Master of Laws, LL.M. in Estate Planning, is a local tax, asset protection and estate planning attorney.