When you hear the term "estate planning," it probably conjures images of stately mansions, a stable of high-priced German cars and people who are waited upon by butlers. But this image of estate planning is completely wrong. The truth is, everyone should have some sort of plan in place, regardless of age and wealth. That's because estate plans cover a whole lot more than what to do with your stuff in the event of your death. A comprehensive estate plan can make preparations for what will happen if you become disabled as well.
That's why it's important to start thinking about it sooner than later. When you do decide to start the process, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Always make sure your will is up-to-date and includes your latest wishes, especially after major life changes like divorce, the death of a loved one, acquiring new personal property and the birth of a child.
- As we touched on before, planning for a disability is of utmost importance. Many people fail to do this and it can cause untold grief for family members and friends.
- Consider the tax implication of everything in your estate plan. Giving someone your house is a wonderful gesture, but keep in mind that gifting anything over $13,000 means the recipient will be left with a tax bill for it.
Of course, many of these mistakes can be avoided by hiring an Elder Law attorney. He or she can help guide you through the pitfalls and make sure your wishes are carried out perfectly.