Don't let fear and emotions prevent estate planning

On behalf of Scaringi Law posted in Estate Planning on Wednesday, November 30, 2016.

Between the fear of tempting fate and the emotions that surround death, many Pennsylvania residents avoid taking the steps needed in order to distribute their assets and provide for family after they pass away. Without estate planning, the probate process becomes more complicated. Surviving family members could end up spending additional time and financial resources settling a loved one's estate. Even basic planning could make the process easier.

When an individual dies without an estate plan, Pennsylvania law determines who will inherit his or her property, which might not be the person or persons the individual intended. Moreover, the turmoil could strain, or break, some familial relationships. In addition, issues such as taxes could diminish the estate to the point where distributions to heirs and beneficiaries will not have the same benefit as they could have with proper planning.

Waiting until an adverse health event occurs could end up over complicating an estate plan because the individual is over compensating for not planning earlier. Fear and emotion might drive the planning, which means that mistakes can easily be made. Complicated plans could also cause strife among heirs and beneficiaries and result in higher taxes.

It would more than likely be more advantageous to conduct estate planning during a period of calm when health concerns and other distractions are at a minimum. Estate plans do not have to be complicated in order to be effective and meet an individual's goals. A simple plan that provides for surviving family members, reduces -- or eliminates -- taxes and adequately expresses his or her wishes is all that is needed.

Source: CNBC, "Overcomplicating an estate plan can really hurt", Bijan Golkar, Nov. 21, 2016


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