I know New Year’s resolutions are cliché, but there are reasons that they persist in our minds as each new year rolls around. I think we all like the idea of a new beginning. A clean slate offers endless possibilities, and that’s an exciting prospect!
On the other hand, people are, by and large, expert procrastinators. We have a terrible habit of delaying things that we know we should do, but don’t necessarily consider to be urgent. At the same time, we also love to get things accomplished. So, the new year offers a wonderful opportunity to finish things we’ve been putting off.
One of our favorite things to put off is (you guessed it) estate planning! According to AARP, 78 percent of millennials (ages 18-36) and 64 percent of Gen-Xers (ages 37-52) do not have a will. That’s an astonishing percentage! Depending on the situation, implementing an estate plan may be of vital importance. Here are just a few issues in life which may require attention:
Do you have children? If so, without a will, while your spouse will inherit the first $50,000 from your probate estate, your spouse and children will split the rest, 50/50. Is that really what you want?
Are your children minors? Without a will, a judge could be deciding who raises your kids if something happened to you. Would you rather make that decision yourself? Without proper planning, your child’s inheritance could be rather complicated. Would you want your children receiving their entire inheritance at 18 years-old? Or would you rather have some control over what ages and amounts they receive it?
Do you own out-of-state real estate? Without estate planning, you will leave your family to undertake estate administration in two states. This could cost your family unnecessary time and money. Is that what you’d like to happen?
Could you owe unnecessary taxes? The federal estate tax exemption is a little over $11 million, and your estate could be taxed at 40% of anything over that sum. That’s a pretty large exemption, but did you know that New York’s exemption is only about $5.5 million? And if you’re over the exemption, you’re taxed ON THE WHOLE THING. Do you want to leave a tax bill around half a million dollars?
Each of our lives differs drastically from others. There’s no cookie-cutter approach to planning. So, if any of the above resonates with you, or reminds you of someone you care about, please reach out to learn more.
Don’t procrastinate any longer! Let's get this done!