We can help with that…
If Dad were to passed away, Mom may be feeling her own mortality. Certainly, if she has no estate plan, she will likely recognized the need to create one. That can be difficult reality check. Talk of drafting an estate plan may bring back painful emotions linked to the father's death. These feelings are natural.
Instead of the children pressuring Mom, they should point out some of the benefits an estate plan will can provide, such as how a trust will allow her to specify how her assets will be transferred at her death. This can include making bequests of family heirlooms to specific people or include charitable contributions. If there's no estate plan, Mom loses control of who, when and to whom her assets will go. Her assets will pass according to the intestate laws of the state.
Probating an estate without an estate plan can mean more time and money than an estate with a plan. The better estate plan in almost every case is a trust-based estate plan. Obviously, not having a plan leaves the heirs to contend with any unresolved family issues on top of their grieving the death of their mother.
Mom's proper planning will her to to minimize whatever estate taxes and inheritance taxes there might be. Especially significant in today's tax environment is an ability to avoid the income taxes your heirs would otherwise need to pay on their inheritance; something proper planning could certainly address. Obviously, this planning will allow more wealth to pass to Mom's heirs.
Parents can be quite uncomfortable talking about these issues with their children, so you might solicit the help of a close friend or other family members like an aunt or uncle to help bring up the subject. Many families find that an estate planning attorney can help facilitate the process. Be prepared for this to take some time. It may take several discussions to get things rolling.
As mentioned, we can be of enormous help in making this process less frightening and more empowering for all involved. Call today to schedule your complimentary consultation or register online for one of our workshops on this topic. We look forward to meeting you soon.
Reference: New Jersey 101.5 (April 7, 2016) "How to handle a parent not having a will"