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You’ve Got a Will. Can Your Loved Ones Find It?

Estate planningWhy do so many Americans die without telling their loved ones where to find their wills or how their estates will be divided and most importantly, why it was left that way.

It’s important to implement and communicate an estate planning strategy in a way that prevents conflict and promotes harmony. Family dynamics are becoming more complex, so the potential for conflict after a death is on the rise.

A recent survey of 1,008 Americans 18 and older, found that 52% of all respondents didn’t yet have a will. This figure rose to 56% among those between 35 and 54. Of married adults who had a will and/or powers of attorney, 25% said only their spouse knew where the documents were kept.

Many issues, challenges, and potential family conflicts can be avoided, when an estate plan and will are in place. A person who passes away in the U.S. without a will may have his or her estate controlled by state intestacy laws. That will determine who will receive assets from the estate.

The survey also found that 40% of parents had never discussed their estate plans with their kids. Just 28% of all adults said they knew about their parents’ wills or estate distribution plans.  A total of 40% of the survey’s respondents said the distribution of their parents’ estates was unfair.

The survey noted that an estate plan with an up-to-date will and open conversations with the will’s executor and heirs were important to achieving estate planning goals. A will and estate plan should always be reviewed when any of these occur:

  • Marital status changes
  • Birth of children and grandchildren
  • Purchase of life insurance
  • Retirement
  • Receipt of an inheritance
  • Health changes

Estate plans should have a focus on taxes to help with a fair after-tax distribution and minimize the tax liability.  We can help you with that. Call us at 757-259-0707 register on-line for your complimentary consultation.

Reference: ThinkAdvisor (April 6, 2017) “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way — if Loved Ones Can Find It”

 

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