Estate Planning

Start the New Year Off Right by Protecting Your Loved Ones!

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Geoff Hoatson

Attorney / Principal

2014 has come and you likely made a few New Year’s Resolutions.  Perhaps you wanted to go to the gym more.  Perhaps you wanted to drink less soda.  While both are great goals, you should also make a resolution to your loved ones.  Specifically, you should make an estate plan if you fall into any of the categories below:

People with Children

National statistics show that 80% to 90% of parents with minor children do not have any estate plan, or even a basic will, in place.  They haven’t even given thought to who would be the legal guardian for their children should something happen to them.  Yet thousands of car accidents occur everyday and children are, unfortunately, orphaned.  If you don’t have a legal guardian designated for your children, a circuit judge will decide who gets to raise your children.  You will have no say in it because you will no longer be here.  Further, they will also decide who gets control of the money which you leave to your children.  It is very possible that the individual raising them may not be the best individual to have control over the money.  While you might know this, the judge would only find out after it was too late and the money was all spent.  You owe it to your children to have a plan in place to protect them, provide for them, and have them raised by the right person for them.

Married without Children

Many married couples without children are both working.  This means that with their combined incomes, they may be rapidly increasing their net worth.   This should be concerning because there are many ways in which everyday occurrences turn into liability, putting everything at risk.  It is important to take the proper steps to protect the assets you have and ensure that they are not at risk should you get in a car accident, commit professional malpractice, or have someone slip and fall at your house.  There a number of ways which you can ensure that you have protection in place which will extremely discourage litigators from attempting to sue you.  Knowing that you are insulated from this risk will provide you and your spouse with peace of mind, knowing that your life’s work is protected.

Married with No Minor Children

Your children have grown up and (hopefully) moved out as they begin lives and families of their own.  Now is when you can start to build real wealth.  It is important to work with an estate planning attorney and financial advisor to ensure that you’re making the most of available tax benefits and protecting that wealth from potential creditors and predators.  Things you are probably considering are: avoiding probate upon your passing, providing a legacy for your children and their children, and maintaining your standard of living as you retire.  With the right team helping, you are able to accomplish all these things.

Single without Children

This will be your year for love, don’t worry! 🙂  But in all seriousness, you may have certain charities or churches to which you would want to make donations upon your passing.   In this situation, there are very unique estate planning options available to you which will allow you to get tax breaks, pay you income, and still benefit the charity of your choosing. You also may have amassed property which you want protected from potential creditors or liabilities.

Contact our office today to set up a meeting where we can help you achieve that New Year’s Resolution of protecting your family and loved ones.

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Ensuring legal protection for you and your loved ones can be a challenging task, but we’re up to it! Contact us today, we’d love to hear from you.

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