When it comes to estate planning, many people think of only one legal tool: wills. While it is true that a last will and testament can be an important part of your plan for your legacy, a will is far from the only document that most people need to create in order to prepare for the end of their life and for what happens after they pass on.
If you create only a will and you do it on your own, you could be putting assets in jeopardy and could be missing out on important tools that help to protect you and the people that you love.
Rather than just making wills, anyone who is creating an estate plan should talk with an experienced attorney to find out what tools will best create the strong legacy that they are hoping for. Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates can provide help with the planning process and can help you to better understand why a simple will is so often insufficient.
5 Reasons Why Wills Aren’t Sufficient as an Estate Plan
There are many reasons why good estate plans go beyond just wills. Five key reasons why a will isn’t sufficient include the following:
- A will doesn’t protect assets: You need to ensure that you are keeping your wealth safe from losses at the end of your life that could be caused by high long-term care bills. You may also want to try to protect your wealth from various sources of loss after your death, such as irresponsible heirs. Other tools can help to keep assets safe, but a will won’t.
- A will doesn’t address end of life issues: Making a will does not protect your family from being forced to make difficult choices about your care in a medical emergency. You could get care you don’t want, or be deprived of care you would prefer to get, if you don’t create advanced directives. The court could also be forced to appoint someone to manage your assets and make decisions on your behalf if you haven’t made a plan for end-of-life issues.
- A will does not help you to avoid estate taxes: If your estate is large enough that it is going to be subject to estate tax, a will is not going to do anything to help you reduce or avoid taxes. A lot of money could be lost to the government, which your heirs or beneficiaries could likely have kept if you’d created a more strategic estate plan.
- A will doesn’t allow for a fast transfer of assets: The probate process can take months and months. If your heirs or beneficiaries were counting on an inheritance or if you have assets that could decline in value if not transferred quickly to new owners, a will is usually not the best tool to use. You’ll want to consider trust creation or other options like pay-on-death accounts and joint title which usually make the transfer of assets much quicker.
- A will can be more easily contested than other estate planning tools: If you are worried about your wishes being challenged, trusts and other estate planning tools can be harder to successfully contest.
Depending upon your specific situation, there may also be many other reasons why a will isn’t going to be sufficient for you to protect assets and heirs. For example, if you want to leave money to a child who is under 18, simply leaving the assets to the child in the will is going to create a host of problems including the potential that the court will have to appoint a guardian to manage the funds and the possibility that the child will inherit a large sum of money with no strings attached as soon as he or she turns 18. There are also problems with leaving an inheritance to a spendthrift heir or heir with special needs who is receiving government benefits. None of those issues can be specifically addressed in a will.
Getting Help from A Connecticut Estate Planning Lawyer
A Connecticut estate planning lawyer at Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates can help you to use trusts, powers of attorney, and a variety of other legal tools that are available for the protection of your family, assets, and legacy.
To find out more about some of the components that you may wish to include in your estate plan, download our free estate planning worksheet. You can also give us a call at 860-548-1000 or contact us online for personalized assistance from an attorney who can help you to accomplish your goals. Our legal team can not only helps to create wills, but we will guide you through creating all of the legal documents that will allow you to leave your mark on the world. Call now to find out more.