• Estate Planning: Are You Ready?

Linda T. Cammuso

The third week of October was officially declared National Estate Planning Awareness Week in 2008. The House bill was co-sponsored by the National Association of Estate Planners and Council (NAEPC). In 2015 those dates fall between October 19 and the 25th.

As leaders in the estate and financial fields, NAECP has identified the challenges that Americans face when it comes to savings, investing and planning for their futures.  The challenges include:

  • The majority of Americans over 65 are totally dependent on their Social Security checks.
  • It is estimated that over 120 million Americans do not have an up-to-date estate plan to protect themselves and their families, making estate planning one of the most overlooked areas of personal financial management.
  • The majority of Americans lack the ability to adequately plan for their retirement.
  • Many people mistakenly believe that since they aren’t “rich” they don’t need to do any financial and estate planning at all.

Proper Estate planning is vital to helping you avoid the loss of control over the disposition of your assets during life and upon death.  Importantly, it focuses on preserving your wealth and prosperity as well creating a legacy for your heirs. Estate planning coupled with asset protection planning allows you to:

–          Preserve and protect assets during your life including your home, investments and lifestyle

–          Maximize your estate by reducing taxes and other expenses

–          Direct the disposition of your assets following death

–          Protect your assets from third party threats, including lawsuits/judgment creditors

–          Protect the inheritances of your loved ones from frivolous spending, divorce, bankruptcy and other financial threats

Contrary to popular opinion you do not need to be wealthy to do an estate plan: it is a necessary step for everyone.  The key to effective estate and asset protection planning is to plan now before you face a crisis. Estate planning charts a direction for you in the event you deal with issues such as incapacity, long-term care needs or caring for special needs or other vulnerable loved ones.

Are you ready? If you do not have a plan, there is no time like now to contact an attorney. Since estate planning and asset protection planning are highly complex, be sure to work with an attorney who is skilled in those practice areas.

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