Happy Halloween everybody! Today's post is going to answer a question
that I get pretty often from folks these days, and will fit right in with
the Halloween theme.
"What is the scariest mistake [you] can make with your estate planning?"
The answer to this one is simple:
the scariest mistake you can make is to not have an estate plan at all. According to the AARP 2 out of 5 people in the US over the age of 45 don't
have a Will. That number gets even more staggering when you think about
all the folks under the age of 45 with kids who don't have one.
What is the result? Well, in Connecticut, your hard-earned life savings will be passed on
according to the Connecticut laws of intestacy, which I like to refer
to not-so-affectionately as the "Connecticut Estate Plan." Without
boring you with the details, this basically means that Connecticut will
determine who gets what you leave behind. Consequently, the probate court
will likely appoint an administrator who gets paid from your money to
distribute according to these laws. Your estate however big or small will
then be paying both the court and the administrator to handle the matter,
and your heirs will not necessarily have any right to assets including
those of sentimental value to them. Bottom line, the Connecticut Estate
Plan is impersonal, and is not for you if it matters to you and your loved
ones what happens to your estate after you pass away.
It gets worse: For those individuals with estates of $2MM or more (which includes the
death benefit on any life insurance policy you own even if neither you
nor your spouse are beneficiaries), you also get to pay taxes to Connecticut
if you don't do any planning. So looking at it another way, if you
don't plan, you will effectively make the State of Connecticut a beneficiary
of your estate!
So, if it is important to you that you avoid either paying unnecessary
costs to the probate courts and administrators, or if you want to avoid
making the State of Connecticut a beneficiary of your estate, you should
contact a Connecticut estate planning attorney to help you with this.
If you would like general information about Wills, living trusts, or other
estate planning tools, feel free to browse our website. If you want to
talk to a Connecticut estate planning attorney now,
click here for our contact information.