What is the scariest and most expensive estate planning mistake?

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.