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Survey exposes misconceptions about estate planning

The CNBC survey found that more than a third (38 percent to be exact) of families with significant assets did not have an estate plan in place. Why is this? In part, it is because even successful and business savvy individuals can conflate estate planning with tax planning.

Federal estate-tax exemptions currently stand at $5.43 million for individuals or $10.86 million for couples. Colorado does not levy its own estate tax. Estate planning, however, is really about more than the size of your estate. Even if your estate may not be subject to taxes, important reasons exist to have a comprehensive estate plan. 

3 reasons to have an estate planning conversation

First, any family with young children needs to, at a minimum, have a last will and testament that names a guardian for their children. Failure to take this important step could mean a court decides who will care for your children after a tragedy. In addition, a trust can protect and provide for a child or children by naming a trustee who will manage property and assets.

Second, longer life expectancies mean more individuals may need long-term care at some point. Expenses related to assisted living or nursing care can deplete an estate quickly. Discussing available resources and having a plan for disability allows you more control and makes sure loved ones know your wishes.

Third and lastly, if something completely unforeseen occurs and you are incapacitated, you need medical advance directives in place. These documents, such as a Living Will and a Medical Durable Power of Attorney, designate who will make tough decisions on your behalf. Without these documents, the court may have to appoint a guardian and disputes between your loved ones could arise.

To begin an estate planning conversation it is as easy as contacting our office to schedule an appointment.

Source: CNBC, “Wealthy suffer from ‘estate-planning fatigue,’” Shelly Schwartz, June 29, 2015

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