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Farm Transition and Succession

Is your family farm ready to transition to the next generation? Is farm succession on the horizon? Farming families often need much more than basic estate planning. Lora Lee has experience in helping farm families engage in these conversations with each other and make the decisions they need to protect their family's future and assets. Make an appointment today for more information!

Check Estate Planning off the
To-Do List

Have you been putting off the important task of estate planning? Do you have concerns about asset protection? It is easy for estate planning and future planning to become a "backburner" chore. Nevertheless, planning for our future and your family's future is imperative. Lora Lee tries to ease the burden of estate planning by talking with you about your goals so you can put a comprehensive plan in place. Often a Last Will and Testament is the tool clients commonly think about to facilitate planning needs. Yet, many clients are unaware of the parameters of their probatable estate. There are many valuable tools for estate planning and asset protection beyond the commonly thought of documents. Follow along here in the coming weeks for a more in-depth discussion of estate planning concepts or, better yet, make an appointment today with Lora Lee.

Procrastination

You do it. I do it. We all do it. We procrastinate; we find a reason to dodge undesirable tasks, even the important ones.

Estate planning is an undesirable task for many clients. Why?

“It is uncomfortable.” It causes clients to think about the inevitable matter they would truly rather avoid discussing: death. There is an old adage that claims two things are for certain “death and taxes”. But estate planning does not have to be a grim experience. Afterall, what could provide more satisfaction than the reassurance of knowing your family is taken care of when it matters the most?

“It is overwhelming.” Many clients want to plan for the future, but they get bogged down on where to begin the process. But here are four questions to ask yourself as a starting point:

1. What are the nature of your assets?

2. Who are you heirs?

3. What are your goals and desires specific to asset transfer or disposition?

4. Who do you trust to make important decisions when you cannot?

“It costs too much.” Estate planning is certainly cheaper than the alternative.

What if you need nursing home care and you have not taken steps toward asset protection?

What if you are in an accident and have not prepared a living will?

What if you do not appoint a medical and financial power of attorney and your family is faced with the tedious task of pursuing a guardianship?

What if you die without an estate plan?

Procrastination is costly.

What is causing you to procrastinate?

 

Contact Lora Lee and talk through your concerns. She can put together a roadmap for you that makes you comfortable, does not overwhelm you, and avoids the costs of procrastination. She can help you understand how to evaluate your family dynamic and have those difficult conversations in order to achieve your goals. Do not procrastinate with your estate plan.

Estate Planning for Millennials?

If you were born between 1980 and 2000, you are still too young to have to worry about estate planning… right? If only life were so predictable.

 

When you are in the budding stages of a career, starting a family, or enjoying your freedom as a young adult, it can be easy to shrug off things liking drafting a will. In your mind, you have plenty of time to sort it out. Why spend your hard-earned money on something that you almost certainly will not need, when you have bills to pay, children to raise, and vacations to take? Well, there are two really good reasons you need to “get your affairs in order.”

 

First, you do not know that you will have the chance to make plans in the future.

 

If 2020 taught us anything, it is that life is fragile. And despite that, nearly two-thirds of Americans still don’t have a will or estate planning documents![1] Yet last year we saw a surge of young Americans who felt the need to get a will in response to COVID. In 2020, only 16% of Americans ages 18-34 said they have a will or another estate planning document. In 2021, that percentage rose by 9 points – an increase of 63% in just one year.[2]

 

The second reason millennials should engage in estate planning is because it can save your family time, money, and energy.

 

When you die without a will, you die “intestate.” That means that your estate must pass through a series of legal steps before it can be distributed and settled. In these cases, your estate gets passed out to various members of your family according to the laws where you live. While that sometimes works out, the more likely scenario is it only partially fulfills your desires.

 

So how does having a will make things easier? First, you can structure your estate so that portions of it do not pass through the probate process – it transfers automatically. Second, having a properly structured will makes probate quicker and more efficient. Finally, by making your wishes clear you can avoid unnecessary disagreements that might arise between your loved ones that might arise after you pass.

 

Perhaps you’re thinking that you might need help with your estate? Lora Lee has a wide range of experience when it comes to estate planning. Contact her today and make a plan for yourself and your children; even better, bring your parents along and let’s assist them with their estate planning needs also.

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/05/op-ed-more-people-are-creating-wills-amid-the-pandemic.html

[2] https://www.caring.com/caregivers/estate-planning/wills-survey/

The Importance of Planning Early

"Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now." - Alan Lakein, American Author and Time Mangemet Expert

 

We plan to go on vacation. We plan for a night out with friends. But when it comes to planning for how we will be taken care of as we advance in age, many of us prefer not to think about it, believing it will somehow all work out. Unfortunately, when it comes to long term care planning and estate planning, those who fail to plan are clearly the ones who risk losing the most. Consider two scenarios below that contrast the different outcomes of planning early versus choosing the "wait and see" approach.

 

Hank is 72 and his wife Ellen is 69. They have been retired for several years and have started traveling a few times a year to visit their children and grandchildren who live in nearby states. During a recent visit, their oldest child asked them whether they had made any plans in the event one of them got sick or if they had an estate plan. Hank and Ellen had not thought much about this since they were both in good health, but they agreed to see an attorney when they returned home.

Hank and Ellen own a home they have lived in since they married 45 years ago. They have checking, savings, and CD accounts. They have a few investments as well. They have both worked most of their adult lives, carefully watching their expenses and never spending money on extravagant items they didn't feel they needed. They both receive income each month from social security as well as retirement income.

 

Scenario #1 - Hank and Ellen Plan Ahead

 

Hank and Ellen consulted an attorney. In addition to creating a comprehensive estate plan which included wills, living wills, medical and financial power of attorney documents, and funeral declarations, they also learned they could plan now to avoid running out of money in the future should they need long term care either at home or in a facility. They developed a plan with their attorney that included an irrevocable trust.

Six years later, Hank had a stoke and needed long term care. Ellen was incredibly relieved to know that because she had a plan in place, she could focus on Hank and his care. Their children were grateful for this piece of mind as well.

 

Scenario #2 - Hank and Ellen do not Plan Ahead

 

Hank and Ellen never consulted an attorney. When Hank had his stroke it impacted his competency and he was no longer able to execute estate planning documents or documents that would give Ellen certain powers to manage his financial and personal decisions. The family endured a lengthy guardianship proceeding. Most of their assets had to be used to pay for Hank's care, which was stressful for both Ellen and her children. Furthermore, no planning has been done for Ellen and if her health fails, further burdens will fall on the children.

 

Conclusion

 

The scenarios above highlight the importance of planning early. Doing so has financial benefits and reduces stress on the family. Lora Lee would be honored to assist with your estate planning needs. Contact her today!

Are you considering estate planning? The harsh reality is that if you want to control what happens to your assets after you die, you should follow your instinct and “get a will”. Better yet, have a conversation with an attorney about comprehensive estate planning.

 

But back to the basics. A will includes how you want your assets divided after you die. You decide what you want your will to say with help from your attorney to guide you. For example, you could plan to leave all of your assets to your spouse or divide them among your family members. You could even give money to grandchildren and put it in a trust until they are old enough to receive the money and use it wisely. Although you may want to avoid getting a will because of your perception of how costly the process is, effective estate planning can help to prevent or lessen the likelihood of family controversy and make it easier for your family to grieve without having to worry about taking care of your affairs. Therefore, it would be worth the cost in the long run to have an estate plan. If you were to die without a will, an intestate statute or court would decide how your assets are to be split.

 

If you already have a will, be sure to review it periodically to make sure you do not want to make any changes. Be sure someone knows where you original will is kept. Also, along with a will, you should write a letter of instruction, handling matter not mentioned in the will. A letter of instruction is important in case your family members do not know about your will or are not aware of your intentions. The letter might include: names of attorneys, important documents, inventory of assets and debts, account pins and passwords, burial or funeral instructions, explanations or instructions regarding other financial accounts, debts, special instructions on how to operate properties, personal wishes, or special messages to individuals.

 

A will is often what people think of for estate planning, but reach out to Lora Lee to learn more about comprehensive estate planning. You may need more than the basics.

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