Legal Matters: For 2022, Add Estate Planning To Your “To Do” List

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By Jack Dooley

The new year is a fresh start and a time to make resolutions. It’s also a perfect opportunity to think about the people, places, and causes that matter most to you.

While it’s natural not to want to think about our mortality, the process does not need to be somber. Estate planning and creating a Will is very altruistic, and it is something that every individual should do for their loved ones.

A common misconception is that “estate” equals mansions, large stock portfolios, and lavish possessions. Estate planning isn’t just for the rich and famous or the very old. Regardless of financial status or age, everyone can benefit from having an estate plan.

Your estate is essentially everything you own, including your home, other property, car, bank accounts, investments, insurance policies, furniture, and personal belongings. An estate plan allows you to designate how those things are given to the people or organizations you care about.

Simply put, estate planning is the process of organizing your affairs to ensure your surviving family members are taken care of when the time comes. It is a written record of your wishes and intentions. It indicates how you want your financial assets, property, and belongings distributed — and who will care for your children if they are minors.

The process is not complicated, and you can get started as soon as you are ready. Think about what you own, your cherished belongings, and seek counsel from an experienced attorney to draft a Will and other necessary legal documents that address end-of-life considerations.

For most individuals, there is no need to be overly concerned about death taxes or complicated trusts. Still, an attorney will work with you to create an appropriate estate plan customized to your needs, financial affairs, and family situation.

It’s important you make these decisions and designations while you are alive and well. In the absence of a Will or estate plan, state law controls the disposition of your assets.  Generally, if not survived by a spouse, assets will pass to children equally which may seem acceptable, but the law does not take into account special circumstances (e.g. disability, dependency, trust for minors, etc.). 

Additionally, if not structured clearly in a Will, complex probate matters can arise resulting in unnecessary costs, delays, and even litigation.

If you have an estate plan, but it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed it, remember that it is only comforting if you keep it current. It is essential to regularly review your plan — especially after significant life changes, like marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child, inheriting money, or even moving to another state where estate laws differ from the one where you drew up your current Will.

Be sure to keep an eye on changes in tax laws or other financial legislation as well. If your estate plan is out-of-date, your loved ones could encounter some of the problems you worked so hard to avoid.

The Wills, Trusts, and Estates Team at Dischell Bartle Dooley can help you create or update your estate plan today. DBD combines intricate knowledge and experience with thoughtful and adept execution from tax planning and medical directives, to legal documentation, and probate administration. 

You’ve provided for your loved ones your whole life. Now is the time to ensure your wishes are carried out as you intend. For more information, contact us online or call 215.362.2474.

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Jack Dooley
Jack Dooley.

About Jack:

.Jack Dooley represents individuals, municipalities, and businesses.

He does extensive work in estate planning and administration providing his clients assurance that their wishes will be fulfilled and that their estates will pass on through generations.

Jack believes that the law goes far beyond technical legal matters. His goal is to make the law work for the people and companies he represents because results matter to Jack.

His approach to law provides clients with a top-tier legal analyses combined with a thoughtful and caring approach in order to fully understand his clients’ positions, needs and goals.

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