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Why You Should Avoid Last-Minute Estate Planning

According to a 2014 survey cited by Forbes, fifty-one percent of Americans between the ages of 55 to 64 don’t have an estate plan. In many cases, people scramble to put together an estate plan in the face of a sudden health crisis. Other times, they wait until they are seriously ill or debilitated to plan. Both scenarios can lead to problems.

Creating or altering your estate plan at the last minute can cause interfamily conflict and disputes surrounding your estate. It’s not unusual for families to argue that a last-minute change was caused by undue influence, pressure, and manipulation from a particular family member. These can be costly and time-consuming disagreements that sometimes lead to litigation.

Of course, there are occasions when last-minute changes are necessary or unavoidable. In these situations, it’s important for an individual to work closely with an estate planning and probate lawyer. Here are a few reasons why a person may wish to change his or her will close to the time of death:

Beneficiary Designations

If the individual is remarried, he or she may have forgotten to update insurance forms and other documents to designate a new spouse as a beneficiary. It’s important to remove the ex-spouse’s name from these documents.

Taxes

There are many cases in which an estate’s assets are subject to tax. Minimizing tax consequences is a critical part of estate planning. Federal and state tax laws can also change from year to year. Depending on the size of the estate and the type of property the individual owns, it may be necessary to make important changes before the person passes away.

Spendthrift Relatives

In some situations, a child or other family who stands to inherit money is notorious for making bad decisions. In estate planning terms, these individuals are often referred to as “spendthrifts.” In these cases, a person may wish to make or modify documents that stop a beneficiary from spending unwisely.

Minnesota Estate Planning and Probate Law Firm

Call the Minnesota probate and estate planning attorneys at Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates, LLC today at (651) 968-1457 today to learn more and to discuss your options.

This website has been prepared by Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates, LLC for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.