Why is it so important to just sit down and make an estate plan?
Mullen & Guttman PLLC was voted Best Law Firm in our Best of Edina 2019 readers’ choice survey. Hellmuth & Johnson was named runner-up.
Summer is a time for family adventures and vacations. Estate planning isn’t necessarily at the top of the to-do list. But two local lawyers insist it’s worth thinking about.
EDM: Why is it so important to just sit down and make an estate plan?
Rachel Dahl, a partner with Hellmuth & Johnson: One of the biggest mistakes I see people make in terms of their estate planning is having no plan. Whether that’s because of procrastination or they perceive they don’t really have a need for it right now, the problem is nobody has a crystal ball. You want to be prepared for the unexpected, particularly if there are small children involved. [Otherwise] the state will make those choices for us.
Joel Mullen of Mullen & Guttman: It really doesn’t matter if we’re married, single, kids, no kids, rich, not-so-rich. The goals are the same for everyone. There are four main things any estate plan will accomplish:
- Eventually avoid probate
- Pass and protect assets for your beneficiaries
- Plan for incapacity
- Reduce or eliminate the estate tax
EDM: What is often overlooked?
Dahl: We want to make sure as much of the estate as possible goes to the people they wanted it to go to rather than see an unnecessary amount go to taxes or unintended beneficiaries, especially if there are young children involved. People make mistakes about updating beneficiary designations. Making sure they have the proper beneficiary listed and making sure that their plans are updated, making sure their fiduciaries are the right people to put into the role. We want to make sure that any family conflicts or potential conflicts are addressed so these goals can be met and their plan can be carried out the way they intended.