Estate planning: A Conversation Worth Having
Estate planning requires individuals to have frank, thoughtful discussions about difficult issues. Issues such as an individual’s potential incapacity and end-of-life care must be considered. The discussion should address “what if” events such as the death of both parents of minor children, or the death of a surviving spouse shortly after the death of a predeceased spouse. Issues involving family dynamics also need to be discussed. These might include: the respective needs of potential heirs, the possibility of adult children divorcing from their spouses, the involvement of an adult child in the care of a parent or a family business.
Rather than face these troubling issues, many individuals avoid having the conversation. But postponing planning can produce undesirable outcomes and costs.
Some of the results of failing to prepare an estate plan are obvious. Neglecting to obtain life insurance to meet anticipated family obligations may result in financial hardship for surviving family members. If both parents of minor children were to die in a common accident without nominating a Guardian(s) in their wills, a court would have to determine who should serve in that capacity. Failing to designate a Health Care Proxy to make decisions in the event of incapacity, may leave family members and health care providers without guidance when faced with end-of-life health care decisions.
Other results of failing to prepare an estate plan are less apparent. A bequest of an estate to an adult child who is married may be subject to a claim in a divorce. If a simple “I love you Will,”, where one spouse leaves all property to the surviving spouse, is not updated on the death of the first spouse, the surviving spouse may unintentionally leave all assets to her/his in-laws. Bequests to young adults and family members who have spending issues, without placing some restrictions on those bequests, may be squandered.
When an individual dies without a will, a court, relying on statutory directives, must attempt to discern what the decedent would have wished and what is in the best interest of the decedent’s heirs. This process can be lengthy and costly.
“Facing the difficult issues that are inherently part of estate planning is important,” remarks Christopher Kavanagh, First Vice President and Director of the Trust Services Department at Valley National Bank. “Developing an estate plan and periodically reexamining the plan can help avoid unnecessary expenses and delays and most importantly, unwanted outcomes. To preserve the wealth that an individual has earned over a lifetime, to avoid placing unreasonable burdens on loved ones and to support family members throughout their lives, a comprehensive estate plan is necessary for every adult.”
Valley National Bank’s Trust Department offers a wealth of experience and expertise in trusts and estate planning, backed by the reliability and integrity of one of the most trusted banks in the nation. We provide the personalized interaction, individually tailored solutions and exceptional customer service you have come to expect from Valley National Bank. Our goal is simple: we work with you to navigate the complex landscape of trust and estate planning in order to preserve and grow wealth for you and your loved ones. For more information call 862-207-7327 or Contact Us.