The financial pressure of inflation is felt by all families and businesses alike. Rising costs of everyday necessities like groceries, gas, clothing, etc. make normal purchases even more difficult to make. Naturally, most people’s response is to cut back on luxury and discretionary spending.
For most people, estate planning falls into the latter category and is often overlooked during times of financial strain. However, the question isn’t whether you can afford estate planning, it’s whether your family can afford your lack of estate planning.
Consider the case of a client who came to me just a few weeks ago.
The client needed to speak to me about probating their adult son’s will. The son had no spouse and no children when they died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 55 – just two weeks after he had retired. I looked at the will (which the client’s son had made themselves after finding a form online) and I immediately found that the will was invalid. Additionally, the client’s son had failed to name beneficiaries on their life insurance policies, so the only way to get that money to the client was to go to court.
Unfortunately for the client, their son had half-siblings who were entitled to a portion of the estate. I had the displeasure of telling the client that they would inherit only a fraction of the roughly $500,000 estate because the client’s son did not plan their estate properly. Instead of inheriting all that money, the client lost out on over $250,000 because their son tried to save a few hundred dollars with a do-it-yourself will. To make matters worse, the client had to pay several thousand dollars to access that money, they now risk a probate contest from the son’s ex-spouse, and the soonest available court date is 7 months away.
I wish I could say this is the first time I’ve had to give surviving family that kind of news, but it’s becoming more and more common. The financial reality of effective estate planning adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars saved for your family. Of course, there are DIY estate planning guides that are viable options for those who are meticulous and, quite frankly, lucky to find an accurate guide.
One cost-saving strategy that few people utilize is to have an estate planning attorney review their existing estate plan. I’m happy to meet with families for free just to review existing estate plans to make sure all their goals are met and all laws are satisfied. Even if I don’t get hired to make any changes, giving clients peace of mind is a large portion of what I do.
During these uncertain times, most businesses resort to increasing prices to make up for lost revenue. Hunter Sargent, PLLC has not raised prices since we opened nearly 2 years ago. This leads to greater value for you and your family in an area that has uncertain and delayed costs after it’s too late for you to do anything about it.
Fortunately for all of us, recessions are temporary, and the economy will recover. Nobody knows how long that will take and there’s no guarantee that you and your family won’t need estate planning protection before then.
Call Hunter Sargent, PLLC today to schedule a free consultation to review your estate plan. There are no obligations and no hidden costs for anything we do.