Have you ever wondered what happens if you die without an estate plan? Have you thought about all of the energy spent during your lifetime to maintain privacy and protection as it relates to your business affairs, finances or your children, and wondered what happens when you are gone? These two questions are actually related because the state you live in has a plan for you at your death, and it doesn't necessarily include the protection you would desire for your business, finances or your children.
The position taken in the current administration's warfare against the "rich," is that they need to pay more in taxes (their fair share), and if they do, the budget will be balanced and all will be well with the American economy. The Tea Party has accurately pointed out that the "rich" are already paying the majority of the taxes and that over 51% of Americans --- DON'T PAY ANY TAXES AT ALL. The Tea Party has also shed considerable light on the fact that additional taxes imposed on the rich would be insignificant when compared with the current amount of spending in Washington. In other words, we don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.
Many of the people who talk to us about estates and trusts are children who have been accidentally disinherited by their parents. This sometimes happens because of procrastination, but is often the result of misunderstanding how the law works. The manner in which we own assets during life, governs who will ultimately receive those same things after our death. When you couple that with procrastination and a fundamental fear about discussing these issues with a lawyer, bad things happen.
I often have friends ask me, "Can't I just go to Legal Zoom and do a Will?" or "How much does it cost for a Will or a Trust?" Both of these questions reveal the mistaken belief that lawyers sell paper, and that its just a matter of getting the right "template" for the situation and then filling in the blanks. I suppose the thinking is that the better lawyers have better templates, or that more experienced lawyers know how to fill in the blanks more accurately or efficiently. Interesting concept.