With the holidays approaching and the end of the year right behind them, every advisor you have is telling you to do a year-end review. Your financial advisor, your accountant, maybe even your business partner, your boss, or your spouse are all asking, “what happened this year, and what are we going to do next year?” Count us in that number. The stretch from Thanksgiving to the end of the year is a time for reflection, and for many families is the time when members from far-flung areas of the country or even the world are all together, so the really important decisions and discussions can happen.
What you talk about depends on what is important in your life. You’ll see a lot about doing some really cool stuff to avoid estate tax, but for most of our friends in Ohio, that’s not much of a worry. What you might think about though is what does my estate plan look like? If I died today, who would get my money? My house? My business? If you addressed those questions this year, kudos to you, but the next question is: did we give you some homework when we finished your plan? Did you do it? And what about your family? Does your brother know that he’s first on the list to take your kids if you die prematurely? Do your kids know that one of them stands to inherit more than the rest? If so, you may want to have those conversations now, so it doesn’t come as a hurtful surprise when you’re not there to explain your thinking.
If you haven’t addressed those questions, now is a great time to talk through it with your family. Every family is different, but it helps to have a talk with everyone about why one of the kids is going to inherit the whole farm, or why one family member was chosen as trustee of your trust. These conversations are difficult, but they help you ensure that your plan both is workable and will be respected by the people you left behind.
We are here to help you protect yourself and your family. We can help you make these decisions, we can help you explain them to your kids, and we are definitely here to ensure that what you want is what actually happens. If you want to talk about what your estate plan should look like, or if you want to talk about what we planned so you can explain it to your kids, just give us a call and make an appointment.
Ben Worsowicz is an Associate at Lardiere McNair, LLC. To read more about our firm, please visit www.lawyerscolumbusohio.com.
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