How often do Delaware residents hear that they should "get their affairs in order" before it is too late? Even so, a large percentage of the population of the state -- and the country for that matter -- delays engaging in any estate planning. The reasons for this are numerous and vary from individual to individual, but failing to have some sort of estate plan in place often ends the same way -- with surviving family members potentially losing out on an inheritance because they end up spending valuable assets from the estate going through the courts.
Many special needs children become special needs adults. For the Delaware parents of such an adult, planning for his or her physical and financial security is a priority. That planning needs to extend beyond the lives of the parents, which means that estate planning also becomes a top priority.
More than a fear of dying, many Delaware residents fear that they will reach a point in their lives when they will not be able to make sound decisions for themselves. They may wonder what will happen if an injury or illness causes them to be incapacitated. Fortunately, estate planning can help prepare for an uncertain future.
As most people in Delaware probably already know, Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner recently died at the age of 91. What many people may not have known is that Hefner was married in 2012. According to press releases, Hefner's estate planning provides for his widow, but does not provide her with an inheritance from his estate. Considering the state of many celebrity estates that have been in the news, sources can only guess at how he accomplished this at this point.
The possibility of becoming incapacitated exists for every Delaware resident. No one knows when they will suffer serious injuries or contract a debilitating illness that makes it impossible to take actions regarding health care and finances without help. If the appropriate estate planning is not undertaken, family members could end up in court spending valuable time and money obtaining permission to act on your behalf.
What happens to a pet when its owner dies? Many Delaware residents engage in estate planning to take care of their loved ones after their deaths, but they may also need to take some time to figure out what will happen to their pets as well. No one can assume that another family member or friend will automatically take on this responsibility.
Wills, trusts and beneficiary designations are words often associated with planning for what happens after a Delaware resident's death. What about words like power of attorney, health care directive and living will? These aspects of estate planning are equally as important to the process because they focus on taking care of an individual during life in the event that they become unable to make decisions for or otherwise take care of themselves at some point due to age, accident or illness.
Many Delaware residents between the ages of 53 and 71 may make up part of the 60 percent of baby boomers who have already made arrangements for the distribution of their property after death. The other 40 percent may still be considering how best to leave their assets to their children. Fortunately, estate planning provides numerous methods for achieving their goals.
Many Delaware couples decide that marriage is not for them. They do not feel that they need a legal document to remain in a committed relationship. That may be true of a marriage license, but when it comes to estate planning, unmarried couples need certain legal documents in place just like their married counterparts. In fact, it may be even more important for those who are not married.
Less than half of Americans have prepared for their death or the possibility of becoming incapacitated. This includes many people here in Delaware who have yet to engage in any estate planning. Many may be under the impression that it only helps older or richer people, but that is not the case. Every adult could benefit from having an estate plan.