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Are You Making This Estate Planning Mistake?

Posted on Thu Mar 31, 2022, on Uncategorized

It is very common for people to believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy. Here’s why that’s not true, and why it matters to you.

When anyone—not just a wealthy person—creates an estate plan, they are empowering themselves by taking control over crucial decisions in their life. These include decisions about their estate in the event of their passing, as well as decisions about their health and other affairs during their lifetime.

Put simply, a person’s “estate” consists of all their property at the time of their passing. If a person fails to prepare estate planning, they will not be able to decide what happens to their property after they pass. A common line of thinking is, “But I don’t have a significant amount of property, so I don’t really need estate planning, right?”

Property can either be “real” or “personal”. “Real property” refers to real estate. But “personal property” refers to essentially everything else you own. Many people know this includes things like money in your bank account. But did you know this also includes things like your social media accounts, your most beloved belongings, and even your pets? If you do not have estate planning, you will not be able to decide what happens to those things after you pass. 

If you pass without proper estate planning, your loved ones have to endure what’s called the “probate” process in court. This is a lengthy, expensive, and public process. During probate, the court would have no way of knowing your personal wishes and desires. Despite this, it will decide who gets your assets based on predetermined laws. This could lead to unexpected and unwanted distributions.

As an example, let’s say there’s someone in your family that you do not get along with. Through probate, depending on that person’s relation to you, it’s possible they will end up inheriting your estate. Estate planning would be crucial in that case because regardless of how much your property is worth, you would not want that outcome.

But estate planning is not just about property. What happens if you become incapacitated? What happens if you pass away and have minor children? While none of us enjoy thinking of these topics, these issues can all be resolved and avoided through estate planning. If they are not resolved, you or your loved ones can be put in complicated, painful, and life-altering situations.

With a last will and testament only, your loved ones would still end up in probate. That is why a trust can be created in addition to your will in order to avoid probate. A comprehensive estate plan, that an estate planning lawyer like our friends at the Law Offices of Nakasaka includes a multitude of documents, each of which protect various wishes in different ways. These documents include a will, trust(s), financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and certificate of trust(s), to name a few.

Peter KlenkPeter Klenk

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Rachel Roney

Peter has done a great job with the estate planning for my father. He is very thorough and patient as we, the family need to make decisions.

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Andrea Wilson

Peter is excellent. I had a very complicated situation with my parents' estate planning and potential Medicaid needs. Peter was very knowledgeable in estate planning matters, able to define the best solution for the situation. Additionally, he was congenial and able to communicate effectively to my senior citizen parents the benefits of estate planning. He earned my trust, and more importantly, my parents' trust in a 45 mins consultation period. Highly recommend Peter. He is very easy to work with.

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Anne W.

I saw four lawyers and was told by all of them; I should just forget contesting my mother's will. I knew what happened, but it is very hard to prove undue influence. I contacted the Law Offices of Peter L. Klenk & Associates. Attorney Amanda DiChello took my case. They were very honest and upfront about what would be involved trying to prove what I knew was true. Attorney DiChello may be young but she is extremely knowledgeable and skilled. She listened and understood what I conveyed to her. She knew exactly what information to use and crafted an outstanding interrogatory and many powerful depositions. Attorney DiChello understood the various emotional feelings this case created for my family and me; she was always there for us with a kind and encouraging word. We went to trial. The amount of work which she and her Paralegal did for the trial was incredible. They both knew my case inside and out! Attorney DiChello's powerful interrogative and thinking skills produced a positive outcome. Attorney DiChello did what other seasoned lawyers said was impossible!

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Darryl J.

Answered my question quickly and referred me to a colleague that could handle my problem

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Sharon S.

I contacted Peter through his website using the free consultation link for a question regarding a will. While I was expecting only a few minutes, it was a lengthy conversation. He made sure he understood the situation by asking many questions before offering advice. He then went through my options and results of each one. He left it up to me to decide if I wanted to proceed and did not push me toward one or another. His website has very useful information which I definitely researched before I called him. While I decided not to proceed at this time, I feel I had enough information to make that decision. I would not hesitate to hire him should I need to in the future.

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