It is never too soon to begin the process of estate planning. An attorney will sometimes have clients that are as young as 18 who do some minimal estate planning so that their parents can assist them when they go off to college. Generally, triggers for estate planning are marriage or birth of a first child, owning or buying a piece of real estate, death, divorce, or a significant increase or decrease of wealth. However, no matter the circumstances, it is never too soon to get an early start on estate planning in Virginia.
Importance of Early Estate Planning
It is often much easier to start estate planning prior to an emergency or a catastrophic event. In fact, sometimes after those events, estate planning is no longer possible because an individual may have lost the capacity needed to sign a document. When planning well in advance of any catastrophic event, it is easier for clients to be able to make important decisions in a calm and measured way, and give their estate planning the thought and contemplation that it needs when making the very important decisions that are required throughout the estate planning process.
Getting an early start on an estate plan often allows for efficiently dealing with any issues that may be presented. A common misunderstanding is that all deadlines start calculating once an estate is open. However, that is not the case. There are sometimes tax and estate tax deadlines that start at the date of death. Therefore, it is possible that if the administration is delayed, then those deadlines will lapse and the results will be interests or penalties to the estate.
When getting an early start on their estate planning, an individual will find it helpful to speak with an estate planning attorney so that they can begin to gather the information that is requested of them, and understand what the estate planning process looks like. Further, a lawyer will help an individual to understand the ramifications of combining assets, and to understand the tax consequences or difficulties that may be present in an administration as a result of the combination of assets.
Importance of an Attorney
The concepts with regard to estate planning in estate administration are very complex. In addition, estate planning and administration involves the overlap of several areas of law. That may include the commonwealth’s own estate trust tax probate laws. It may include some federal law where individuals own assets in other jurisdictions. Further, it may include tax and probate estate administration or estate planning laws to most jurisdictions as well. Because of the complexity, it is often helpful to speak with an estate planning attorney when considering getting an early start on estate planning, so that documents can be uniquely crafted to deal with a specific family dynamic and a client’s specific assets and goals.