I recently came across this article on the importance of estate planning for average Americans and it brought to memory my previous blog post on a similar topic.  The article gives examples of several situations faced by “average joe’s and jane’s” who aren’t “rich” by any financial measure of the word.  There are a couple of points I want to call out because I believe they bear special emphasis:

  • If Congress doesn’t act before the end of the year (or shortly thereafter), many middle class families could be hit by the estate tax at a rate up to 55%!  Yes, you read that right – find out more in the article.
  • Blended families (e.g. second marriages) are becoming more common.  News flash – the chance of default Michigan law accomplishing your goals for your legacy are VERY slim in a blended family . . . consider the chances at almost zero.  Having a comprehensive, caring plan in place will help make sure a) your wishes for your family are met, and b) conflict between “sides” of the family are minimized.  As a matter of fact, you could very well disinherit your children.  Yes, it’s true.  Don’t believe me?  Read this previous blog post and you’ll see what I mean.

So, the moral of the story is this: if you don’t have a caring, comprehensive plan in place for you family – GET ONE!  And if you do, make sure to keep it updated as your life changes (for example, we include ongoing 3 year plan reviews at no charge for all members of our client family).  As Nike said . . . just do it!

Michael Lichterman is an estate planning and charitable planning attorney who helps families and business owners create a lasting legacy by planning for their Whole Family Wealth™.  This goes beyond merely planning for “stuff” – it’s about who your are and what’s important to you.  He focuses on estate, charitable, and asset protection planning for all generations (“young” and “experienced”), the “sandwich generation” (caring for parents and children), doctors/physicians, nurses, lawyers, dentists, professionals with minor children, family owned businesses, and pet planning.  He enjoys creating life long relationships with his clients centered on their family’s values, insights, stories and experiences.