Halloween is just around the corner, a time where children anticipate whether they will get a “trick” or a “treat!” The celebration of Halloween derives from Samhain (pronounced sah-win), the New Year festival of the ancient Celts held each year on November 1st, celebrating the end of summer and the harvest.
The Celts believed that the night before the new year, the veil was at its thinnest between the world of the living and the world of the dead. And so, after sundown on October 31st, they would begin their celebrations, with many of the traditions we have incorporated in our modern-day Halloween traditions. They would dress up in costumes to conceal themselves from – or trick – spirits who may want to do them harm. They would also leave out food and drink as an offering to the spirits to keep them happy.
And as we look forward to the little “spirits” that will ring our doorbells, looking for treats this year on Halloween, it is a good time to ask ourselves, when it comes to estate planning, are we leaving our family tricks or treats?
What Kind of “Tricks” Could You Be Leaving Your Family?
One trick a family may discover when their loved one has passed is that decedent did not work with a skilled estate planning attorney in putting together the strongest estate plan possible. One of the biggest errors that can occur in an estate plan is the failure to have a pour-over will. A pour-over will takes any property and assets that were not placed in any trusts the decedent established and places them into the trusts after he or she dies, usually assets that have accumulated after the trust was established. Having a pour-over will means these assets and/or property will avoid the probate process.
Another not so nice trick a family may discover is that their loved one made no plans for protecting assets from long-term care expenses. Although Americans are living longer than they used to, this also means there is often the need for extended medical care and/or nursing home expenses. Without the proper estate plan, these long-term care costs can quickly deplete all of a person’s assets that they spend their whole life working for and leaving their family with nothing when they pass.
The biggest “trick” a family can discover is that their loved one has passed without having a proper estate plan. There may be no life insurance, or not enough, to provide for dependents or even to cover funeral expenses. The decedent may have failed to establish any living trusts or other estate planning tools that could avoid a long and drawn-out probate process and high estate taxes, or they may not even have bothered to make out a will.
Contact Our Office Today
Don’t leave your family wondering if there will be tricks or treats when you’re gone. Call Yee Law Group today to speak with an experienced Sacramento estate planning lawyer and schedule a free consultation to ensure your family is protected when you are no longer here.