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Avoiding the price of procrastination

That small leak in the roof leaves a little wet spot on a ceiling. It's not a big deal, you might think, until the day the ceiling collapses and the real damage to your house is revealed. It might have cost a couple hundred dollars to have that little leak fixed, but now the much more extensive damage is well into the thousands.

That can be the price of procrastination. A recent article on wills and estate planning says that putting off getting those documents right can cause damage, too, though it is your family who will ultimately pay.

The goal of getting your will and estate plan up to date is clear, the author says: control. You direct where your assets will go, rather than having a court decide how to distribute what you own.

If you were to die without a will, not only will a court decide on distribution of wealth, but those assets will be unprotected from taxation by an estate plan. When famed musician Prince died without a will, his assets were approximately $300 million.

But because he did not have a will or estate plan, more than half of that amount will end up in government hands. Prince never protected his wealth from taxation, so Uncle Sam turned out to be his biggest beneficiary.

Much the same happened to the estate of actor James Gandolfini. Though Gandolfini left a will, it was so poorly conceived that, again, the biggest beneficiary was the tax man, rather than his wife or children.

To discuss the many ways you can protect your family and your assets, contact a Cocoa law firm experienced in estate planning, wills, probate, estate administration and more.

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