National Estate Planning Awareness Week Offers Important Reminder

estate planningNational Estate Planning Awareness Week, Oct. 17-23 this year, was adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008 as a way to highlight the importance of estate planning for individuals, families, and business owners.

While it’s often noted that more than 50 percent of adult Americans don’t have an estate plan, one new survey indicates that it may be closer to 70 percent of adults who lack an estate plan. Among those with an estate plan, only 20 percent have updated it in the last five years.

“We saw an increase in estate planning during the height of COVID, but clearly the sense of urgency has abated,” said Cramer & Anderson Partner Dolores “Lorry” Schiesel. “That trend is troubling given how much is at stake for individuals and families, and that includes all families, not just those with significant wealth or means.”

Perhaps the most common misperception about estate planning is that it’s only needed by those who earn high incomes, own businesses, or have significant assets, investments, or entrepreneurial holdings.

The reality is that all individuals and families benefit from estate planning, which is guided by individual circumstances and often fairly basic.

No matter one’s level of assets, savings, or other holdings, if you don’t have a will or trust to specify the division of what’s left behind, then state law determines how an estate should be divided, and the Probate Court with jurisdiction would determine who should handle administration of the estate.

It’s therefore critical to have a will and an estate plan, and to work with an attorney to ensure everything is prepared and filed correctly, as well as putting in place a plan to make sure the estate planning documents remain up-to-date.

Cramer & Anderson’s Estate Planning services include:
  • Last Will and Testament
  • Power of Attorney
  • Living Will/Advanced Healthcare Directive
  • Conservatorship and Guardianship
  • Care Agreement Contract
  • Business Succession Plan
  • Irrevocable Trust
  • Living Trust
  • How to use estate planning to protect assets

As National Estate Planning Awareness Week emphasizes, the best time to initiate an estate planning process, or to update existing plans and documents, is now.

Connect with any member of our Estate Planning team to get started:

Partner Arthur C. Weinshank guides and manages influential charitable funds and foundations. For example, the late Academy Award-nominated actor Richard Widmark entrusted management of his philanthropic legacy to Attorney Weinshank. Based in the New Milford office, he may be reached by email at aweinshank@crameranderson.com.

Partner Perley Grimes joined the firm as an Associate in 1969, becoming a Partner in 1974, which gives him decades of experience and valuable insights he shares with clients in developing an optimal plan of action. He is based in the Litchfield office and may be reached by email at pgrimes@cramer-anderson.com.

Partner Robert Fisher, Jr. is experienced in creating and administering trusts, and in drafting wills and living wills, durable Power of Attorney documents, health care directives and other related planning tools. Based in the Washington Depot office, he may be reached by email at rfisher@cramer-anderson.com.

Partner Dolores Schiesel compassionately addresses the needs of aging residents, and families with complicated situations, as she works to protect clients’ assets in light of Medicaid rules and other state and Federal statutes. She is experienced in drafting wills and other planning documents. Based in the Kent office, she may be reached by email at drs@crameranderson.com.

Partner Josh Weinshank, Resident Partner of Cramer & Anderson’s office in Ridgefield, won a prestigious 40 Under 40 award from the Fairfield County Business Journal in 2019, and was named a Super Lawyers Rising Star in both 2018 and 2019. He advises clients on ways to effectively and efficiently preserve and create intergenerational wealth by addressing their tax and personal concerns. He may be reached by email at jweinshank@crameranderson.com.

Partner Neal D. White, Jr. guides clients, families and spouses through Estate Planning and Elder Law issues that can be intricate and emotionally challenging. He has been named Best Estate Planning Lawyer for five consecutive years in the Waterbury Republican-American newspaper’s Reader’s Choice Awards. Based in the Litchfield office, he may be reached at nwhite@cramer-anderson.com.

About Cramer & Anderson

Cramer & Anderson provides sophisticated legal services, close to home, with regional offices in New Milford, Washington Depot, Kent, Litchfield, Danbury, and Ridgefield. For more information, see the firm’s website or call the flagship office in New Milford at (860) 355-2631.