Estate Planning

An “Estate” can comprise of your home, car, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions, really, any manner of tangible and intangible assets. Even a person living a simple or modest life may too have some asset of value.

When a person dies, she or he wants those assets to be given to people or organizations they care about the most. To make sure that their wishes prevail, they should have written instructions in the form of a comprehensive Estate Planning.

A good Estate Planning should include,

  • Instructions for passing your values (religious, educational, heritable, etc.) in addition to your assets.
  • Instructions for your care if you become handicap before your death.
  • Instructions with the name of the Guardian and an inheritance manager for minor children.
  • Instructions to provide your family needs with government benefits.
  • Instructions to help protect the family from creditors or divorce.
  • Instructions to provide for the proceeds of your life insurance to accrue to your family at your death, disability income insurance if you cannot work due to disability or illness or injury, and long-term care insurance.
  • Instructions to transfer your business or savings at your death, disability, or retirement.
  • Instructions to update the Estate Planning as per you and your family requirements.

Estate Planning is not only for the elderly or individuals about to retire or retired people. Life is unpredictable, and to protect our assets, we should have a plan as early as we can. Estate Planning is not only for the wealthy or the rich, but whosoever also wants to secure their beneficiaries. 

Please contact us if you need any assistance with Estate Planning, or merely want to begin a conversation.

Top Questions For Estate Planning:

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Top 10 Questions For Estate Planning:

Just like Will, a Trust is a method for exercising control over your assets and is an effective tool by which you decide how to enforce it. 

A Trust does not require a Probate. This is often understood as an advantage of people using a Trust over a Will to distribute their assets. Trusts are considered less expensive than a Will, and the terms of a Trust are private compared to a Will and Probate process whose terms are public. 

The method of distribution of assets through the formation of a Trust is quicker. In a Trust, the Trustee is authorized to distribute assets without the requirement of filing documentation and exercising formalities with the Probate court. When compared to Wills, Trusts also eliminate costs by saving estate taxes.Estate Planning is the preparation a person does to manage his assets in the event of his unfortunate death or incapacitation. This process of Estate Planning involves how the assets of an individual will be preserved, managed, or distributed in the event of his unanticipated death. It also takes care of the management of a person’s properties, assets, and financial obligation on the happening of any mental or physical disability. An Estate is made of different assets, such as houses, cars, stocks, artwork, life insurance, pensions, and debt. Every person has his or her own set of reasons behind planning their Estate, like, preserving his family wealth, providing a survival for spouse and children, funding the education of children or grandchildren, or leaving the legacy behind for a charitable cause. This  Estate Planning process includes the making a Will, setting up a Trust or making charitable donations, naming the executors and beneficiaries, and setting up funeral arrangements.

As we all know, life is full of uncertainties. Many events happen in our day-to-day life which we never anticipate. In these moments, we realize how vulnerable life is as we may face death or incapacitation at any moment. So, every person should consider having an Estate Plan. It is a myth that only a wealthy person should have an Estate Plan, any person who wants the properties, assets, and savings he has secured by his hard work and wants them to be utilized for the benefit of his loved ones or the betterment of any organization must have an Estate Planning.

  • If you want to make sure that how what, and who will inherit the assets and properties, you need to do some Estate Planning.
  • Estate Planning also offers you a chance to appoint a Guardian for your children and your estate in the event of your early death.
  • You also plan to reduce taxes on the estate you are leaving behind.
  • Estate Planning helps eliminate family messes such as divorce or legal battle expenses if they happen in the future.

Some of the many benefits of Estate Planning are:

  • You can plan for your own needs, such as on the occurrence of early death or become incapacitated physically or mentally, and you cannot take care of yourself. You can also plan for your retirement, insurance expenses, medical and health expenditures on the happening of any event in the future.
  • You can plan to dispose of the wealth in the manner you want to by deciding how what, and who will inherit.
  • You can plan to minimize the transfer taxes as there are many taxes that are imposed while transferring the property differently. You can make a strategy to transfer those efficiently.
  • You can plan for your Philanthropic goals if you have any. You may create a trust or donate in an organization in which you want the legacy of your family to be carried out.
  • You can plan to protect your family wealth from legal disputes and frivolous lawsuits and ensure the properties for protecting it.

There are State Laws which secure your property in the event of the happening of the below stated.

  • At Disability – If you are unable to carry out business due to physical or mental incapacity and the business is in your name, then a Court Appointee can sign for you. The Court will control the assets for you by appointing a conservatorship or guardianship to take care. This process is time-consuming and expensive.
  • At your Death – If you die without an Estate Plan, then the assets will be distributed as per the probate laws of your State.

Asset Protection is included in the Estate Plan. Assets that are personal assets as recognized by different State laws are exempted from the reach of the Creditors. The process of Asset Protection usually requires assessing the current scenario, and recognizing our future goals, having a plan of action to act upon those, and preparing the necessary legal documents. Some of the common ways to protect assets are business succession planning, nuptial agreements, family-limited partnerships (FLPs), LLCs and Trust Creation and a plan to minimize property transfer taxes.

A Will is a legal document that speaks about how your property will be distributed after your death, and your wishes for the care of your children. When a person dies without a Will, then the estate and properties go into the hand of a Judge or the Government officials as per the law of the State; it may also cause family strife. Any person can prepare his own Will on his own by having proper witnesses that limit the chance of future challenges, but it is advisable to prepare to a Will with the help of an attorney who deals with such issues.

A Trust is a right through which a person holds the property for the benefit of another. A Trust is created to benefit the family or family member or even for charity purposes. As in a Trust, a person distributes their assets to minimize estate, income and gift taxes, so it becomes an important part of Estate Planning. As there is no uniform law for Trusts, each State has its own set of rules to govern Trusts, and the Uniform Probate Code (UPC), which has rules for both Wills and Trusts, has been adopted by over 30% of the States. Different types of Trusts are,

  • Living Trusts
  • Testamentary Trusts
  • Revocable Trusts
  • Fixed Trusts
  • Discretionary Trusts
  • Constructive Trusts
  • Resulting Trusts

Through Power of Attorney, a person gives power to another person who may be his friend, spouse, family member, or his attorney, in the event of his death to take control over his assets and properties. It is an essential feature of Estate Planning as this legal document will decide who will have the power over your hard-earned money and your properties. This attorney or agent has the legal right to make decisions which you would have made if you were alive. But the Power of Attorney can be limited through clauses.

Probate is the formal legal process through which a valid Will is recognized and Court the executor or a personal representative who will administer the estate and distribute assets to the intended beneficiaries. Every state has its own set of laws, and it is always suggested to consult an attorney for the probate process. Probate proceedings are neither expensive nor prolonged. If a person dies without a Will or intestate, then his property goes through the probate process. The Probate Court may appoint an administrator to divide the property of the decedent, and the Court will approve it. Estate tax and seldom inheritance tax is also imposed on the property going through the probate process.

There are a lot of retail software, online websites, and/or fill in the blank Will forms which suggests that you’re better off without an attorney when drafting elements of your Estate Plan. But in real life, they are highly unlikely to give you the real solution to your issues, and often, they will provide you with generic advice that is not specific to your State. Experienced and qualified Trusts and Estate attorneys can know the multitude laws that are bearing property rights, taxes, wills, probate and trusts. A software program often cannot understand and address all your queries effectively, or allow you to change the format, or add additional information. If you are like most people, you have spent most of your life achieving your personal goals. The advice and direction of your attorney will be essential to implementing an Estate Plan that both disposes of your assets according to your wishes and meets your other personal objectives.