Tag Archives: estate planning

Estate Planning and Educational Trusts

education trustsEstate planning is an important part of any family financial plan. When you do estate planning properly, it ensures that your resources are used in the way you want them to be after your death. If you have younger children or grandchildren, you may be concerned about providing for them in specific ways. Many people consider this issue when estate planning and a good attorney can help you figure out how to provide for your loved ones in the most appropriate way.

Many people want to earmark funds to be used for future educational expenses. You can simply leave people money in your will, but that doesn’t ensure that it will be used for education. There can also be tax consequences involved when you simply leave someone cash. If you want to designate money for education or other specific uses, an attorney may recommend that you create a trust.

You and your attorney can set up a trust to benefit your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or even unrelated people. A trust can sets aside the money until the beneficiaries reach a certain age. A trust is often used in estate planning because it has tax advantages. If the trust is set up properly, it may protect many of the proceeds from insurance death benefits from substantial taxes. This means more money is available for the beneficiaries. A trust won’t be subject to probate so it will make the money accessible quickly and easily.

During the estate planning process, you will designate a trustee for the trust. An attorney can help you set up the trust in various ways. The trust can specify that the recipient only gets a certain amount at designated periods of time. This is a common technique in estate planning. It ensures that the recipient uses the money responsibly instead of spending it frivolously. Your trust can set up conditions that beneficiaries must meet in order to receive money. The trust might require that they complete college or meet some other criteria to receive the full reward amount.

Trusts are a great tool for estate planning because they ensure that your money is used the way you want. It’s important to work with an attorney during the estate planning process. Attorneys can set up trusts properly so that the trusts functions according to your wishes.

Charities and Estate Planning

charitable trustsDo you want part of your estate to go to specific charities after your death? Many people wish to leave money to charitable causes in their wills. You can tell your spouse or the person who inherits your assets what you want done, but that’s not a foolproof plan. They might not fully understand what your wishes. It’s important to do proper estate planning to ensure that your money is used the way you wish after you pass. An attorney can help you plan for the appropriate distribution of your assets.

Most people know that making a will is important, but good estate planning sometimes requires more complex paperwork. Estate planning involves evaluating your assets and deciding on the best way to distribute them to beneficiaries. If you want to leave a substantial amount to a charity, your attorney may recommend a charitable trust. There are a wide variety of choices when it comes to charitable trusts. It’s important to work with someone who understands all the options before you commit your financial resources.

What are the advantages of a charitable trust? First, they can be set up in a number of ways. Some trusts allow you to make payments from the trust while you are still alive. Then, at the time of your death, the remainder can be transferred to the charity. Your attorney can set up the trust so that the charity receives annual payments based on a percentage of asset values. Payments can be fixed or unfixed, depending on the structure of the trust.

Many people include trusts as a part of their estate planning. The trust can provide tax advantages for both you and the charity. A qualified attorney can help you structure the trust so that it provides the appropriate benefits for both you and the recipient. You need to make many decisions when setting up a charitable trust and it’s easy to make mistakes if you don’t understand the process. A qualified attorney should discuss your goals and help you with the details involved in estate planning. This way, you’ll understand how and when your assets will be distributed.

Estate Planning and Your Family

family trustsIf you have young children, it’s important to think about estate planning. You want to ensure that your family is provided for in the worst case scenario. You can walk into any office supply store or bookstore and find lots of information about estate planning. There are books, forms and software programs that are designed to help you write a will. However, there are many details involved in good estate planning. You need a strong understanding of state laws, tax consequences and many other issues when you are planning for the future. You also need to understand guardianship laws and how to protect your children’s assets until they reach legal age. This is why most people consult an attorney who is experienced with these issues. That way, they fully understand the plans for protecting their families.

You don’t want to leave estate planning to chance when children are involved. Depending on the state, your assets may not be divided the way you wish among your children. You may want to set aside more funds for younger children than for older or adult children. You may wish to earmark money for education expenses. Some parents want the money protected until the child reaches a certain age.

If you have young children, your attorney can help you set up appropriate guardianship for them. You’ll need to consider who has custody of the children and who tends to their financial interests. You may select different people for these roles, depending on the situation. The various laws of each state need to be considered. The attorney will help you set up all the details involved in this kind of estate planning. You don’t want a simple estate planning mistake to jeopardize your children’s’ future.

Some estate planning experts have certifications that attest to their experience and educations. Some attorneys are Certified Financial Planners. Others are certified as Chartered Trust and Estate Planners or Trust and Estate Practitioners. You should learn as much as you can about an attorney’s background before working with him or her on estate planning. Ask for references and check online for ratings on the attorney. Do the research ahead of time to make sure the estate planning process goes smoothly.

Is Your Will Going to Survive Probate?

estate planning coupleWhen estate planning, it is important to create a will. The purpose of creating a will is to insure that your feelings and wishes are upheld after you have passed. In your will and also through your other estate planning, you should have made it clear who is inheriting what assets.

Your will needs to be as clear and thorough as possible if you want to avoid a long and drawn out probate process for everyone involved. One of the best ways to ensure that your will is going to stand up in court is to seek some legal advice. There are many ways to create a will at home and online, but it is important that you speak with legal counsel to insure that your will will be upheld.

Even though lawyers can be expensive, it is well worth the investment to protect your assets and everyone included in your will. When estate planning it is important to make sure that your will contains a few pieces of vital information so that it will be considered a valid will. The important information to include is a thorough list of all of your assets, a complete list of beneficiaries, and detailed plan of your wishes for distribution. The next step is to then have it reviewed by someone who is knowledgeable in probate. The last important step is to keep it up-to-date.

After you create your will, you still need to keep it current. If something major changes in your life concerning your assets or beneficiaries, it needs to be documented into your will. The beneficiaries that are listed in your will could change because of relationship issues or death. Not keeping your will up to date can cause major problems after you pass, leading to a probate battle. Estate planning can be a very stressful time in your life. It is sometimes difficult to make decisions about the assets that you have worked hard for over the span of your life. It is important to have your final wishes heard and upheld. By creating a will, keeping it updated, and having it reviewed by a legal representative is the best way to insure your will survives probate.

Ready to give away your lives’ work?

estate planning professionalPerhaps, but when you do; who do you want to get it? If you fail to have a will created, then there is no telling where your property and money will end up. Putting off your estate planning until it is too late may be the biggest mistake you could ever make. As a matter of fact, the State of New York may inherit 40 Million dollars from a recently deceased real estate developer that failed to create a will.

When someone passes away without a will, their property can be divided at the discretion of the state. This is known as dying intestate. I don’t know about you, but the thought having all my dearest possessions rifled through and divided up without having any say so is hard to accept. If you share my sentiment, then you will likely agree that estate planning is very important.

That being said, I want to stress that failing to have your will prepared by a licensed and experienced attorney could be as bad as not having a will or trust. After you pass, your will we be used to determine where and how to distribute your assets. This process is known as probate, which means “the proving of a will”. If your will is not legally sound, then some or all of your wishes may not be honored. Hiring an attorney with estate planning expertise will safeguard against this.

Now that you know why a will is a must have, here are a few things you should be sure to include in yours.

  1. Burial Directions

    Determining how you want your final arrangements handled is not something that most of us look forward to. Adding clear directions to this portion of your will makes it easier for your family members to make sure your final wishes are granted.

  2. Asset Distribution

    When people think of a will, asset distribution is what they commonly think of. As the name implies this section will allow you to dictate how your assets are distributed, but certain items such as joint property cannot be covered in this section.

  3. Restrictions and Stipulations

    This is where you will be glad you have hired an estate planning attorney. Depending on which state you live in, there will be several rules, regulations, and guidelines that dictate the specifics of how certain property is handled. An experienced attorney can help you navigate this section.

 

Ultimately, no matter how many or few assets you may have, estate planning is necessary. The best way to be sure it to hire a licensed attorney to help you make or review your current will.

 

The Benefits of Creating a Trust

While you are preparing for or undergoing your estate planning process, one of the most common things you will encounter is the option to create a trust. Estate planning is no longer for the elite. So long that you have at least $100,000 as your net worth, it is a good idea to go ahead and set up your trust. There are several factors that you should think about when you are considering estate planning.

wills and trustsPlanning your Estate

First, you need to figure out exactly what you have, who you want to leave it to, and how you want to leave your estate to them, in whole or parts. After you have evaluated exactly what you have in accounts and property, such as real estate, it is then time to assign who inherits what. You may want to leave it all to your surviving spouse, to your children, or divide it and leave it to both your spouse and your children. The next step to estate planning is determining how you want your trust disbursed. You have the option of disbursing your trust all at once or you may decide to distribute it over years.

Trust Benefits

Now that you know how to plan your estate, let’s talk about the benefits of creating a trust. A trust will let you decide on when and how you disperse your assets. Choosing the amount and the timing of how your estate is disbursed may give you a sense of comfort. A trust can also be helpful if there could be a potential battle over your estate. Keeping your affairs out of the court system is another reason why many people choose to create a trust.

Choosing a trustee is important to many people during the estate planning process because you are leaving someone who you feel is best to manage your trust. Choosing a trustee will allow your estate to goes as planned by letting your trustee know exactly how you feel and the steps you want taken to protect your assets. By creating a trust you are still left in control of your assets, even after you pass. To be certain your trust has been setup correctly, you should always consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.

 

Three Estate Planning Documents Everyone Should Have

estate planningWhen the time comes and you are ready to begin your estate planning, the number of documents you will need can seem overwhelming. While this article is not intended to substitute for consulting with a licensed attorney, the information provided here is going to cover three documents everyone should have.

Creating a Will

A will is one of the most widely known and thought of items when estate planning is mentioned. A persons’ will is the foundation upon which estate planning can begin. Although many people believe you only need a will, consult with an attorney and you will see all the things that cannot be covered in one. Some things that cannot be covered include, jointly owned property or providing care for a person with special needs. Again, the best way to know for sure is by consulting with an estate planning attorney.

Advanced Medical Directive

One of the items not covered in your will is the advanced medical directives. This is the document that will dictate the types of medical care you will receive when incapacitated. You will also be able to dictate who can make those decisions for you in the event you cannot make them. Your living will is a portion of this directive and covers the specifics of what treatments you want. Another form known as the healthcare proxy is used to name the person who can make the decisions regarding your care.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is used to give someone else legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. When creating one, you will be given the option of using a general power of attorney or a specific (specialized) power of attorney. A general power of attorney gives someone the legal right to act on your behalf, to sign contracts, and to make other legal binding decisions for you. Alternately, you can have a specific power of attorney made. This will limit the areas in which someone can make a decision on your behalf. Whichever you decide to use, it is likely you will need to have one made when you are taking care of your estate planning.

If you are ready to get started, I recommend that you consult with a licensed lawyer to be certain you have all of the forms you need to protect your assets and ensure they go where you intend.

Is Estate Planning for Everyone or Just the Wealthy?