Estate 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.
Do 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.
If 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.
When 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?
Estate planning can be defined as the act of managing and arranging for the re-assignment and disposal of one’s assets in the event of their passing or incapacitation. This is often mistakenly thought of as a service only needed by the wealthy or those with a lot of assets; the truth of the matter is everyone needs to plan. The act of planning includes covering legal documents such as wills and trusts.
Avoid DIY Kits!
One of the biggest issues I have ran across recently is people using DIY estate planning services. While these can range from somewhat helpful services to completely inaccurate data, I would like to caution you about purchasing and using these types of kits, which often include nothing more than an E-book download and a few template forms. Although it may seem to be the economical choice, only a licensed and qualified attorney will truly know the ins and outs of state laws and estate planning procedures.
Once you have passed away and the probate court is assigning your assets, each document could come under scrutiny. If you hired a licensed attorney, you can rest assured that your documents will hold up. Is the few dollars you could save on a DIY kit really worth all the arguments that could be caused in settling your last wishes? Most likely the answer is no!
Selecting an Estate Planning Attorney to Assist You
When you are looking for an attorney to help with your estate planning, here are a few questions to ask.
- Do you have experience in Estate Planning?
- How often do you work with wills and trusts?
- How many years have you been practicing as an Attorney?
After asking those simple questions, you should have a pretty good idea of how experienced your potential attorney is in the field. There are of course several other factors that must be considered, and ultimately you should go with your gut feeling.
Estate Planning is not something that anyone looks forward too, the consequences of not planning are far worse though. Hire a qualified attorney and make sure your estate is planned properly.
Finding a Family Law Attorney in Arizona