Estate Planning

Practice Areas | Estate Planning
Estate planning is important for everyone, regardless of estate size or value. You have worked hard for what you have. If you have more, you have more to lose. If you have less, you can’t afford to lose what you have.

Your “estate” includes everything you own — your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions and any other tangible or intangible property you own.

A trust is an agreement that can be an effective method of preserving your wealth now, in your future and for your family legacy. A trust is defined as a three-party fiduciary relationship in which the settlor (person who transfers trust property/funds the trust) transfers property to the trustee (holds legal title of trust assets & manages the trust) for the benefit of the beneficiary(ies) (person(s) designated to receive any of your property). A trust may be intervivos (created during your life) or testamentary (created at your death).

Why do I need a trust?
1. Avoids Probate (which is public & can be costly)
2. Privacy Protection (of both your estate & beneficiaries)
3. Plan for Incapacity (avoids your family having to go to court to have a guardian/conservator appointed if you become ill & are unable to care for yourself)
4. Asset protection (from creditors, lawsuits, divorce, risky business ventures, probate expenses, etc.)

A will (or “testament”) is a legal document where you declare who manages your estate (executor/executrix) & how your assets will be distributed upon your death. Putting your wishes on paper helps your heirs avoid unnecessary conflicts, and you gain a peace of mind knowing that a life’s worth of possessions will end up in the right hands

A will is an important way you can stay in control over who gets what of your property after you pass away; and by planning in advance, you can also save your family time and money.

A will can also serve to declare who you wish to become the guardian of your minor children or dependents, and who you want to receive specific items that you own — Aunt Rachel gets the gold earrings & diamond rings, Cousin Justin the antique car, and so on.

Will vs. Trust: What are the main differences?
Although it is true that “you cannot take it with you when you go,” you can most definitely control your assets from beyond the grave. Choose the option to best serve your needs.
1. Trusts are managed privately by trustee you choose, instead of a public court.
2. Wills become part of public court records & must go through the probate process.
3. Trusts are effective if you become incapacitated, however, wills are not (only effective upon your death, not incapacity).
4. Trusts can pass assets immediately & directly to your named beneficiaries, while a will can take 6-18 months to probate (depending on your estate & heirs).

Death is inevitable for us all. Why not protect your loved ones by arranging how you want your assets to be handled now? Being proactive by establishing your estate plan can spare your loved ones from having to handle your affairs while going through a tough emotional time after you pass away.

Don’t delay! Schedule a free consultation to discuss your estate planning needs today!

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