Do you know what would happen legally- to you, your loved ones, your money and everything else you care about – if something unexpected happened to you? If you have an estate plan and it’s out of date, your assets could be lost to the State Department of Unclaimed Property, or to an unnecessary Court process.
If you don’t know exactly what would happen for everyone you love and everything you own, then the first step is to find out exactly what would happen, legally and financially, so that you can decide if the current state of your affairs is okay with you.
We conduct a Family Wealth Planning Session, where we spend time together and you’ll get informed. Before your Family Wealth Planning Session, you will complete a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment, which will help you to get clear about what you own and what you have to think about when it comes to planning for the well-being and care of your loved ones and loved belongings. If you decide the current state of affairs is unacceptable, and if we both decide that it’s a fit to work together, then we can design an estate plan together that will best suit the needs of your family.
The foundation of your estate plan will often include a revocable living trust; you transfer your property into this trust for your benefit during your life. One of the benefits of a revocable living trust is that, when done correctly and maintained over time, your estate plan should help your family to avoid the cost and delay of probate and minimize or eliminate estate taxes.
Unfortunately, most plans don’t work because much of what passes for estate planning is little more than word processing. You are asked a few questions and then the drafter decides which “plan” is right for you, and fits you into a template. This is not estate planning; it is little more than a “search and replace” of your family’s name and then a hit of the “print” button which spits out form documents. If you are a family with young children, then your estate plan should begin with a foundation that ensures your children would always be taken care of, no matter what happens. At Legacy Law Group one of our areas of greatest expertise is protecting minor children.
Your Team at Legacy Law Group will educate you, take the time to get to know you, your family, your concerns, your goals and your issues and will gladly and patiently answer all your questions to produce an estate plan that is exactly right for you and will keep your loved one’s out of court and out of conflict.
If you are a family with young children, then your estate plan should begin with a foundation that ensures your children would always be taken care of, no matter what happens. At Legacy Law Group, one of our areas of greatest expertise is protecting minor children.
This is an agreement with three parties: the Trust-makers, the Trustees (or Trust Managers), and the Trust Beneficiaries. For example, a husband and wife may name themselves all three parties to create their trust, manage all the assets transferred to the trust, and have full use and enjoyment of all the trust assets as beneficiaries. Further “back-up” managers can step in under the terms of the trust to manage the assets should the couple become incapacitated or die. Special provisions in the trust also control the management and distribution of assets to heirs in the event of the trust maker’s death. With proper planning, the couple also can avoid or eliminate death taxes on their estate. The Revocable Living Trust may allow them to accomplish all this outside of any court proceedings.
Whether you are young or old, rich or poor, married or single, if you own titled assets such as a house and want your loved ones to avoid court interference at your death or incapacity, consider a revocable living trust. A trust allows you to bring all of your assets together under one plan.
Sometimes called an Advance Medical Directive, a living will allows you to state your wishes in advance regarding what types of medical life support measures you prefer to have, or have withheld/withdrawn if you are in a terminal condition (without reasonable hope of recovery) and cannot express our wishes yourself. Oftentimes a living will is executed along with a Durable Power of Attorney for Health care, which gives someone legal authority to make your health care decisions when you are unable to do so yourself.
What does Intestacy mean?
If you die without even a Will (intestate), the legislature of your state has already determined who will inherit our assets and when they will inherit them. You may not agree with their plan, but roughly 70 percent of Americans currently use it.
The document a person signs to provide for the orderly disposition of assets after death. Wills do not avoid probate. Wills have no legal authority until the willmaker dies and the original will is delivered to the Probate Court. Still, everyone with minor children needs a will. It is the only way to appoint the new “parent” of an orphaned child. Special testamentary trust provisions in a will can provide for the management and distribution of assets for your heirs. Additionally. assets can be arranged and coordinated with provisions of the testamentary trusts to avoid death taxes.
At Legacy Law Group, we believe in building lasting relationships with our clients. That’s why we offer a free assessment of your current estate plan every 3 years. Our commitment of keeping your plan up-to-date assures that it aligns with your evolving needs and circumstances, providing you with ongoing peace of mind.
Legacy Law Group offers three levels of planning to suit your varying needs, and you get to choose the level of planning that best fits your family. From starter plans designed primarily for families with young children and not yet much in the way of financial wealth, to more robust plans for well-established families concerned with matters of asset protection, preservation and increased growth, we have you covered. When we meet for your Family Wealth Planning Session, we will review our three planning levels with you, and you will choose our own fee based on your budget and the planning options that are most important to you and your family.
Wills and trusts are two of the most commonly used estate planning documents, and they form the foundation of most estate plans. While both documents are legal vehicles designed to distribute your assets to your loved ones upon your death, the way in which they work is quite different