Who should start planning?
If you have kids, are married, or have assets, it's recommended you have establish an estate plan. This will ensure everything will be managed in the most appropriate way in the event of your passing or incapacity.
When should you start planning?
NOW. The best time to start planning is TODAY. Unfortunately, you never know what may happen each day and sometimes the unexpected happens. The best gift you can leave behind for your loved ones is a plan for them to follow. The more prepared you are, the less conflict available for your family. The trauma of your loss will still remain, but having your final wishes clearly stated in a legal format, will help those you have left behind.
Wills may be simple documents on what should happen with your belongings in the event of a passing, especially if you have a simple estate, with little passing through the will. When you schedule an appointment to discuss updating, or creating your first, Last Will and Testament, we will ask lots of questions to find out what your options are.
Plans for Your Minor Children
When you have minor children, it is extremely important to make plans for the care of their persona and their inheritance.
Upon your passing, especially if in a tragic event both you and your spouse pass away, or you are a single parent, establishing a guardian for your children can save a lot of heartache and confusion. It is important that you designate a guardian that can immediately step in and care for your children. You should make sure you have that conversation with your choice to ensure that this person or persons is in agreement and is prepared for this responsibility.
In addition, if your children are beneficiaries of your will, trust, or other financial assets, it is important that you establish a trust and trustee who can monitor their assets until the children reach the age that you designate to receive their inheritance. This can be the person(s) that you have chosen for their care, or it can be another person or entity.
There are several different types of trusts that can be established to assist with your estate planning. Often, clients use Revocable Living Trusts that allow freedom for the Settlor(s) during their lives while also specifying how the Trust property will be divided among the beneficiaries upon death of the Settlor or Settlors.
These types of Trusts are excellent ways to avoid Probate.
In addition, there are other types of Trusts that may apply to your specific situation, including special needs trusts.
Transfer on Death; Payable on Death, Beneficiaries
Estate Planning is more than just your Final Will and Testament and perhaps a trust. You can have documents that allow property to be transferred on death, such as the deed to your home. This happens without having to go through or a trust account.
You can also ensure certain property such as bank accounts and retirement accounts go to your beneficiary or beneficiaries again, without going through the probate estate or trust.
Again, these are questions we ask and help you plan to avoid conflict and confusion for your loved ones.