Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Two More Good Reasons to Plan Your Estate

As noted in our previous post, people often ask about why it is important to have an estate plan. Here are two more good reasons:
  • Allows you to protect yourself and your loved ones in the event you become disabled. Without powers of attorney for financial matters and health care, if you become disabled, your loved ones will be dealing with the courts, which is costly, time consuming and stressful.
  • Save your heirs taxes, time in settling your affairs, surety insurance premiums and legal and accounting costs. Did you know that the tax rate for accumulation trusts has increased significantly under recent changes to our tax laws and particularly under Obamacare? It is important that if you have a trust that you have it reviewed to ensure that the income is distributed, not accumulated.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Two Good Reasons to Plan Your Estate

People often ask about the importance of creating their estate plan.

Naturally the various reasons why a family should do so will vary depending upon their circumstances. Generally speaking, here are two good reasons to plan your estate:
  1. Allows you to protect any inheritance from children's divorces and lawsuits. Trusts can be drafted so that the inherited assets can be protected from a bad marriage, or a personal claim.                                    
  2. Assurance that a disabled child or loved one will be taken care of and won't lose public benefits, if needed.    
We'll provide additional "good" reasons to plan your estate in our next post...                                  

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Avoiding Probate...

Estate planning and how to avoid probate
There are a number of different ways of holding assets that will avoid probate. 

The simplest is probably just joint ownership, such as a piece of real estate held as joint tenants or a bank account held jointly. This type of assets will pass automatically to the other joint owner when the first owner dies – but keep in mind, there will still be a probate at the second death. 

Another way to avoid probate is by assets which have designated beneficiaries, such as an insurance policy or a retirement plan (such as an IRA). These assets will pass to those beneficiaries when the owner of the asset dies.

Still another way to avoid probate is to hold assets in a revocable trust.