Estate Planning is an important process for anyone, regardless of income or net worth. An estate consists of all the property and investments you own, including but not limited to houses, vehicles, bank accounts, life insurance policies, business interests and partnerships, and personal possessions.
Probate is a court-supervised process involving the transfer of assets of one's estate from a successor to their beneficiaries upon death. From time delays to court appearances, it can be a long, painful, and expensive experience for all involved. A revocable living trust is a popular estate planning method that eliminates the challenges of probate entirely. Oftentimes in a probate proceeding the greatest obstacle for the personal representative or attorney is to track down the deceased person's property and debts. However, with a revocable living trust, the Creators can rest assured that creditors will be paid and their assets will be properly protected and distributed to their loved ones. Instead of waiting months to receive right to property and assets in order to pay for your funeral, after-death expenses, and expenses associated with your estate, your loved ones can immediately gain control of your estate. The living trust eliminates confusion, uncertainty, and disagreement among all parties involved.
Additionally, as your goals and wishes change, your revocable living trust can be amended and revoked throughout your lifetime. Designations of Trust beneficiaries can be altered or eliminated entirely as life changes.
A will is a legal document that prescribes the distribution of assets after one's death. It is subject to probate and thus a matter of public record. Anyone can read it and see what was owned and who the beneficiaries are. After-death wishes and instructions are also found within the directives of a will, such as the desire for burial, cremation, or body donation.
Additionally, wills designate guardians for your minor guardians in the case of
A trust is a legal arrangement in which a "Trustee" holds the title of assets in the interest of "Beneficiaries." If the Creator becomes ill or incapacitated, the living trust controls the Creator's property for his or her benefit or for the benefit of others without the intervention of the court. A trust provides management during one's lifetime and after-death. It is not subject to probate and therefore maintains the privacy of the Creator and his or her heirs. Additionally, a living trust minimizes the amount of taxes of transferring property to your named beneficiaries. A trust can also designate the age at which your beneficiaries are to receive principal, clearly defining what and to whom assets are to be distributed.
Lastly, a well-prepared estate plan included a Health Care directive that nominates an Agent who acts on your behalf in the event of illness or incapacitation. This Agent ensures what actions should be received or refused by medical professionals.