Which Of These Powerful Secrets Could You Use To Build Your Ideal Estate Planning Legal Program
- Keep your estate settlement simple;
- Avoid the court-supervised Probate process when you die;
There are some things we just don’t like to think about, much less speak about. The universal truth is we are all going to pass away one day. The legacy you leave can either simplify the process of dealing with your personal and financial property, or it can be a worrisome burden for those you leave behind.
People often ask us to explain the difference between a revocable and an irrevocable trust. That’s a tough one because there are so many kinds of trusts and even irrevocable trusts can, within the terms of the trust, allow certain things to be revoked or amended. But here’s our answer.
Most people who consider forming a trust like the concept of a “revocable” trust. The word “revocable” implies that you can amend, undo, change, alter, or revoke the trust. When someone hears that a trust is “irrevocable,” they often get concerned because that implies that things are rigid, fixed, inflexible, and control is lost.
The typical “avoid probate” trust is a revocable trust. There is no requirement that the typical “avoid probate” trust be irrevocable. Your home and other assets must simply be titled in the name of your trust when you die.
Not all of a deceased person’s property has to go through probate. If the property had a properly designated beneficiary, such as an insurance policy, an IRA or a 401(k), those do not go through probate.
Additionally, because of Wisconsin’s marital property law, everything owned jointly by a married couple easily transfers over to the surviving spouse. However, if real estate is only in the deceased spouse’s name there may need to be a probate. Continue reading
Over half of American adults and approximately 92 percent of adults under the age of 35 have not written a will. Most assume they do not need a will because any assets left behind will automatically be inherited by family members. Although assets may be distributed according to state intestacy laws, the process can be lengthy. With proper estate planning, however, you may be able to avoid placing any additional emotional or financial burden on your family after your death.
It is a good idea to create a will once you begin acquiring assets or start a family. In addition to designating how your assets will be distributed upon your death, your will designates an executor who will manage them until they are distributed. If you are a parent, you should also select a guardian who is likely to survive until your minor children reach the age of majority in the event both parents pass away.
Other useful estate planning documents include a durable power of attorney and a healthcare proxy. A durable power of attorney will allow your designee to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. Similarly, a healthcare proxy allows a designee to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated and cannot do so yourself. By designating a power of attorney or healthcare proxy, you may save your family from being required to take the matter to court in the midst of an unexpected healthcare crisis.
When talking about families and inheritance, studies show that while financial assets are important, family values and family history take the driver’s seat. Most people treasure family stories and life lessons regardless of their age, financial situation, or race. A simple case would be comparing the reactions of siblings on two topics: a family legend or a new car. Chances are, the stories of the new car will stop after one month while the family stories will continue to be told and enjoyed for decades. This is because family stories, family values, and life lessons learned by members of the family are integral to its legacy.
A very recent study though shows that millennials think of inheritance as a “bonus” but expect to get that bonus – and are expecting large sums of up to $100,000. However, they are willing to lower that figure because many parents are already helping their adult children financially with student loans and other expenses.
An article published on www.Marketwatch.com reported that one in three Americans will “blow their inheritance” because they are not prepared to handle it. In fact, those who inherit money tend to spend it quickly and one-third end up with negative savings two years later.
Parents have a responsibility to teach their children money management so any windfall they get will be spent wisely. Inheritance, while a “bonus,” should not be just “fun money.” In today’s economy, a $1,000,000 inheritance does not even guarantee a comfortable retirement for a couple beyond their fifties. Continue reading
Traveling? The Eight Estate Planning Must-Dos before Departure
In 2014, the World Health Organization revealed that globally, there were 1.24 million road deaths, 1,320 deaths from airplane crashes, 78 deaths from train crashes, and over 4,000 deaths from motorcycle accidents. Statistically, though, motorcycle travel is the most dangerous, while train and air travel are safer.
If you are a farmer or a rancher, you are hardworking and dedicated. Your farm or your ranch is more than just a way to make a living — it is your legacy. You have spent your life building something that you can be proud of and that you want to pass down to your children so that they can preserve what you have built and they can continue to provide for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, if you do not make an estate plan, your land and your assets may be liquidated cutting your legacy short and ending your family’s unique lifestyle choice.
Estate planning is important for everyone but especially for those who own their own business such as farmers and ranchers. If you avoid making or updating an estate plan, your assets will be subject to state intestate laws. Instead of you deciding how your estate will be settled upon your death, the courts will make that decision for you. Below are three common estate planning mistakes farmers and ranchers make and how to avoid them.
Yes, they fit the broad definition of a blended family, but the story of the “lovely lady” and a “man named Brady” was, of course, simply that. A story. When turning off the TV and looking at today’s blended families, a first observation is how very unique and different they all are. (Or as one estate planner remarked: “If you’ve seen one blended family, you’ve seen one blended family.”)
A coherent strategy for the transfer of assets is, of course, crucial to the success of any estate plan. But the best-laid plans will fall far short of expectations if the trusts so carefully drafted are never properly funded.
If the trust is the car, the funding is the fuel. Without gas in the tank, that beautiful sedan with the precision engine is just metal on four wheels. It’s not going anywhere. The same holds true for an estate plan . Until it’s properly funded, the “plan” is just a plan – a plan that can’t be executed. Like the car with the needle on empty, it’s not going to take you anywhere.
With basic wills, most of the funding happens after death through the probate process. By contrast, a trust can – and should – be funded while the trust maker is still alive. With proper trust funding we can assure that the client’s designated assets will be governed by the terms of the trust agreement. Without it, assets not properly transferred to the trust will generally fall to probate.