If you don’t have a good estate plan, your state treasurer or an attorney may be the happiest beneficiaries when you die. Estate planning is the way of your family avoiding unnecessary taxation and high payments to an attorney that can erode your estate. Proper estate planning doesn’t have to cost a fortune and it puts you in control of the division of assets. It gives you control from the grave on the disposition of your items besides saving dollars that you want to go to your family.
When people get older they need to put their affairs in order. One of those things happens to be estate planning and putting your assets into a living trust or will. For people who live in Sun City AZ there’s no better estate planning attorney than Sharon Ravenscroft. She provides estate planning sun city az. Sharon has been involved with estate planning and helping people to get their finances together in the event they pass away for over 25 years.
All successful estate planning is the result of several professions working together for the good of the client. However, professionals of one group sometimes have misconceptions of professionals belonging to other groups. For example, the financial advisor may see the estate planning attorney as little more than a document scrivener. But this is far from the truth.
The most important part of estate planning is the creation of a will. If you die intestate, without a will, your state has a plan on how to dispose of your property. The state’s scheme uses blood relationships to determine who gets the assets of the estate. While you might have a specific person in mind for a treasured item you know they’d love and cherish, the state’s plan might give it to another who would never value it as much. Depending on the family that remains when you pass, it could also pass your estate to family members you don’t really like and bypass those that really care about you or took care of you.
You also name an executor or executrix for the estate in the will. This is the person in charge of distributing the property at your demise. It is best to name an alternate in the event that the primary executor is unable to do the job. You can use a spouse for this or a trusted child. This person overlooks the work of the attorney at the time of your death and arranges for the distribution of your property. If you worry about finding you’ll want someone else later, don’t. You can change any part of your will at any time.
List all the life insurance policies on your life or those you own. You also need to list the beneficiary of the policies for your estate planning checklist, the cash value, face value and ownership of each policy. Since life insurance becomes part of your estate, in most states and for federal taxation, these factors all become important for larger estates.
The final items to list on your estate planning checklist are pension plans, annuities, IRAs and other retirement plans. While these items aren’t included in your will unless you name your estate as your beneficiary, they are part of your estate and increase the value of your estate. You don’t use a will for these types of accounts since you name a beneficiary. Unlike a will, there is no delay in the recipient receiving the asset. It doesn’t go through probate and is incontestable.
Many people don’t want their assets listed in the paper and want to make transfer easier for their heirs. To accomplish this, they use a trust. Estate planning and trusts not only make it easier and faster for the transfer, but you also maintain more control on the disposition of assets and use a professional manager to protect your heirs from themselves or increase the value of the estate.
Trusts also are a way to minimize federal and state estate taxes when used properly. Often people with special needs children use trusts to make certain that there is adequate money available for their benefit. If your adult child is a special needs child, make certain that you work closely with an attorney so that your forethought doesn’t make them ineligible for Medicaid or other benefits.
While not everyone has a large estate, no matter what the size, it’s best to do estate planning and trusts if a trust is necessary. The initial phase of estate planning and filling out an estate planning checklist can take a while. However, once you have an estate plan, you’ll find that it’s easy to update it every four or five years if there are any changes.