Estate planning, in its simplest terms, is the preparation for one’s death or incapacitation. You should do it now, regardless of your age or health. It is important for each of us to recognize that substantial wealth or assets are not a factor in determining the need for estate planning. Ask any estate litigation lawyer why he has a job and he’ll tell you that poor or zero estate is the main source of his income.
The basic components of estate are: making a will, minimizing taxes by setting up trust accounts for beneficiaries, naming a guardian for living dependents, appointing an executor to enforce the terms of the will, ensuring the proper beneficiaries are named on 401(k)’s, insurance policies and IRAs, establishing funeral arrangements, setting up a program of annual gifting to reduce the taxes on the estate and establishing a durable power of attorney to direct other assets and investments.
As the list implies, accumulated wealth and assets take many forms. While you may not be flush with cash, there are other things, more precious, that deserve to be cared for in the event of your passing or your incapacitation, chief among them, dependent children. Naturally, the greater the value of the estate, the more complex planning becomes. There are attorneys, in fact, entire law firms specializing in estate planning, professional associations of estate planners, Trust Officers in the Trust Department of your local bank, financial planners with accreditation/certification in estate planning and accounting firms with accredited estate staff. Pick one!
There are many resources on the Internet that can be of value in helping you locate an estate planner in your area. Keep in mind that estate and probate law vary state to state, so prudence dictates that you select an estate planner from your home state. Of course, you’ll be working with an expert, but understanding what you want to accomplish is critical to the process and to achieving the desired result. If you know little or nothing about estate planning, it will be difficult for you to provide any direction over the process. Things could be overlooked and defeat the purpose of the entire exercise. You needn’t become an expert. Just familiarize yourself with the objectives, the language and the pitfalls. Even if you are a young man with his first child, a 401(k), no cash in the bank, credit card debt and a 25-year mortgage hanging over your head you need estate planning. In this author’s opinion, everyone can benefit from estate planning. Get off your hands and start the process! Your family will thank you for it, you’ll sleep better and except for updating things as your life circumstances change, you will have this chore behind you!
Trust In Enoch Utah
A Trust, generally, is a legal entity that can hold title to property. There are three parties to a Trust agreement: the Trustmaker who creates the Trust, the Beneficiary who receives the benefit of the property held in the Trust, and the Trustee who manages the Trust. The property that is transferred to and held by the Trust becomes the Trust principal. If you create a Trust within your Will, it is called a Testamentary Trust. If you create a Trust while you are alive, it is called an inter vivo or Living Trust. While you are alive, you usually will receive all the income of the Trust and as much of the principal as you request. Upon your death, the Trust assets are distributed to your Beneficiaries in accordance with your directions contained in the Trust agreement, or it can continue for specified purposes for a period of time.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Trust
The Main Advantages of a Living Trust:
• If you want or need to have someone else manage your property and pay your bills in case of illness or disability, the Living Trust is an ideal estate planning tool for you.
• Avoiding probate which can save time and money, especially if you own real estate in different states.
• Because a Living Trust is not filed in Court, its provisions are private. This differs from a Will, which must be filed with the Probate Court and becomes public.
• Reduction of delays in distribution of your property after you passes away.
• Continuity of management of your property after your death or incapacity/disability.
The Main Disadvantages of a Living Trust:
• There are usually more initial costs in setting up a Living Trust as compared to a Will because a Living Trusts generally requires more extensive, technical and complex drafting.
• Funding, which is the process of re-titling your assets in the name of your Living Trust, takes time.
• Administering the Trust can be expense depending on who is acting as Trustee.
Trust vs. Will: Which is Right for You?
How do you know if you need a Trust instead of a simple Will? Many people assume that Revocable Living Trusts are only for the wealthy, but Revocable Living Trusts have benefits even for the average person. If your life or financial situation fits into one or more of these categories, then you should consider a Revocable Living Trust.
Planning for Disability
Regardless of your net worth, and particularly if any of your assets are titled solely in your name, then you should consider a Revocable Living Trust for disability planning to avoid court-supervised guardianship or conservatorship.
Estate Planning for Minor Beneficiaries
Parents with minor children and who have life insurance policies or retirement plans with high values should consider a Revocable Living Trust. In the event both parents die while the children are still minors, the insurance or retirement funds will be placed in the Trust for the benefit of the children instead of in a court-supervised guardianship or conservatorship.
Estate Planning for Singles
Anyone who is single and has assets titled solely in their name should consider a Revocable Living Trust to avoid court-supervised guardianship and the costs and hassles of probate.
Tax Planning for Married Couples
If you are married and the combined estates of you and your spouse exceed the Federal exemption of $3,500,000 or your state’s exemption then you should consider establishing a Revocable Living Trusts to eliminate or avoid estate taxes.
Living Wills Make Your Estate Planning Complete
Arranging your estate has become more complicated in the recent past. A few decades ago, a simple ‘last will and testament’ was enough for most people to insure that all their affairs were taken care of. These days, those in the upper class are flocking to living trusts, which have their own set of difficulties. In addition, everyone is affected by increased health issues and how they affect your estate planning. While it is true that people are living longer today than ever before, and on balance that’s a great thing, there is an unintended consequence; more people are also developing health conditions that leave them either physically or mentally incapacitated. This has added another dimension to the estate planning process; the growing popularity of living wills.
A living will is essentially a directive that is set up for the purpose of determining what treatments you may or may not want and what surgeries to have if there comes a day when you are unable to make these choices on your own. In some states, this document is also referred to as a healthcare power of attorney with medical directive. You can set it up on your own, but this is one of those legal documents that you may be better off using the services of an estate planning attorney for.
Think about all the possible medical conditions that can occur that may leave you without the ability to decide on the kind of care you should have. You may have thought of 5 or 10 off the top of your head. But there are at least 10 times that many (or more) that could occur. For this reason, it helps greatly to have a professional who is experienced in this area to sit down and go through everything with you. Your Enoch, Utah estate planning lawyer will be familiar with all the possible scenarios that you would not have come up with on your own. He will also be able to explain it all in layman’s terms so you can understand them clearly and decide what is best for you. For example, there may be certain situations where you prefer not to have a major surgery, and would rather have a pain killer instead. There may also come a time when you are clinically dead but being kept alive on a respirator. These days, many people do not want to remain in a vegetative state. But if there is no written directive, your family members will likely be the ones to decide. And if there is a dispute among them, then it will likely be fought out in court, potentially causing a lot of bad blood among family members. With this one document known as a living will, you can put an end to all the speculation about what you ‘would have wanted’, because it will all be there in writing. This makes the living will a truly essential estate planning document for the modern age.
Tips For Hiring a Probate Attorney In Enoch Utah
Probate attorney specializes in establishing estate planning and managing probated estates. Probate is mandated in the Enoch Utah unless decedents establish trusts. The process is necessary to validate decedents’ last will, settle the estate, and distribute assets to named beneficiaries.
A Transactional probate attorney is used to handle estate administration duties. Transactional lawyers open the probate case and present Wills to the probate court. They provide assistance to the appointed probate personal representative and file legal documents according to protocol.
Probate Litigators are lawyers that specialize in managing estates enveloped in family discord. This type of attorney is required when heirs contest the last will, or are fighting over distribution of inheritance assets. Probate Litigators can mediate and negotiate on behalf of the estate administrator or can be appointed to manage the estate. When heirs contest the decedent’s last will and testament, they are initially responsible for legal costs. If a judge rules in their favor the estate must reimburse heirs or pay their legal counsel directly. Regardless of whether heirs win or not, contesting a will can tie up estate assets for months or years or bankrupt the estate, leaving nothing for beneficiaries.
When decedents own real estate their estate is responsible for maintaining the property throughout the probate process. Expenses can include home loan installments, property taxes and insurance, homeowner’s association dues, and necessary maintenance. These expenses can quickly cause financial hardship for the estate if proper estate planning measures are not in place.
Transactional lawyers are a good choice for handling intestate estates; meaning the person died without executing a valid will. Intestate probate is notorious for taking several months to settle. Transactional attorneys can help heirs organize documents, present documents to the court, appoint an estate executor, and represent the family in court.
It is best to interview three or more lawyers during the estate planning process. It is never a good idea to retain the services of probate attorney during the grieving process. However, if this cannot be avoided try to obtain referrals instead of scouting out lawyers on your own.
Estate management fees will vary depending on estate value, inheritance assets, whether the estate is testate or intestate, and how well family members get along. Another factor is state probate laws. Legal fees can be charged at an hourly rate, percentage, or gross value of the estate. It is imperative to understand legal fees prior to signing a contract. Oftentimes, the majority of the work can be performed by the estate administrator. Executors are compensated for their time and must keep record of time spent working on estate related matters. Administering an estate can be time consuming and emotionally draining. When designating an estate administrator it is important to choose someone who is good with finances, well organized, and able to work under pressure.
Probate attorneys in Enoch Utah can help individuals establish strategies to avoid probate altogether. Options include revocable and irrevocable trusts, life insurance trusts, and various other techniques which transfer financial assets and personal property to intended beneficiaries.
Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506