If you’re a widow or widower, then estate planning secures your children’s future at any time after your death. In case you’ve remarried or divorced, planning your estate also secures your second spouse’s future and her children from another marriage aside from your own kids with your first wife or husband. A well-planned estate also addresses questions about the share of ex-spouses with your estate and whether the validity of a prenuptial agreement takes precedence over your will or not. During the planning process, you and your estate lawyers discuss the terms and conditions in distributing your assets and paying for taxes in three major areas, namely your wills, trusts and probates.
Drawing Up Your Last Will and Testament
In drawing up your will, which takes effect after your death, you need solicitors and financial advisors to help you assess the totality of your assets and liabilities. However, decisions on which assets go to which beneficiary solely depend on you. Your lawyers are there to advise you of which beneficiary takes a greater portion of your estate and how you can protect beneficiaries who are still minors and lack the legal right to control their inheritance. One way of determining which of your non-investment properties goes to which heir is to ask your children and your spouse which heirloom or valuable collection they expect to get as part of their inheritance.
Your children and your spouse (current or otherwise) may seem to get along nicely right now, but soon after your death, disagreements and distrust quickly arise between them. Be as detailed as possible in distributing the items and stating their worth. Be careful in bequeathing family assets to third-party beneficiaries, such as charitable organizations or research institutions. These may be noble endeavors worthy of pursuing, but in the matter of planning a comfortable future for your heirs, only a small portion of your estate should be allocated to these types of beneficiaries.
The Difference Between a Living Will and a Living Trust
Specifically, a living will mostly applies to situations when the individual has lost the ability to make decisions regarding his or her medical treatment and whether he or she wants to continue it. For example, a cancer patient who has fallen into a vegetative state may need a living will to state that he or she doesn’t want a spouse or any family member to extend his or her life when the chances of survival seems unfavorably slim. This document may also assign a family member to make critical decisions regarding the person’s medical and physical therapy options. Mostly, a last will differs in function and form from a living trust, which aims to protect a portion of the individual’s estate for the benefit of someone who doesn’t have the capacity to manage it. Unlike a last will, a living trust isn’t subject to spending months or years in probate courts. The probate process generally involves clerical work, like filling up the forms and filing them in court. However, the attorney’s fees and the probate costs could prevent your heirs from receiving their inheritance immediately after your death. Also, properties you’ve left under a living trust aren’t included in your last will. So, the beneficiary of these properties won’t be charged any inheritance tax.
Of Probates, Trusts and the Last Will
Essentially, probate covers the legal proceedings in distributing a person’s wealth over his or her heirs. For instance, deeds to the house and some lands must be transferred to the beneficiary’s name. The process takes up time and may cost a lot of money, which becomes a problem when the heirs can’t pay the probate attorney or the court’s filing fees. And so, many individuals planning their estate opt to put valuable properties in a revocable living trust to protect their family’s inheritance.
The terms in a revocable living trust may be changed as your circumstances in life also change. The names of beneficiaries are included just like with a last will, but minors may be bequeathed with real estate properties, financial investments, or businesses managed by a trustee. Often, the person’s living trust increases in size after his death when a pour-over will takes effect. This kind of Last Will simply transfers the deceased person’s properties into the trust to maintain the privacy of the family. A well-planned estate must have a last will as well as a living trust for valuable properties especially reserved for certain beneficiaries, including children.
The Real Estate Licensing Process
There is no doubt that a career in real estate can be very advantageous, as well as exciting. Of course, in order to obtain a career in this field, the first thing that you will need to do is go through the real estate licensing process. This does not need to be difficult, as long as you have a good idea of what it is that you will be facing. Here, we will take a closer look at some of the most important things that you should know when it comes to real estate licensing.
One of the things that you may be wondering about is what type of requirements there are for you to be eligible for real estate licensing. For starters, you need to be of at least eighteen years of age. You also must have graduated from high school, or have obtained a degree of equivalency, such as a GED in order to go through the real estate licensing process. Before you can take the exam that is required for real estate licensing, the first thing that you will need to do is learn more about what other requirements your state has prior to the real estate licensing process. Most states will require you to take a course, or some form of training before you will be eligible to complete the real estate licensing exam. These types of real estate training courses are often offered by community colleges or real estate schools. You should be able to find one within your local area. It is important to make sure that you learn about all of the state requirements beforehand. Completing them is the first step of the real estate licensing process, as you cannot continue the process without these requirements.
Once you have completed all of the requirements of your state, the next thing that you will need to do is find a test center which offers real estate licensing. The cost of this examination will vary according to where you live, but it is typically around a hundred dollars. Keep in mind that is necessary for you to get your real estate licensing done from the state that you are planning on working in. For example, if you are planning on working as a real estate agent in Sunset Attorney, you would not want to get your real estate license in Washington.
In order to prepare yourself for the real estate licensing examination, it is important to make sure that you look over all of the information that you learned in your real estate classes. It will also be very beneficial for you to buy a real estate licensing test kit, which will provide you with a good idea of what types of questions you can expect to see on the real examination. Keep in mind that if you do not pass your real estate licensing test the first time, it is quite okay. You will be able to take it again, but you will probably need to wait a certain period of time. Once you have actually passed the real estate licensing examination, you will be ready to find a job with a reputable real estate agency to work for. While you may have to spend money, time and hard work to get through the real estate licensing process, you will find that it is well worth it in the end.
Why You Should Not Put Property In Your Child’s Name As Part Of An Estate Plan
A good portion of parents with children eventually want to pass on the property they own to their children. Some might think that it is a good idea to put their real estate, home, property, or land in the name of their children while they are still alive. This type of estate plan can be easy to set up and can most likely be done without a lawyer, but it is full of dangers and risks that can pop up and bite you if you are not careful.
Titling your property with a child jointly or what is called in most states joint tenants with right of survivor-ship is an easy way to pass on property to that child. When you die, the property automatically passes to that child without having to go through the probate process. The title must simply be changed from joint ownership to that child’s name after you die and the title will then be in that child’s name. There are numerous reasons why doing this could be a bad idea though. One of the most common reasons that joint ownership with a child may be dangerous is that the child has an ownership interest in the property before you die and this interest could be subject to divorce proceedings, the IRS, or other creditors that your child may have.
Your ex son or daughter in law or your child’s creditor can assert their interest in your property while you are still alive because the property is in your child’s name. Your child could be entitled to force you to sell your house if they feel that you are unable to care for yourself anymore and would be able to share the proceeds. Your child could also move their family in with you and become permanent guests. It is much better to maintain control over the title of your house and pass your interest after you die to avoid any potential problems. This can either be done through a will or living trust. When you are in control of the property no one else that has problems can interfere with your right to live in that property while you are alive or pass it on to others when you die. Losing the right to live in your own house is a potentially steep price to for not having a proper estate plan in place. A will or living trust protects yourself and your family.
Should I Hire an Estate Planning Lawyer?
One of the biggest questions many families face is whether or not their loved one should hire an estate planning lawyer or not. Not only are there are a large number of lawyers qualified for this task, but there are likely many friends and family members in your address book who could refer you to one if the question of who to hire comes up. When it comes to ensuring your loved one’s affairs are in order, an estate-planning lawyer is an asset.
Lawyers who are adept in estate planning can help with the following:
• Writing wills and trusts: few people realize that, if you are the beneficiary or otherwise listed anywhere else on the will, you cannot sign the will as a witness. This fact is one of the biggest reasons why wills become invalid. Keeping all the documents in order, ensuring they follow the law, and making sure all the signatures are legal are some of the many tasks your estate-planning lawyer will handle. Your estate-planning lawyer will also conduct all updates to your wills and trusts as life changes occur.
• Establishing a power of attorney: there are a few different types of powers of attorney, and several reasons why there are differences. This is a confusing reality, particularly if you’re in the middle of a crisis situation. Your lawyer specializing in estate planning will tell you which type of power of attorney is necessary, and which is not. It is very important that you have all the proper documents in order and everything is in place in case there is an emergency.
• Retirement planning: the sooner people plan their retirement, the better. Gone are the days of depending on various government benefits to see us through during our golden years. Instead, we must plan in advance. Few people realize estate-planning lawyers play an integral role in retirement planning. Your lawyer will work with your financial planner and other professionals to ensure your plan is properly put together. Don’t be frustrated if your loved one doesn’t want to hire an estate planning lawyer. This isn’t an uncommon reaction because, often times, individuals believe the end of their days are near and that they’re going to lose control of their property, and they are not going to be able to make their own financial decisions any longer. Reassure them that this is not the case, and they will still have full control over all decisions regarding their estate until there is medical need calling for alternate decision making through a power of attorney. Make sure they are also part of the decision making process because it is, after all, their estate in question.
Before making your final decision as to who to hire as your estate-planning lawyer, hold many interviews with lawyers in order to ensure there’s a good rapport and the credentials you want to see are in place. Remember, you are going to be working with this Sunset Utah lawyer for a long period of time, as well as their associates, so you must be able to establish a good working relationship with them. If you feel like you can’t get along with them during the interview, contact additional lawyers until you feel confident you’ve made a good long-term decision.
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
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