The Facts You Need About Trusts and Estates
Believe it or not, you have the power to ensure the future financial security of your loved ones, in your absence, through the impact of solid estate planning.
With a combination of useful estate tools that match your specific situation — a will, one or more revocable or irrevocable trusts, a durable or medical power of attorney and advance health care directive — you can provide for loved ones and spare them the expense and inconvenience of probate proceedings.
Who can help you do this? We can, at Stevenson Smith Hood Knudson P.C. in Ogden, Utah. Our experienced, insightful estate attorneys relate to you as clients and as human beings who want only the best for your survivors.
Honest, Affordable, Dependable Estate Planning And Probate Representation
Forward-looking estate planning anticipates a range of legal issues such as tax consequences, incapacitation, financial and medical decision-making, and close attention to the unique demands of a special needs child. We explain the many options at your disposal and finalize your wishes in airtight documentation that can withstand any challenge.
You may have been under the impression that estate planning featuring wills and trusts is only for retirees — but no. Anyone, regardless of age, income, marital status or size of estate would be wise to pursue a proactive estate plan as soon as possible. Your loved ones will thank you for it.
Why Create An Estate Plan?
You don’t have to be a millionaire to benefit from an estate plan. Reasons to create an estate plan are as unique as the individuals who create them. If you own a home, have minor children and/or grandchildren, grown children in their own marriages, have been divorced, own a business, or expect to receive an inheritance of your own, you need to take action now.
Here are the common reasons you need to not only build and protect your hard-earned money, but protect it with as little depletion and expense as possible. With a proper estate plan in place, you can plan ahead to:
1. Designate who will manage your affairs if you become disabled and when you pass away. If you fail to do so, the court will decide for you. You never know who the court will appoint. Keep control of your own decisions!
2. Plan for Medicaid and its impact on your estate if you must go into a nursing home. Nursing homes today can cost as much as $100,375 per year or more, and a long-term stay can easily impoverish all but the wealthiest families. With proper planning, however, you can shelter assets and keep your family’s wealth intact. Because over two thirds of those who reach the age of 65 will be placed in a nursing home for any period of time, it becomes painfully clear this type of planning is extremely important.
3. Avoid probate, during your lifetime and when you pass away. Do you want the court controlling you or your assets? Probate proceedings are public, expensive, time-consuming and should be avoided whenever possible. Leave your money to your heirs immediately, privately and efficiently by establishing a proper estate plan.
4. Protect children from a prior marriage if you pass away first. Second marriage planning can be complex and tricky. Expert legal guidance is needed to ensure your assets are preserved and that your children from your first marriage receive their or a proper share of their inheritance.
5. Protect assets inherited by your heirs from lawsuits, divorce and other claims. Make sure your assets are inherited by your loved ones, not the people you don’t want to receive them, such as their ex-spouses, in-laws, creditors or the IRS.
6. Impose discipline upon children and/or grandchildren who may not be capable or experienced in managing money. Make sure your children and/or grandchildren spend their inheritance wisely. Protect their inheritance against inexperience and mismanagement by including specific conditions and rewards in your estate plan.
7. Provide for special needs children and grandchildren. Special considerations and planning are needed to avoid the loss of governmental benefits.
8. Ensure that a specific portion of your estate actually goes to grandchildren, charities, etc. Without planning, the state will decide who inherits your assets… NOT YOU! Planning your estate ensures your intentions and directions are followed.
9. Protect a portion of your estate if you pass away first and your surviving spouse remarries. Special Trusts can be set up to protect your surviving spouse and ensure that your assets don’t end up in the wrong hands. Take action now to protect your family.
10. Address different needs of different children. No two children are alike. Customized estate planning can assure that each child’s personal needs are addressed in the manner you deem best.
11. Prevent or discourage challenges to your estate plan. Establishing a Revocable Living Trust now makes it more difficult for objections when you are no longer around to speak for yourself.
12. Encourage and reward heirs who make smart life decisions, and prevent the depletion of your estate from those who do not. There can be a point at which giving a child more money can make them less productive and less happy. A Family Incentive Trust can be tailored with financial incentives which encompass your family values and goals to encourage and motivate your children. Such a trust can be a loving way to support your children while inspiring them to be productive members of society and fostering their sense of self-worth.
13. Assure an education for children, or grandchildren, despite what they (or their parents) dream of doing with the inheritance. Establishing an Educational Trust can assure that your children and/or grandchildren use their inheritance for education and not fund a vacation in Las Vegas.
14. Plan for a “Brady-Bunch” family estate plan and assure the step-parent doesn’t spend your children’s inheritance and/or provide for a spouse without sacrivicing the intended legacy for children of a prior marriage. Divorce and second marriages can have devastating effects on the inheritance you intend for your children if your estate plan is not reviewed and updated. Often times, the original “traditional” estate plan will not meet the needs or provide the protection needed for your new blended family, so proper planning is imperative.
15. Pursue charitable goals you may not otherwise feel you can afford. Considerably cutting probate expenses allows you to also leave a legacy to a charitable organization you admire.