Estate Planning – The importance of Wills & Trusts

Estate planning may seem like an overwhelming and unnecessary undertaking
for those with modest income and assets, but it does not have to be. On first
blush, the term itself seems to be more appropriate for wealthy individuals who
have large bank accounts, high value property, businesses or other substantial
assets. However, estate planning including a will or trust is very important to
everyone of all income levels. If you do not plan the transfer of your property in
advance, the state will distribute the property for you. You should control the
ownership of your assets after death (or other key life event) by means of a will
or trust so that you can ensure your assets are in the hands of the people you
choose. For those of us with children, far more important than your assets, you
need to plan for the ongoing care and custody of your children if you should
come to an untimely demise.
A will is a written legal document that ensures the distribution of property and
assets among the people named as beneficiaries as well as addressing many
other issues such as guardianship for minor children or others needing ongoing
care. While creating or updating a will, it is essential to involve an
experienced estate planning attorney such as David R. Brewer.
If one does not have a will, the state will distribute the assets to heirs according
to its laws, and custody of children will be decided by a judge whom you do not
know, if it is not planned in advance by you.
A will names beneficiaries for assets such as bank accounts not already made
joint with right of survivor ship, real estate, and personal property, as well as
other assets. When a will undergoes probate, it will be in public domain so it is
important to draft it carefully with the help of a knowledgeable estate planning
attorney. If you already have a will it should be reviewed after any significant
life event that may impact beneficiaries, the persons you appoint as decision
makers, or the assets which are to be distributed. Additionally, your named
beneficiaries and decision makers should be reviewed periodically not only in
your will but also for assets such as IRA’s and other investment plans.
A trust is frequently used to reduce large estate taxes and to shield the transfer
of assets from being part of public record as an estate goes through the
probate process. The formation of the trust allows you to give your assets or
property rights to a trustee for the benefit of a third party beneficiary. These
beneficiaries can be family, friends or even a charitable organization. There
are numerous types of trusts that can be utilized to protect you and your
beneficiaries. Among these trusts are a Special Needs Trust, an Irrevocable
Life Insurance Trust, a Living Trust. Each trust is built to address specific
circumstances and you must look carefully at your needs to determine the
proper trust to be formed. When choosing a trust you want an experienced
estate planning attorney such as David R. Brewer to help you ensure the best
choice for you and your loved ones.
A trust can serve many purposes:
Your property can be transferred without the need for probate to family
members and/or others after your death.
Trust assets may be protected from creditors, divorce, and bankruptcy.
A trust can provide for the care of children from a previous marriage.
A trust is capable of managing your money and assets after your death and
ensuring your family’s financial needs are met.
A trust can allow you to donate to charity, all or part of an estate.
A trust can provide for the care of a disabled child or spouse.
A trust can provide for the financial needs of minor beneficiaries like
grandchildren in their younger years and subsequently distributing the assets
once they are a specific age.
Regardless of your income level, estate planning is as important as having
health insurance or filing your taxes.
Choosing the proper type of will or trust depends upon your individual needs
and choosing an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning attorney is
very important to meeting those needs. David R. Brewer and his team are
experienced, knowledgeable and will help you meet your needs and prepare
for the future.
Disclaimer –
The materials available within this article are for informational purposes only
and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an
attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of
and access to this Web site or any of the e-mails or links contained within the
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