Our firm understands first hand how important estate planning is. Jonathan unfortunately lost his father in high school and his mother while in his first year of law school. His father's estate was not well planned and several heirlooms were lost, property was sold and the remainder was almost lost to the state by a negligent attorney. Thankfully, his mothers estate was more carefully planned as real property was put into a life estate, a trust for minors was established by the will and funded by her life insurance, while her retirement accounts transferred via beneficiary designations allowing for deferred taxation. Though both deaths were untimely and caused Jonathan to take on responsibilities of managing a farm and taking care of his elderly grandmother, it helped him realize the importance of having a well designed estate plan. He has one for his daughter and believes you should too.
1. Arrange guardianship and care for minors If you have children who are still under 18 and are considered your dependents, a will or estate plan can help prepare for their future. Without the appropriate estate plan, your children may be placed with someone you don’t prefer or even in the foster care system should you and your spouse pass away. An estate plan can make sure that your children are cared for by a family member or designated guardian who you trust. Further a trust for minors can help provide for any children should you pass away prematurely.
2. Make sure your assets go to the right people Even if you have a will, without a complete estate plan, some of your assets may be funneled through the probate process. This means there will be higher probate taxes and some of your specific gifts may be sold off. By creating an estate plan, you can structure the distribution of your assets however you want.
3. Plan your personalized healthcare if you are in an accident Estate plans can also provide for your end-of-life care with a healthcare proxy or a healthcare power of attorney. These documents predetermine your wishes about your end-of-life treatment preferences should you be unable to make these decisions on your own from an accident or disability. This document allows you to name someone you trust to make decisions in such a circumstance.
4. Plan for management of your assets. Are you particular about your financial and investment accounts, family home, business or farm. Do you want to protect what you’ve built for later generations. We are available to serve as your fiduciary to ensure your legacy endures.
5. Arrange Trusts Trusts are separate legal entities (like businesses ) that may contain assets that are managed by trustees for the benefit of your beneficiaries. These accounts can manage complex investments and real estate or special circumstances like taking care of a minor child or someone with special needs or just handle routine functions like avoiding probate and keeping family affairs private.
6. Designate an Executor An executor a person or professional you trust to take care of your estate when you pass. The executor is named in the Will and has the responsibility of dividing all property appropriately and make sure it is given to the correct person and that all debts are paid in the correct order in accordance to the courts rules. Additional accounting and inventory forms may be required as well, if they are not waived.
7. Business Succession Planning If you own a business, you will want to make a plan to either pass your business on to a child, a key employee or another buyer or risk losing all you’ve built. A business succession plan can take care of all of these arrangements and ensure that you have placed the future of the company you worked hard to build into the hands of a trusted heir.
8. Asset Protection Planning If you pass away in debt, creditors may try to come after your assets and use them to repay some of the debts that you have accumulated. Our team can help you arrange for asset protection through a variety of different asset protection techniques including trusts and LLC’s. Don’t lose family heirlooms in a debt collection action.
When you retain our legal team for our specialized estate planning services we take you through a simple step-by-step process outlined below:
Information Collection - We schedule a meeting to discuss your objectives, goals, current situation and review any existing documents. We need to know if you're a homeowner, business owner, single, married with children, previously married, or have adopted children or special needs children among other questions. Each circumstance requires a specific solution.
Recommendations - We prepare a priority list of recommendations regarding documents, naming fiduciaries, setting beneficiary designations, titling property and other preparations.
Document Preparation and Review - We will prepare your documents and send you drafts for review to make sure we get everything right. Below are some common documents as well as more specialized products.
Basic Estate Planning Documents:
Specialized Estate Planning Documents:
Document Execution - The final step is executing your documents. We will schedule a time for you to come in to have your final copies signed, witnessed, notarized and recorded.
Instructions - We send with your plan a customized set of instructions for you and your fiduciaries including a list of all documents, assets, liabilities, accounts, advisors etc. so that we may minimize the burden on your loved ones.
If you need help handling and administering an estate or trust, we can help.
Each situation requires a unique and personalized solution. Some folks need the bare minimum while others need a business succession plan. We will have an appropriate solution for your situation. Contact Us at 540-319-4111 or Info@TarrisLaw.com