A trust is a legal tool that allows the creator to have greater control over his or her assets. Depending on the structure of the trust, the legal tool can result in tax benefits, shelter assets from creditors and even guide how money is used in the future.
As discussed in our previous post, When is an Equal Distribution of Assets a Bad Idea?, available here, splitting assets does not always work out as we may intend. This post will discuss some proactive steps you can take to better ensure an equal inheritance.
Ideally, an estate plan should be an evolving set of documents. These legal tools should change and grow with you — not remain static. Those who put together an estate plan and forget it are less likely to have an estate plan that truly reflects their desires then those who review the documents and make updates.
An estate plan can ease the transfer of assets. This includes everything from a family home to less tangible assets, like stocks. Here are three examples for the best way to discuss the transfer of stocks:
Estate planning provides the opportunity to review and account for all assets. Most people have plans that include tangible forms of property, retirement accounts, stocks, bonds and business interests. But did they remember to include digital assets?
Those who are looking to bequest collectibles within an estate plan are wise to have an accurate appraisal completed for the items. Getting an accurate appraisal for these keepsakes can be difficult.
Control. This is arguably the most well-known reason to get a will. Those who create a will can control how assets are distributed. Without this document, the state will decide how these assets are distributed.
Choosing a guardian for your child is difficult. The process is more than just a legal decision, it is full of emotion. It is often tempting to delay the conversation — especially when everyone is young and in good health. However, as noted in our last post, an estate plan is important for everyone, even young families. This decision is more than just a box to check off a to-do list, it is an important step towards ensuring the future well being of your family.
Estate planning is not just for senior citizens or those preparing for retirement. Three reasons even young families need an estate plan include:
The major holiday gift giving period is largely over. Hopefully you got all that you hoped for. In some families, some fun may have been had by exchanging so-called white elephant gifts. What that means is that someone might have wound up with one of late Uncle Murd's special collectibles, like the "Oh, So Comfy" Dachshund plate.