Common Estate Planning Questions

An estate plan ensures that the wealth you have worked so hard to accumulate, will pass to the loved ones of your choosing.  It saves time and money for your loved ones as oftentimes it eliminates the need to probate.  An estate plan also helps to ensure your final wishes are carried out.

A Will is a legal document that states where you would like your assets to go when you pass away.  A Will must go through a legal process called Probate to be validated.  Probate is a legal process where your will is validated and becomes public record. A will does not take effect until you pass away.  A living trust is a document that can allow your estate to avoid the probate process.  If all of your assets are titled in the name of the trust instead of in your individual name, your loved ones will not have to probate your will. A living trust goes into effect as soon as it is created and can help you to build your wealth and protect your assets during your lifetime. A living trust can also help to avoid federal estate tax.

If you are unable to care for yourself or handle your affairs and you do not have an estate plan in place, the courts will appoint a guardian, of their choosing not yours, to handle your affairs for you. This process is made public and can be expensive and time consuming.

Absolutely!  In fact, most people that create a living trust are their own trustee.  If you are married, you can appoint your spouse as co-trustee of your trust.  Being the trustee of your trust allows you to keep complete control of your assets in the trust.  Should you become mentally or physically disabled, the successor trustee of your choosing (not the courts) will assume control of your assets.

The federal estate tax is a tax levied on the net value of a deceased person’s estate before any transfers are made to beneficiaries.

Estate taxes are owed on estates whose net value exceed the federal exempt amount set by congress at that time.

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