You are working hard – building wealth, utilizing retirement accounts, and maybe already talking with financial advisors. You have a clear path to the goals you set for yourself long ago – even if they may have changed a bit as life ebbs and flows. So, what happens next? We hear a lot about planning for retirement, but estate planning is equally important. The latter requires foresight, but it also ensures that your loved ones are taken care of and that your hard work now can still benefit them later. To efficiently protect your well-cultivated retirement assets from creditors, and distribute them to your chosen beneficiaries, a See-Through Trust should be explored and created. See-Through Trusts are a key estate-planning tool, but there are a few things you should know before moving forward.
It’s the new year and with that comes new goals! Usually, people vow to get in better shape or to save money for something big. However, we tend to start off strong and have no follow-through. Creating an estate plan is a lot like getting into better shape. We all know we should do it, but most of us never make it to the finish line because the task seems daunting.
With the COVID-19 pandemic at large and death rates continuing to rise, the US now has more known cases than both China and Italy. During this current crisis, it’s best to remain calm and use this “stay well at home” time to do things you’ve been putting off. One such thing that may be worth considering during this unprecedented situation is setting up an estate plan.
The legendary rivalry between superstars Prince and Michael Jackson apparently extends beyond the grave in terms of whose estate is more difficult to navigate. While Michael Jackson had a valid will when he died, controversy surrounded the appointment of an executor, and there remains an ongoing battle between the Jackson family and government agencies regarding the actual value of the estate. Meanwhile, Prince, notoriously shrewd in business and control of his art and image, didn’t even leave a will. Having died unmarried with no children (despite the numerous claims of a variety of pretenders to his throne), his statutory heirs comprise of siblings and half-siblings, and up to half of his estate will be paid to state and federal tax agencies. Of course, the federal government and state of Minnesota are claiming the Purple One’s holdings are worth much more than the heirs claim, meaning his tax bill will be greater as well. Moreover, the famous vault of unreleased material might double the value of his estate. Had Prince done some basic estate planning, he could have selected specific beneficiaries and avoid probate altogether.
Planning for distribution of an estate following death is commonly considered a legal process that is only necessary for wealthy individuals, but the truth is that everyone has a need for some form of estate planning. Every young person with children needs an established will and directive regarding disbursement of personal property and dependent children guardianship in the event of an untimely tragedy. Even possessions as simple as furniture or vehicles are considerations when evaluating what would happen in the event of death or incapacity. Incapacity is another issue that many do not consider either, which can be especially important for young single parents. Everyone needs some form of an estate plan, regardless of the total value of their personal holdings, because passing away intestate can produce results that no one may want. The answer is developing a comprehensive legal directive, usually done most effectively with the counsel of an experienced estate planning attorney such as Lowthorp Richards.