Estate planning attorneys help you to prepare a legally valid last will and testament. When most people think of estate planning, a last will and testament is the first thing that comes to mind. A will can be an effective and powerful tool that gives you control over who inherits your money and property, but unfortunately creating a will is often not sufficient for truly achieving your goals for your legacy.
The good news is, there are many other estate planning tools that you can use that will allow you to protect your assets and provide for your loved ones in the best way possible. You just need to know when you need to use these tools and get the right help in implementing a comprehensive plan that works for your situation. Sinclair Prosser Gasior can help.
Give us a call today to get personalized advice on some of the tools that you should include in your estate plan. You can also read on to find out about some common situations when making a last will and testament isn’t enough to be the whole of your estate plan.
When You Have Heirs With Special Needs
If your loved one have special needs, simply leaving them money in a will could actually be detrimental. There are two big issues. First, the disabled person you leave money to may not be able to manage it effectively due to his or her disabilities. Second, if the disabled person who you leave money to is reliant on means-tested benefits such as Medicaid, simply making a direct gift in a will could cause a loss of access to important means-tested benefits. You don’t want to cause a loss of access to benefits so you’ll need to work with an experienced attorney to create a special needs trust.
When You Have Irresponsible Heirs
When you have heirs or beneficiaries who aren’t responsible with managing money, leaving assets to them in a will is likely to result in your hard-earned wealth being wasted. The money you provide could be quickly lost due to creditor claims, bankruptcy, or simply irresponsible spending. If you opt to create a spendthrift trust instead of just leaving money in a will, you can make sure an inheritance lasts a long time and is actually used to enhance quality of life rather than being squandered.
When You Own a Business
Owning a company requires you to create a business succession plan if you want to make sure your company survives after you are gone. If you simply transfer ownership of your organization through your will, you could potentially trigger estate tax if your company is valuable enough. This could lead to the sale of the company if you don’t have enough liquid assets to pay the estate tax and your loved ones cannot afford to pay. Even if you don’t owe estate tax, the delay in the transfer of ownership after your death as your will makes its way through probate could interfere with operations and adversely impact the company’s future.
When You Are Going to Owe Estate Tax
If your estate will owe estate tax, your heirs or beneficiaries could lose a lot of money that ends up being paid to the government. If you do not want your hard-earned wealth to be taxed just because of your death, you should work with estate planning attorneys to find out what options may be available to you for transferring assets without triggering estate tax.
Getting Help from Estate Planning Attorneys
These are just a few examples of situations when creating a last will and testament isn’t enough to constitute a comprehensive estate plan. There may be other issues specific to your situation that must be addressed as well. For example, if you hope to leave assets to underaged children, you may wish to create a trust or you may wish to specify under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act who should be put in charge of managing the assets until the child is an adult.
To find out more about whether a will is enough for your estate plan, and to get help exploring the other legal tools that you could use, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at 410-573-4818 or contact us online to get your personalized estate plan started.