Estate Planning Challenges and Techniques
Estate Planning Challenges
Estate Planning, what I sometimes call inheritance planning, presents several challenges.
Find The Right Attorney
The attorney is an essential part of your estate planning team. He or she plays an integral part in helping point out the problem areas and prepares a plan to reduce or eliminate potential snags.
Not only is probate costly in money, but it is also costly in the amount of time it takes to complete the process. The average probate can take from nine months to two years. During that time your heirs will have to wait to receive their complete inheritance until, at last, the probate is concluded.
While we all like to think of our affairs as being a private matter, the probate process airs all our laundry for anyone to see. Probate is a public process. This means that anyone who chooses, can go to the courthouse and see exactly how much you had and who you left it to. Many salesmen use the probate files to obtain leads. Kind of twisted don’t you think?
Estate Planning Techniques
When you die, something has to happen to your property. You can control where your property will go or you can let the state, by way of statute, distribute the property. Needless to say it is usually better for you to take control rather than the state.
Ways to Convey Property at Death
If you want to direct where your property will go, then you have some choices to make as to how you want to accomplish this. For example:
Joint Ownership and Beneficiaries
A trust, like joint tenancy, avoids probate by transferring the property before the death of the individual, resulting in little or no estate to probate. By making the individuals who transferred the property co-trustees, the complete control over the property remains with these individuals just as if they owned it. The surviving trustee however is obligated to transfer the assets of the trust as is directed by the individual who created the trust, upon the death of the other trustee. Not only does the use of a revocable living trust eliminate the intrusion of the state in the form of the probate system but it also allows the family to possess an estate valued at a total of $5 million without paying death taxes to the federal government.
Click here to the next phase, Probate Explained.