Estate Planning

What documents are in a typical Estate Plan?JAMES_BAKER_POSTER_small

a.         Wills.  You appoint the fiduciaries, not the state.
b.         Trust.  A trust is a legal entity that is controlled by you.  The advantages of a trust include the following:

  1. It holds title to your assets, thereby avoiding probate courts with their costs and delays.
  2. It preserves each spouse’s $5,340,000 estate tax exemption.
  3. It can manage your estate if you become disabled.
  4. It protects your privacy because you do not have to expose your assets to the public scrutiny of the probate courts.
  5. It can manage the assets of minor or incapacitated heirs.

c.         Living Wills.  Living Wills keep you off the machine if you are brain dead.

d.         Special Powers of Attorney for Health Care.  You name an agent who can interface with doctors if you are incapacitated.

e.         Durable Powers of Attorney.  You appoint an agent to sign legal and financial documents for you if you become incapacitated.

f.          Counseling.  Regarding the treatment of insurance, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, real estate, money market accounts, retirement plans, and any other strategies needed to preserve your estate.

101058066What is a Trust?
A trust is a device that allows you to transfer legal title of your property to another person (or to yourself as trustee) to hold for the benefit of yet another person (beneficiary) in the cheapest and most effective way.  From Suze Orman’s “You’ve Earned It, Don’t Lose It!”

Why don’t more people have a Trust?

People don’t understand what a trust is and how it works because most general practice attorneys are not well versed in trusts and don’t explain them in an understandable way. Traditionally, too, the terms “trust” and “estate” have always been associated with the very rich. That just isn’t so anymore.

Suze Orman

Who needs a Complete Estate Plan?

  • Anyone who has now or plans on owning real estate property.
  • Anyone with minor children that would need a guardian in case of their parents’ premature death.
  • Anyone with a Bank, Credit Union, Brokerage, Money Market account or Life Insurance policy.
  • Anyone who would like to keep their family from paying probate fees and other taxes and fees to settle their estate after their death.


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