Estate Planning & Family Wealth Planning Blog Posts

You bring your children into the world with love. You raise them with love. If you’re going all the way as a parent, you also create an estate plan to safely pass on your legacy of love as well as your assets. But does your plan simply leave your assets outright, so they pass directly to your children all at once? Or are they protected via a trust?

A trust is a must if you’re looking for true protection when passing on assets. Just as you protect your children from harm while you raise them, you can also protect them from any threat that could come from irresponsible behavior or external risk. The safest choice is to place the inheritance in a trust.

Trusts can be designed to protect assets from things like bankruptcy, creditors, lawsuits and even divorce. No one is immune from making a few mistakes during their lifetime, but that shouldn’t have to cost them their inheritance. If your child has a marriage that dissolves, for example, their future inheritance can be safely tucked into a trust, separating those assets from marital property and rendering them untouchable by an ex-spouse.

You can also set up a trust to distribute an inheritance according to your own wishes and for specific purposes, such as education, starting a business, maintaining a family vacation home, or whatever will benefit your children the most.

Gifting a large sum of cash to a 21-year-old is not usually considered best practice. Many parents leaving assets in trust choose to stagger distributions at certain age milestones, which helps children learn to manage their assets over time with the help of a trustee. Then, at a later age, the child can become the trustee with full control when they have the knowledge to make better financial decisions.

If your child is still a minor or has special needs, a trust is even more critical. Under the law, minors cannot inherit outright, so a trust is necessary to safeguard the assets for their benefit until they reach the age of maturity. The trust preserves assets for their benefit, names a trustee to oversee distributions, and does not disqualify them from receiving special government benefits like an outright inheritance would.

Inheriting in trust provides substantial benefits that an outright inheritance does not. We can help you plan for the safe, successful transfer of wealth to the next generation. Call our office today to schedule your Family Wealth Planning Session, where we can identify the best strategies for you and your family to ensure your legacy of love and financial security.

As hard as it is for all of us to “plan” for our deaths, doing so is one of the best things you can do for your family. Adding to their grief and pain by giving them no clue as to where to find your personal and business paperwork should not be a memory you leave behind.

Gather the following information in a folder and let your family know where they can find it in case you die unexpectedly or have a health crisis:

Advisors – Provide the name and contact information of any financial advisors, including attorneys, estate planners, CPAs, accountants, etc.

Bank Accounts and Safety Deposit Boxes – Bank name and account numbers for each bank where you have an account. Include PIN numbers for online banking. If you have a personal banker, include his or her name as well, with contact information.If you have a safety deposit box, record the name of the bank, the box number as well as contents of the box and location of the key.

Investment And Retirement Accounts – For investment accounts, provide the name of the brokerage, your personal broker, the location of your statement file, account and PIN numbers.For retirement accounts, provide contact information for plan administrators as well as account and PIN numbers.

Insurance – For all your policies – health, home, car, life, long-term care – provide the name and contact information for the agents as well as account numbers.

Health care – For your health care providers, give contact information for physicians, Medicare information and any other gap coverage you may have.

House – If you still have a mortgage on your home, provide information on your lender and payment due dates. Also provide the location of deeds and property titles. Include contact information for any home service providers – cleaning help, lawn care, etc.

Credit Cards – Make a photocopy of both sides of each credit card and provide balance and payment information.

Vehicles – Provide information on where titles and registration information are kept. Make a photocopy of your driver’s license as well.

Personal – Include a list of your friends and neighbors with email and phone contact information as well as all your email account log-ins and passwords.

This last bit of planning on your part will go a long way toward helping your family cope in the immediate aftermath of your death or incapacitation.

One of the main goals of our law practice is to help families like yours plan for the safe, successful transfer of your wealth to the next generation. Call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about a Family Wealth Planning Session, where we can identify the best strategies for you and your family to ensure your legacy of love and financial security.

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