How does anyone know if they need estate planning? It’s simple, every adult needs estate planning. The question is what kind?
Everyone’s estate, family situation and goals are unique. Therefore, there is no cookie cutter approach that is appropriate. There are a number of tools that can be used and customized to fit your particular situation.
These tools can include Wills, Marital Property Agreements with Washington Will Provisions, Financial and Medical Powers of Attorney, Revocable Living Trust, Asset Protection Trust, Life Insurance Trust, Charitable Trust, Trusts to protect beneficiaries from divorces and lawsuits, and many other legal “tools”.
The first step is to sit down for a complementary consultation to discuss your particular goals, situations and then be educated as to the various options you have to accomplish and ensure that your goals are met.
Estate planning is not about how much money you have, it’s about protecting what you have during your life and for those you love after you are gone. It ensures what you have is received by the people you love, when you want, and the way you want. Most confusion in estate planning comes from not knowing where to get good information on options.
Many people tell us that they have already done it with their financial advisor, banker, or CPA. There are two aspects to estate planning, legal and financial.
Financial advisors, bankers, CPAs, and other financial professionals can assist you with the management and growth of your assets and avoidance of taxes, but they cannot assist you with the legal work necessary for estate planning. Proper legal estate planning ensures the necessary legal documents are in place to keep you in control of your assets as long as you are able and when you are not, to put people you trust in control with sufficient instructions to guide them on how to use those assets for your benefit or the benefits of the people you love.
In addition, a proper estate plan will not only identify who’s in control and who benefits, but when. Upon your disability you will want to ensure your loved ones are provided for and your needs are met as well.
Upon your death you’ll be able to again identify who gets the benefits and who gets to control those assets. After your death it is much more cumbersome because other parties, i.e. new spouses or creditors etc. can attempt to go after your money.
There are also various taxing strategies that can be included in your legal estate plan to minimize or avoid taxes. Only a lawyer can do this!
You can even provide instructions for your children to inherit in a manner with full use and access without being accessible to their spouses in divorce, nursing homes, lawsuits, or other outside sources. So whether you have $40,000.00 or $400,000.00, you have worked hard for it.
Legal estate planning will ensure it is there for you until you no longer need it and to make sure it gets to those you love when you are done with it.