Zach Lund is the lead estate planning attorney at Lund Law Offices. The local lawyers at this office take pride in providing estate planning that ensure your family and financial goals are met. So where do you start with estate planning? When you visit or call our office, we want you to feel comfortable discussing such an important issue concerning both you and your family. We want to arm you with the information you need to make an informed decision about your family's future.
A correctly written will is a legal document that determines what happens to your property after your death. A will states who receives property and in what amounts. Property distributed under the terms of the will become the "probate" estate. Making a will is a responsibility, as well as a right that is protected by law. In addition to distributing or transferring property, a will may have other functions.
Estate planning is the process by which an individual or family arranges the transfer of assets in anticipation of death. An estate plan aims to preserve the maximum amount of wealth possible for the intended beneficiaries and flexibility for the individual prior to death. A major concern for our estate planning lawyers is meeting both federal and state tax law requirements for every plan.
A well defined trust is an important part of any estate plan. When you want to leave money to your minor children a trusts ensure that money, managed by a trustee, is set aside and made available to them when they reach a certain age. Trusts are often complex, time consuming to set up and oversee, and cost you money. So you should have a good reason to go to all this trouble.
Your assets include your investments, retirement savings, insurance policies, and real estate or business interests. Develop a list and consider how you would like your estate handled. Ask yourself three questions: Whom do you want to inherit your assets? Whom do you want handling your financial affairs if you're ever incapacitated? Whom do you want making medical decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself?
A will tells the world exactly where you want your assets distributed when you die. It's also the best place to name guardians for your children. Dying without a will -- also known as dying "intestate" -- can be costly to your heirs and leaves you no say over who gets your assets.
Trusts are legal mechanisms that let you put conditions on how and when your assets will be distributed upon your death. They also allow you to reduce your estate and gift taxes and to distribute assets to your heirs without the cost, delay and publicity of probate court, which administers wills. Some also offer greater protection of your assets from creditors and lawsuits.
1. It does not matter what your net worth, it's still important to have a basic estate plan in place.> 2. Any reasonable estate plan contains the following. A will; assignment of power of attorney; and a living will or health-care proxy (medical power of attorney). For some people, a . . .more...