Estate planning can be as simple or as complicated as is necessary to meet an individual's identified needs. For some, a basic will with easily understood provisions is enough to bring their estate planning goals into reality. Others, though, require much more detailed documentation. This may be due to their high net worth, or it may have to do with the restrictions they wish to place on their estate's assets upon passing. Either way, estate planners need to ensure that they fully understand the legal ramifications of all the legal agreements they enter into.
Trusts are common tools used in estate planning and can be utilized to distribute assets with certain conditions attached to them. For example, assets maybe left to a beneficiary with strict rules that the proceeds of the assets contained within the trust can only be paid out when the beneficiary turns a certain age. There are a wide variety of trust types, each with their own benefits. This is why it is imperative that those engaging in estate planning fully discuss their estate planning options with an attorney of their choosing.
There have been a number of famous people pass away lately, and each one has left a story to tell about how they chose to handle their estate. A few months ago, for example, we discussed how famed singer Aretha Franklin neglected to engage in estate planning, thereby leaving her assets open to creditor claims and the grasp of all individuals who feel they are entitled to a share of the estate.
While most people think of estate planning as a major endeavor, and it is to a certain extent; however, it is not a goal that is obtained and then forgotten about. Instead, estate planning should be something that an individual engages in on an ongoing basis. Failing to do so, in conjunction with changed circumstances, could result in unwanted and unintended consequences that leave an estate and its beneficiaries facing uncertainty.
Last week on the blog we discussed how a special needs trust can be utilized as a way to better ensure that an individual qualifies or continues to qualify for certain government benefits like Medicaid. The special needs trust is a highly specialized type of trust that serves a specific purpose, that being providing resources for individuals who are in need of medical care. While this trust can be quite important and is found in many estate plans, it is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the only trust type available to Arizonans who are engaging in estate planning.
Most people who think of estate planning think about the process where a plan is devised to distribute assets to loved ones upon that individual's death. Of course, this makes up a significant portion of estate planning, but it doesn't account for all of it. Powers of attorney, for example, dictate who will make important financial and health decisions in the event that an individual becomes incapacitated. Another aspect of estate planning involves considering the potential need for long-term care.
One of the great things about estate planning is that it is a customizable process. Depending on your needs and the way in which you want your assets distributed upon your death, you can tailor your estate plan accordingly. While this is a relief to many, it can also seem overwhelming to others as they may quickly become confused about the options available to them, or they may simply become too complacent to modify an estate plan to mirror their current situation. This can be problematic, which is why we strive to educate our readers about the many estate planning vehicles that they may utilize to further their and their estate's best interests.
Estate planning is important for a variety of reasons. Amongst those reasons are the protection of an estate's assets. Although a will may be able to help delineate how property is to be distributed upon one's death, the document itself, if improperly drafted can be contested. Also, those who pass away with a will may still have to go through probate to a certain extent, which can be time-consuming and costly. The best way to avoid these issues is to secure an estate's assets in various trusts.
When it comes to estate planning, you have a variety of legal tools at your disposal. You can create a will that spells out how your assets will be distributed upon your death, but you can also create a number of trusts to help both protect your estate and ensure that assets are distributed on your terms. There are a variety of trusts to meet your needs, which means that you should learn about the various trust types and their benefits before completing your estate planning.
There are a variety of tools at one's disposal when it comes to formulating a solid estate plan. In order to ensure that an estate plan is tailored to an individual's unique needs and wishes, they must become familiar with all options available to them and decide accordingly. This may sound easy enough, but the truth of the matter is that the number of options can become overwhelming. This can be especially true with trusts.