Several years ago, we were speaking with a client who mentioned she had a 29-year-old brother who had passed the year before. He owned a home, he didn’t have a will and he didn’t have any instructions laid out in terms of how he would want his assets to be distributed in the event of his death.
In the state where he lived, the law stated that assets would first go to a spouse (which he didn’t have), surviving children (which he also didn’t have) and if there was not a spouse or children, the assets would be divided between the surviving parents.
The parents had gone through a nasty divorce many years prior, so when it came time to deal with probate, the situation turned ugly. Our client was 27 when she contacted us, and the reason she decided to speak with an estate planning attorney is because she wanted to avoid all of the things that happened when her brother passed.
Estate planning is crucial
One of the biggest reasons you should consider working with an estate planning attorney is to avoid probate. In fact, this is the number one reason that people decide to move forward with an estate plan. Probate horror stories, like the one we just mentioned, are far too common.
It can help you reduce estate taxes
The idea that the need to pay significant state and/or federal estate taxes is often a motivating factor to consider estate planning. When you work with an attorney you may be able to reduce, or in some cases, eliminate taxes. This can be done by setting up one or more trusts. Married couples and individuals can both benefit from the establishment of a trust.
When a person dies without a proper estate plan, they run the risk of losing a significant amount of their estate to probate fees and taxes. This is why it’s always best to start your estate plan early.
It can also help establish who will get what, when they will receive it and how they will receive it. For example, if you have a 16-year-old child and you want them to inherit your assets, a trust can set forth the guidelines of asset distribution. If a teenager were to receive a significant inheritance, they are unlikely to be responsible with the money. With a trust, you can establish that the inheritance will be distributed at $X per year for college and living expenses, with the remainder being used toward purchasing a home. This type of plan can give you assurances that your child’s inheritance will be used, and distributed, according to your wishes.
Have questions? Call us today
If you have questions about the benefits of starting an estate plan, call The Law Network PC today at 303-267-1111 to speak with a qualified estate planning attorney you can trust.