Top 4 Questions and Answers About Estate Planning
Planning your estate can be done easily with the support and assistance of a professional. Estate planning provides a clear strategy to support your financial needs, and detailed instructions of how to care for, manage and distribute your property, including your house, vehicles and other valuables. A complete estate plan should include not only a Trust, but also a Pour Over Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will. It may also include Memorial Instructions, a list for any distribution of personal property and an Anatomical Gift Form. Even user names and passwords for digital accounts can be identified.
John Rexford presents expert legal advice and guides clients through this process. He creates and organizes the needed documents in a complete package, ensuring that no detail is left out and that your wishes are reflected exactly as you would like them to be. Importantly, these records can be kept in the privacy of your own home. Easily accessible, these papers are organized in a 3-ring binder to accommodate planning and are available for review at any time. It is good to know that they can be amended or revoked by the original author or authors.
While estate planning can be intimidating to some, especially for those who are unfamiliar with legal jargon and the legal process, it is comforting to know there are clear paths to follow for a successful estate planning process. Rest easy knowing you are in good hands as you walk through the estate planning process with John Rexford.
Read on for some helpful questions and answers about the estate planning process:
1. What is the role of a lawyer in Estate Planning?
A lawyer can help you review your assets and evaluate what assets you want to plan for.
You can discuss houses, savings, retirement accounts, stock, land, clothes, cars, cash,
furniture, jewelry and other valuables.
Estate planning allows individuals to create a plan to care for their hard-earned finances
and belongings, after they pass. Creating the plan now is important so you are able to
dictate exactly how you would like your estate handled.
2. How do taxes factor in?
Part of the estate planning process will include a discussion around the ways taxes may or may not impact your estate. Importantly, there can be several tax advantages to creating a trust and going through the estate planning process. Ultimately, we want to be able to preserve your heard-earned money and share that with your beneficiaries as easily as possible, keeping your money for your family rather than having to pay the government. Careful estate planning that allows you to avoid probate and uses strategies to avoid taxation can be beneficial. Important tax considerations include navigating Capital Gains Tax, Gift Tax and Estate Tax.
3. What documents and terms do I need to be familiar with?
A Will may be established with identifies ways you hope to distribute your property and other belongings or assets and goes into effect after you die. A Trust is an entity that holds your assets and property, allowing for several benefits, including tax advantages and financial and time savings. A Trust enables you to identify a Trustee to oversee how your property is distributed to your beneficiaries and can be amended up until the time you pass away.
Additional documents include Durable Power of Attorneys, designating someone to oversee important financial, legal or medical related decisions for you should you become unable to do so yourself. A Living Will or Advance Health Care Directive can express your wishes in regard to artificial life support. You can also identify organ donations, funeral or memorial wishes.
4. What next steps should you consider when setting up an estate plan?
Be sure to meet with a qualified attorney, and ask questions about how to navigate this process effectively. Having trained legal support will be an important help in showing love for your loved ones after you pass, and will be worth your time and investment.
Identify your beneficiaries, which means choosing who you would like to receive your assets. These beneficiaries are outlined in your Trust and will have the ability to further steward your wealth in responsible ways. After you have created your estate plan, be sure to sign your documents carefully. Be sure to review that you have the needed witnesses and notarization needed in your state. Importantly, be sure to let the individual who will be responsible for overseeing your estate, your Personal Representative (formerly called Executor) or Successor Trustee, knows that you have chosen them to oversee this important task and confirm that they are up for the job.
Keeping your documents in a three ring binder will allow them to store safely, and be sure that they are in a spot that is easily accessible for your family to find.
Lastly, be open to reviewing your estate plan and updating your Beneficiaries and Executors should any of these individuals change in your future plans. At times, updates are needed when new grandchildren are born, if a family member passes away, or if a divorce occurs.
Attorney John Rexford is dedicated to offering you clear, concise and supportive estate planning advice and guidance to help place you on the best path for your family’s future.
He supports clients with a warm, hands-on approach to meet your unique needs. Reach out today to begin this discussion and to start the process of intentionally planning for your estate.
423-645-2017 (Tennessee Office) // 508-234-9160 (Massachusetts Office)