When you become an adult in your own right, you have a certain set of basic responsibilities. There are probably family members who depend on you, and you if you are like most people, you take your responsibilities to heart.
You should definitely carry this perspective over to the realm of estate planning. Unfortunately, many otherwise responsible people are unprepared for an event that is definitely going to happen to all of us.
When you devise your estate plan, you are not planning for your own benefit. You are doing what it takes to provide for the people that you love, and this is a very important and profound endeavor. If you are not prepared at the present time, you should put an end to the procrastination and put a plan in place, because you never know what lies around the next bend in the road.
If you don’t know where to begin, this is understandable. However, you can get started by discussing everything with a licensed estate planning attorney. In this post, we will look at some questions that you may want to ask your lawyer.
Is my estate going to be subject to taxation?
There is an estate tax on the federal level, and the credit or exclusion is $5.43 million for the rest of 2015. This is the amount that can be transferred before the estate tax would kick in.
This tax is not applicable on transfers to your spouse, as long as your spouse is an American citizen.
Is a will the right estate planning document for me?
You could use a last will to let your final wishes be known, but there are other possibilities. If you use a last will, your estate, unless very modest, must pass through the probate process, and the inheritors do not receive their inheritances until the estate has been probated and closed by the court.
On the other hand, if you use a revocable living trust instead of a last will as the centerpiece of your estate plan, the assets would be transferred outside of probate.
A living trust is one alternative to a last will, but there are other options. You should explore all of them before you make any final decisions
What is the most overlooked aspect of estate planning?
Incapacity is not uncommon among elder Americans. There are many causes of incapacity, but Alzheimer’s disease looms large. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, about 45 percent of the oldest old are suffering from the disease.
If you were to suffer from incapacitation, a conservatorship proceeding could be initiated, and the state could appoint someone to handle your affairs. You can prevent a conservatorship if you create durable powers of attorney or a revocable living trust.
The attorneys-in-fact (agents) or successor trustees that you designate in the documents would be able to make decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation.
We have looked at a few basic estate planning questions in this brief post. If you are prepared to act, our firm can help. We offer consultations, and you can send us a message through the following page to set up an appointment: Sacramento CA Estate Planning Attorneys.