Too many people I meet have misconceptions that only those that are wealthy or retired need estate planning beyond just a simple will. This might be true for some, but in most cases, these thoughts are not valid. While basic estate planning involves creating a plan for what happens if you die, advanced estate planning goes beyond these basics in several ways:
- Asset Protection Planning – Reviewing your assets and determining which are exempt and nonexempt from creditors’ and nursing home claims in the event of an unexpected disability;
- Trust Planning- Using trust instruments beyond the basic will to ensure proper control of your assets;
- Planning for Disabled or Problem Beneficiaries – Discussing all of the needs of your beneficiaries and then planning accordingly with certain trust documents that you will always control.
Trust Planning and Asset Protection Planning:
Working with your elder law attorney, you need to establish your foundational estate plan which will allow you and your attorney to assess further, your needs for estate and/or asset protection planning. Why? Because as part of creating your base estate plan you’ll need to make a list of all of your assets and liabilities and then calculate your net worth. This, in turn, will reveal the estimated value of your estate and which of your assets are exempt or nonexempt from potential creditors’ or long-term care claims. From there, your elder law attorney can develop a plan to reduce or even eliminate the potentially forced liquidation of your estate and by restructuring your assets, protect and preserve them for your spouse or heirs.
Planning for Disabled or Problem Beneficiaries:
With advanced planning, your attorney can assess the needs of all of your beneficiaries. If a beneficiary is disabled and receiving government benefits, then the beneficiary won’t be able to receive a direct distribution and will require a Special Needs Trust be prepared. Should there be a beneficiary who is bad with managing money or is in a shaky marriage, it may require that a lifetime irrevocable trust be created for this beneficiary instead of receiving their inheritance as an outright distribution.
There are other reasons you should consider advanced estate planning over that of just creating a simple will, but these reasons I’ve listed above are what I’ve found that clients have the most concerns about.
If you have other questions or would like to discuss the benefits of protecting your family, please call 214-292-4225 to reserve a spot in our WORKSHOP.