There is a myth that trusts and estate planning are for the rich only, but this is actually a common misconception. Estate planning for high net worth individuals usually centers on reducing tax bills, but estate planning has a number of benefits and objectives depending on a client’s needs. An estate plan can provide expert guidance on other aspects of wealth transfer through, wills, guardianships, executorships, powers of attorney, and long term health care. Today one of the most important aspects of estate planning is to provide asset protection. Asset protection has historically only been available to the ultra wealthy.
Of all the asset protection and estate planning tools we use here at the Law Office of David M. Goldman PLLC, trusts are the most likely to be associated as having the stigma of being only for the rich. An asset protection or estate planning trust is a great device that can ensure a client’s wishes are followed and further offer asset protection. A trust is a legal entity, much like a corporation, that has a manager called a trustee. The person who creates the trust, the settlor or grantor, will put assets into the trust for the trustee to administer as the trust dictates. (Often the creator and the manage are the same person or people)
A trust can be used to give assets to loved ones without going through probate. A trust can also allow a trustee to administer its funds at his or her own discretion, which has many benefits such as ensuring a beneficiary only receives money by meeting certain conditions. A discretionary trust can also be used to protect assets against creditors, which is great for beneficiaries who aren’t the best with money.
We also offer power of attorneys for both health care and financial care. A power of attorney allows someone a client trusts to handle his or her affairs if he or she becomes incapacitated. This means the person named will have the ability to make important health care decisions and to receive important information for the person when they are no longer able to do so. A financial power of attorney can also be drafted, which gives the named person the ability to handle finances and pay for important bills while the client is unable to perform those duties.
A will is another estate planning document that just about everyone needs. Without a will, a person’s assets will have to go through a lengthy probate process and the assets will be distributed according to the state’s intestacy laws. This means the court will divide up the assets into percentages and pass them to a person heirs according to the rules in place. So without a will, the testator has no say where or to whom his or her assets will go. Additionally, an estate that goes through the long probate will be taxed by a certain percentage going to the state. For more information on how estate planning can benefit even those who are not wealthy, contact the Law Office at 904-685-1200.