ESTATE PLANNING INVOLVES MORE THAN A STICKY NOTE

There are some moments in life that merit planning and focused effort beyond just writing something down on a sticky note to place on the refrigerator. Example: someone calls an attorney’s office “just to ask a question” about death or incapacity planning and is put off when told that a consultation is required before advice can be provided. It happens far more often than you might think. If you are a careful life-long saver, investor, business owner, inheritor, or working professional, there are little-known strategies – secrets if you will – to plan for the second half of life to avoid probate, protect your home and life savings from nursing home expenses, and prevent an inheritance from escaping your family bloodline.

THE SECRETS IN A NUTSHELL

1. There are several ways to avoid probate, including joint ownership of property, using beneficiary designations and transfer-on-death deeds, gifting property, and establishing a revocable living trust. While the right combination of these strategies will provide sure-fire protection, a wrong decision here can result in disaster.

2. A properly drafted power of attorney, with enhanced powers, can help your family protect assets even after a nursing home admission of a loved one. Online forms don’t address this feature, leaving your family at risk.

3. There are substantial differences between wills and trusts that most people fail to consider or even understand. Worse yet, do-it-yourself and online documents simply give you the tools to commit moral malpractice. A plan, tailored to your specific objectives, takes time with the guidance of an experienced professional.

4. There are little-known strategies available to reduce your financial burden for nursing home expenses of $8,000 to $12,000 per month without buying LTC insurance and giving everything to your children now.

5. You can ensure the optimum stretch-out, asset protection, and management of your unspent IRAs, 401(k)s, and other retirement plans you leave your children with a stand-alone retirement plan trust.

6. The remarriage of a surviving spouse oftentimes results in a disinheritance of children of the first spouse to die and can be avoided with proper planning.

7. Most inheritances are lost or spent in just a few years. This can be prevented with the use of continuing trusts tailored to the needs of your beneficiaries.

8. Although the federal estate tax has traditionally hit only 0.2% of Americans, you might be impacted if you are a business owner, rancher or farmer. Trust planning, especially for married couples, can minimize or eliminate the estate tax more effectively than even “portability” under the tax code.

9. With a carefully designed, advance plan for business or farm/ranch succession, you will avoid enormous challenges in achieving your objectives. Procrastination is your enemy.

HELP FOR YOU

There are resources available that families can use to deal with these deeply complex issues. Local workshops by estate planning professionals, such as the Aspen Legacy Planning, are available and address these secrets and strategies available to provide security for you and your family. Our free workshops are informative and sign-ups are available now, followed by individualized no-obligation consultations to evaluate your unique estate planning needs and solutions.

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