While exercising control over your wealth during your lifetime is important, it is prudent to have a comprehensive plan for what happens to your properties after your passing. Issues like excessive taxation, court intervention, as well as family disputes are not uncommon when dealing with the decedent’s estate. It is often impossible to make educated and effective decisions about the distribution of your estate without the help of qualified legal professionals, who are familiar with local legal precedent and are prepared to advocate for your estate on your behalf. Not making those decisions in advance is especially perilous, as your state’s default estate planning standards may be not at all what you prefer. Call North City Law at 206-413-7288 today and let our Estate Planning attorneys help you protect your legacy!
Estate Planning Legal Devices
Over the years, various legal devices have emerged, each formed to respond to an inconsistency or a specific need. Some forms of estate planning can be costly, but can ultimately offer substantial savings when your beneficiaries receive the assets you wished to allocate to them. Still other forms are inexpensive and require little maintenance or legal attention – those are frequently not appropriate for more complex estates with more than just a few assets. In all, you have to find an estate plan that works specifically for you, whether it uses just one or several legal devices.
Wills are legally binding documents which are normally written (spoken wills are hardly recognized in any states, even if they were created as a result of an emergency), and they need to be signed by a person of “sound mind,” providing directions for what will happen to their assets after they die, as well as other instructions related to their properties or their passing itself. While wills are, perhaps, the simplest estate planning device, they are not infrequently contested, on various grounds. Often, to distribute the properties listed in a will, you would have to go through probate court, which could add cost and time to this already laborious process.
Many testators opt for a system of trusts instead of, or in addition to, a traditional will. This way, probate intervention can be avoided by directing your wealth into a trust with designated beneficiaries and trustees. Trusts are also helpful in situations where minors are involved, as they can be controlled either by court, or an appointed trustee, or both, until the child or children in question come of age. Many testators choose trusts because of the limitations the testator can impose on future spending for their heirs. If your child or spouse has a history of careless spending, you can create guidelines that will only authorize limited withdrawals per year, or only open access to the trust account at a specific age.
One of the key drives of humanity is making our families and loved ones feel safe, secure and comfortable. It is therefore unsurprising that making a comprehensive plan for what happens when you can no longer be there to support them is often extremely stressful and disorienting. The experienced legal professionals at North City Law are here to help!
Our dedicated attorneys will help design a strategy that is appropriate for your individual needs and will maximize the wealth you can pass on to your loved ones. Call 206-413-7288 today for a FREE initial consultation!