Trusts and more Complex PackagesStatistics show that many people have not adequately planned for what will happen to their property and hard-earned savings when they die or are rendered incapacitated due to illness or tragedy. Whether we are rich or poor, old or young, we all need an estate plan for asset protection, wealth preservation, and for peace of mind that our wishes will be followed should something happen to our life. Steamboat Lawyers Group, PLLC makes sure that your wishes are carried out and that the process is handled in a dignified, organized, and cost-effective manner. We work closely with you, your financial advisors, and accountants to ensure that your estate plan achieves your goals. With proper estate planning, you can protect your privacy, provide for management of your property and assets, avoid costly probate proceedings, control the distribution of property, and minimize taxation.
Usually the least expensive estate plan in the long run is a Living Trust package. A Living Trust package is a series of documents including a Living Revocable Trust, a Pour-over will, a Durable Power of Attorney, a Medical Power of Attorney, and a Living Will. Each of these documents has a particular purpose.
Steamboat Lawyers Group, PLLC listens closely to understand the individual needs of our clients so that they can create a customized estate plan to meet their objectives. A Living Trust package includes:
- Estate planning questionnaire with an analysis of estate plan needs
- Living Revocable Trust for single or married individuals
- Pour-Over Will
- Living Will
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Medical Power of Attorney
Living Revocable Trust - The advantages of a Living Trust include the ease of transferring property without the need for probate, and with minimal attorney's fees and other costs. A Living Revocable Trust further allows the distribution of assets located in multiple states without the need for ancillary probate. A Living Trust will provide for you should you become incapacitated and otherwise need a guardian or conservator. It also allows for the distribution of property to younger members of your family, appointment of guardianship for your children as well as directive for support and education for the minor children. The Living Trust can also define medical needs of disabled family members, and asset management and protection for the surviving spouse.
Pour-Over Will - The pour-over will ensures that any remaining assets not specifically transferred to the living revocable trust during one's life are transferred to the trust upon one's death. The pour-over will can also define who will be responsible that such assets are transferred to the trust.
Living Will, Durable Power of Attorney and Medical Power of Attorney - These tools allow our clients to plan for Incapacity or Disability. Estate planning is more than planning for death; it includes planning for any unfortunate event that could leave you unable to manage your own property or assets.
- Power of Attorney: A power of attorney allows someone to make decisions and manage your affairs if you are incapacitated. A financial power of attorney can be used to manage the financial affairs of an individual or a small business. A medical power of attorney enables someone to make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated. A power of attorney can be temporary (revocable) or permanent (irrevocable). Financial and medical powers of attorney allow you to appoint those individuals closest to you to ensure that your medical wishes are carried out and your affairs are properly managed should you become incapacitated or disabled.
- Living Will/Health Care Directive: If you are unable to communicate your wishes, a living will or healthcare directive communicates to your loved ones and your doctors the medical care you want to receive.
There are many other estate planning tools utilized by knowledgeable estate planning lawyers, including:
Charitable Trusts - Often our clients benefit from the donation of assets. In appropriate cases, charitable trusts provide estate planning benefits by establishing additional cash flow, while providing a much-appreciated contribution to a designated charity. Let us show you how leaving a legacy can have financial benefits for your estate, as well as for your favorite charitable organization.
Personal Residence Trusts - Clients who own a home or vacation home that they wish to pass on to their children or grandchildren may benefit by creating a personal residence trust. Personal residence trusts allow you to "freeze" the value of a residence and prevent the appreciation of the property from being subject to estate tax.
Succession Planning for the Closely Held and Family Business - Unfortunately, many family-owned businesses do not survive succession to the next generation upon the death of the business owner. This is often due to lack of proper succession planning. Steamboat Lawyers Group, PLLC work together with you to prepare and execute an effective succession plan and minimize taxation.
Life insurance trusts - This trust is funded by the proceeds of a life insurance policy and can be an effective tool to minimize estate tax.
In addition to estate planning, Steamboat Lawyers Group, PLLC can assist with other very related practice areas such as:
Probate Services - In addition to estate planning services, we can assist with effective probate representation. From the initial court appearance to the final accounting, we try to make the probate process as easy as possible. In addition, we maintain relations with several independent accounting firms that are available to provide tax advice and prepare tax returns for the estate.
Litigation Services - When litigation is necessary or unavoidable, Steamboat Lawyers Group, PLLC can provide quality and cost-effective litigation services. Whether it be a contested will, conservatorship, guardianship, trust, or probate matter, we can see you through the litigation process.
Once incapacity strikes, it is usually too late to implement these mechanisms and your only option is a court proceeding and perhaps significant tax consequences. Advance planning allows you to retain the greatest degree of control over your life and your assets and minimize estate tax.