One of the most common estate planning questions is…
“I’m single, do you think I need a will”
Answer: We hate to say it but…. it depends!
The triggering event that would lead to the best answer is if you own any property like a house, or other real property. This is because real property usually needs to pass through probate and while a Will won’t prevent it from the process of probate, a Trust may. So, we swiftly moved to the need of a Trust in some cases. However most times you will need to establish a Will to prescribe some basic elements or assets that may ultimately feed over into your Trust (Pour Over Will). Certainly if you have children, spouse, or other family members that need to be considered as beneficiaries even if you don’t own real property you must think about a Simple Will so your basic intentions are spelled out. Failure to do this may result in a very delayed and drawn out probate period with heirs bickering and contesting (fighting over) their believed interests. If you have any children you care for who are “special needs” children it is almost certain you should establish not only a Will and Spousal Will, but Trust and a “Special Needs Trust”. This type Trust is drafted to make sure the child will have the proper care plan in place by the specialized people who are expert in their field of care as well as carry out the financial plan to the wishes and order of the legal guardian or parent. Many times these Trusts are set up with the investment or insurance vehicle that will provide the funds needed at the time the living caretaker, guardian or parent is not available or alive.
“See why proper estate planning is important”
Some other common reasons many people need a Will and Trust:
- Owner of a Business
- Partner or Shareholder
- People with Intellectual Property Holdings
- Lottery Winners
- Structured Settlement Income (Annuity Stream Income)
When is it not necessary to have an asset in a Will or Trust? Qualified Retirement Plans like a 401(k) or an IRA designate a named beneficiary. Life Insurance and Annuity also names a living beneficiary, therefore they pass straight to the named beneficiary without going through the probate process. However that does not mean you should not think about the need for a Trust which would be put in place to help manage the wishes of the Trustor, grantor (the person who placed their asset in the Trust. The direction of how, how much, when, to who and when NOT to pay a beneficiary of a Trust can all be spelled out by the Grantor to the Trustee that must abide by their wishes.
We have established a special price for anyone that would like a Will, Trust and a complete and comprehensive estate plan done in your own privacy, at home without the burden and expense of meeting an attorney. For $500 you can finally put an estate plan in place in any state you reside, drafted by board certified attorneys. All you will need to do is have it Notarized and Witnessed and it includes a life vault document storage system for you to keep all of your important papers in.
Did you know over 60% of Americans do not have a Will? 90% do not have an up to date, comprehensive estate plan. Important decisions relating to how your assets are distributed, who will serve as guardian for your minor children and who might make health care decisions in the event that you cannot could be decided by a judge without an estate plan. Estate Planning is such a key component of one’s overall financial plan
- Last Will & Testament
Also called a Will. Is a document that describes how a person’s debts are to be paid and assets distributed at his or her death; it names a guardian for minor children, and names and executor or personal representative to oversee the settlement of the estate.
- Living Trust
Also called a Revocable Trust, is a trust that is often used to avoid probate. This type of trust can be changed or revoked at any time (and from time to time) during the lifetime of the person (called the settlor or the grantor) who set it up.
- Power of Attorney
Is a document which names and authorizes a person(s) to make financial decisions and/or transactions for another person (called the principal).
- Living Will Declaration
Also called an Advance Directive, is a document that instructs your physicians and loved ones as to your intentions relative to life support (i.e., artificial nutrition, hydration and respiration), in the event that you are permanently unconscious or have a terminal condition.
- Healthcare Surrogate Designation
Also called a Health Care Power of Attorney, is a document naming a person to make health care decisions for another person (called the principal) when the principal is no longer able to do so.
- HIPAA Authorization
“HIPAA” is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, a federal law that protects a person’s private medical and mental health information. A HIPAA Authorization is a document that designates a person(s) who may receive another person’s private medical and mental health information.