It's never too early to begin thinking about your legacy or to shape your estate plan. Contrary to what many people think, you don't need to be wealthy to have an estate plan. Anyone who owns property—a home, a car, a bank account, investments, business interests, a retirement plan account, collectibles, personal belongings, etc.—may need to consider an estate plan.
An estate plan allows you to direct how and to whom your property will be distributed after your death. If you have no estate plan at all, your property could be distributed according to your state’s intestacy laws without regard to family needs or your own desires. By properly planning your estate, the goal is to have your assets pass to your designated beneficiaries in such a way as to be protected from the beneficiaries’ creditors, divorce proceedings, IRS tax liens, and many other problems your heirs may have in the future.
Regardless of your net worth, marital status, age, or gender, estate planning allows you to plan for incapacity and death, thus avoiding the need for a conservatorship or probate, both of which can be time-consuming, intrusive, and expensive. It's important to review your trust and other estate planning documents regularly, and when significant life events occur.
We at NetVEST specialize in creating estate planning strategies that will work when you need them as well as reflect the things that are important to you.
A common misconception is that trusts are reserved for the wealthy. However, many people can benefit from a trust.Revocable trusts can be changed or revoked at any time. For this reason, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) still includes any trust assets in the grantor's taxable estate. This also means that the grantor must pay income taxes on revenue generated by the trust and possibly estate taxes on those assets remaining after his or her death. Many revocable trusts become irrevocable at the death or disability of the grantor. Irrevocable trusts cannot be changed once they are executed. The assets placed into an irrevocable trust are permanently removed from a grantor's estate and transferred to the trust. Income and capital gains taxes on assets in the trust are paid by the trust. Upon a grantor's death, the assets in the trust are not considered part of the estate and are therefore not subject to estate taxes. Irrevocable trusts are most commonly used to fund an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT).
Benefits of Trusts:
- Control assets and provide security for both the grantor and the beneficiaries
- Provide for beneficiaries who are minors, have special needs or require expert assistance managing money
- Provide management of estates
- Maintain privacy
- Protect real estate holdings or a business
- Avoid or minimize estate or income taxes
- Shield assets from potential creditors
- Avoid the expense and delay of probate, as is necessary with a will
- Help preserve assets for your children until they are grown (in case you should die while they are still minors)
- Create a pool of investments that can be managed by professional money managers
- Set up a fund for your own support in the event of incapacity
- Shift part of your potential income tax burden to beneficiaries in lower tax brackets
- Provide benefits for charity
- Types of trusts include: Revocable Living Trust, Generation-Skipping Trust, Charitable Lead Trust, Charitable Remainder Trust, Special Needs Trust and Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust.
- Different types of trusts involve different costs for administration and management.
- Financial advisory firms typically do not focus on estate planning. We do. NetVEST can help you determine if a trust will address your needs.
According to attorney, legal commentator and best-selling author Alexis Martin-Neely, “Even with the help of an attorney, 90% of estate plans will fail when they are needed”. There are many “cookie cutter” trusts out there. We have seen numerous instances in which key forms have been left out of documents to keep clients returning to the trust preparer throughout certain points in time when they needed them. We strongly advocate professional second opinions. And at NetVEST we provide them for no cost. NetVEST can help you evaluate your current trust and estate planning documents to determine if they will work how you think they will when you need them, restate a current document, as well as start the process if you are looking to create a new trust.