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What Is a Healthcare Proxy?

April 6, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:57 am

NJ-healthcare-proxy

A healthcare proxy is a term you might have hard of in relation to comprehensive estate planning. The term proxy refers to another person acting on your behalf. With regard to healthcare proxies, this person is equipped to express your individual wishes on your behalf if you are unable to do so. Depending on where you live and where you execute this document, this might also be referred to as a durable medical power of attorney or your appointment of a healthcare agent. 

Of course, you know your personal healthcare wishes best, but if you were injured in an accident or otherwise unable to speak up for yourself, you need someone else to express your concerns.

Some people think that a healthcare proxy is only used if the patient in question is terminally ill. This is not the case. Your proxy is actually able to make decisions on your behalf any time that you are incapacitated and unable to communicate due to a temporary or permanent injury or illness.

There could be a natural fear that someone else is making decisions for you when you might be in a compromised state, but not enough of a serious medical condition to be totally unable to speak for yourself. A doctor might need to certify that you meet the grounds to be classified as incapacitated before your proxy is able to make decisions for you.

Remember that whoever you name in the role of proxy could potentially have access to your medical records depending on the permissions you allow. Make sure that the person you appoint knows about your personal religious beliefs, healthcare provider opinions and preferred institutions, medical treatment preferences, and personal feelings regarding illness and healthcare treatment.

Before you find yourself in a difficult situation with a loved one, make sure they’ve named someone as a healthcare proxy to speak for them. Assigning your own healthcare proxy is important, too!

Can New Jersey Residents Still Benefit from Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts?

April 1, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 4:09 pm

Irrevocable life insurance trusts have long been a popular estate planning tool in a variety of different circumstances to help achieve client goals efficiently and effectively. These were often used to shield life insurance proceeds from the estate tax in New Jersey by making the ILIT the beneficiary and owner of a life insurance policy, which therefore removed the proceeds from the individual’s overall estate.

In 2018, however, New Jersey repealed the New Jersey estate tax and now that the federal estate tax exemption is over $11 million per person today, many estate and trust attorneys have decreased their need and use with ILITs.

However, there are several different benefits to consider with these estate planning tools. Scheduling a consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer can be a first step towards recognizing how these can be helpful for your individual situation. An irrevocable life insurance trust gives you more control over your insurance policies and the money that is paid out from them. There are three primary components to an insurance trust.

The grantor is the person who creates the trust, the trustee is the person who manages it and the trust beneficiaries are the people who receive the assets after you pass away. An insurance trust means that the trust owns the policy and therefore, the trustee that you appoint in this role has to follow the instructions placed in your trust, giving you even more control over the proceeds. To learn more about how life insurance factors into the bigger conversation about your estate, schedule a consultation with an experienced New Jersey estate planning lawyer today.         

How to Minimize Mistakes During the Estate Planning Process

March 31, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 11:58 am

Since estate planning can be complex and should be aligned with your individual and family goals, mistakes can and do happen. All too often these common mistakes are ones that end up being revealed in the midst of a crisis or after the loss of a loved one.

The most common estate planning mistake is having no plan in place at all. Many people fall for the misconception that estate planning is only for those who are extremely wealthy, but estate planning can benefit people of all different estate sizes.

Estate planning, in fact, can be as simple as proper powers of attorney and asset titling and doesn’t need to include sophisticated trusts or other documents if that’s not relevant for you.

However, another common mistake with regard to estate planning is procrastinating when an agreement can’t be made between key parties. This is particularly relevant if a person has recently passed away and established a trust. If the terms of the trust were impacted by a mistake of facts, then the trust can be changed. If an understanding or mistake ever happens, it must be proven by clear and convincing evidence that must be held up in court.

To minimize the possibility of estate planning mistakes, it is in your best interest to schedule a consultation with a trusted estate planning lawyer who can help you craft these documents accurately from the outset or to review the existing documents and make recommendations.           

How to Remain Connected to Your New Jersey Estate Planning Law Office During the Pandemic?

March 30, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 2:46 pm

Many law practices including ours have updated procedures, policies, and accessibility to be as helpful to you as ever in light of the need to meet virtually. Here at Shah & Associates, PC., our offices remain 100% staffed and virtual.

We are still here to help you with new estate planning documents as well as updating your estate plan and revising existing documents. We have remote file storage for all of our digital files to maintain top security and use zoom for online meetings.

Furthermore, our entire team has access to scanners, and we will continue to maintain digital portal access for everybody. Additionally, until we are able to meet our clients in person, we have also instituted remote signing procedures for temporary plans.

If you need assistance with temporary plans and want the peace of mind provided with continuing to develop your relationship with Shah & Associates, we are here for you.

We recognize that these are trying and uncertain times, but we are proud to uphold are commitment to doing right by our clients and putting your needs first. Schedule a consultation today over zoom or over the phone by contacting Shah & Associates. We are here to help and will help guide you and your family through these crises.           

Taking Your Time with Estate Planning

March 25, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:15 pm

Sometimes it’s the loss of a loved one or someone in your family being diagnosed with Alzheimers’ that gives you the sign to put ‘estate planning” at the top of your to-do list. But the truth is that it can be dangerous to rush your planning if you’re doing it on your own. Hiring an estate planning attorney helps you by clarifying what’s really important and having another person to review all the details and give you pointers about what might have been left out.

To start with, an inventory of your assets forms the basis for your future estate planning. What do you have? What do you owe? Do these different kinds of assets mean different things for planning your estate?

A will, a power of attorney, and a medical directive are some of the most important documents you should create right away. There’s a good chance that you already know who- or what- needs to go inside those. But if you need additional support, this is a great opportunity to speak with your estate planning lawyer about what those look like.

Some aspects of your estate plan can be put into place immediately, like your will. Others, like an asset protection plan or a business succession plan, should only be developed with the support of a lawyer and with careful consideration and time. With those plans, the details matter and you should exercise every opportunity to implement the right time to talk through your options.

A lawyer’s review of both the simple and the complex estate planning documents can make a world of difference. Scheduling a virtual or phone meeting with your attorney makes it simple to accomplish this task from the comfort of your own home to get the ball rolling on these key documents and plans.

7 Steps for an Estate Plan Now

March 24, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 11:09 am

Do you have a plan for what will happen to your assets when you pass away? What about who will be able to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so? These are just a few of the questions you’ll need to answer when you put together your estate plan and the support of the right estate planning lawyer can go a long way towards helping you.

For many people, estate planning feels overwhelming. Thankfully, there are a few stages to getting through this phase successfully that can make you feel more accomplished at the end.

Step 1: Look at Everything You Own and Record It

You can’t really know what your estate looks like until you inventory it. This makes the future planning steps much easier since you can decide what kind of strategies are best suited to your needs.

Step 2: Consult an Attorney

A lawyer can help you figure out what support you need in the form of documents and tools like trusts, and having your inventory already pulled together will make that process easier.

Step 3: Create a Will

Often the cornerstone of an estate plan, your will can name a guardian for a minor child and a basic distribution plan for assets.

Step 4: Check Beneficiary Forms

From your life insurance policy to your retirement accounts, there are some items that pass outside of will designations. Verify your forms filed with these companies are up to date.

Step 5: Evaluate Life Insurance Policies

Do you have enough coverage? A plan for protecting your family and loved ones while probate is pending? This is a good time to chat with your life agent.

Step 6: Form a Trust

You might benefit from one of the most powerful and popular estate planning tools in the form of a trust. Discuss which kind of estate planning trust is right for you.

Step 7: Consider Healthcare Options

Discuss considerations like qualifying for Medicaid and a healthcare power of attorney to ensure you have plans in place if you were to become ill and need additional support.

In your first estate planning meeting, your attorney can help you decide what aligns with your individual needs.

Yes, Even College Students Can Benefit from Estate Planning

March 23, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 2:02 pm

People of all ages have the potential to recognize the possible benefits of estate planning but one that is often overlooked is when parents send their new 18-year olds off to college campuses in the fall without completing the appropriate estate planning steps.

A great time to think about estate planning is now as many students are nearing graduation and will be spending the summer getting ready for their new college experience. It can be difficult for parents to understand that legally children now have the ability to make decisions for themselves and that parents are not automatically opted in to health care and important medical decisions once the child has reached age 18. It’s a good opportunity to have an estate planning conversation with your teenager while he or she still lives at home.

These documents, like advanced directives, name people who are capable of making financial, medical, business and legal decisions in the event of incapacity. This means that people of all ages can use these tools to their benefit. If a child age 18 or older is injured in an accident or falls ill and is no longer able to communicate on their own or make decisions for themselves, the primary risk is a need for guardianship hearing to appoint another person. Usually as a parent, you would need to hire an attorney to file a petition with the court, asking for the judge to formally appoint the parent as the child’s legal guardian.

In emergency situations, the opportunity to do this can seem overwhelming and can add further delays unnecessarily. A power of attorney, however, enables a parent to make business, financial, and legal decisions on behalf of the child if and when that document needs to be exercised. Schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney today to discuss this option.         

Estate Planning & Your Home Title

March 17, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 11:56 am

There have been many commercials and some news stories about people having their homes stolen. The narrative in these stories typically goes that a thief finds the title to your home by locating it online or hacking into it. According to this story, the thief then steals the title, forges documents, and end up owning your home, either having you evicted or mortgaging it.

This is a problem known as title theft, and multiple companies have recently emerged onto the landscape promising to help people by monitoring the title. In order for a thief to be able to accomplish this, they would need to find the title to your home online. In certain states, recorded documents like deeds are a matter of public record, and many counties have this information online.

A new deed could be forged when someone finds this information and then could be used to steal your home. However, a forged deed doesn’t necessarily convey the title to the home, but it could cloud the title on home making it problematic for you to pass it on to your loved ones in the future.

In most cases the state will require additional forms and filings to accompany a transfer of a title, and there’s plenty of information that must be submitted on these forms in order for it to be readily available for someone who is attempting to steal the title. Before passing on a piece of real property, it is important to understand how titling issues can impact transfer.

Schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss all of the different ways that you can protect your home and ensure a smooth transfer of it in the future.       

Are You Subject to The Estate Planning Minefield? Beneficiary Designations Should Not Be Overlooked

March 16, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:54 pm

You probably had no idea about just how many things can go wrong by listing the wrong person or a person who should no longer have this authority on your beneficiary designation forms.

There are some best practices that you can implement in your estate planning instead that could minimize the possibility for unfortunate and uncomfortable situations for your loved ones.

Most people are familiar with the beneficiary designation form, given that they would have come into contact with it when opening a 401(k), an IRA, or completing a life insurance policy application. This form designates who is eligible to receive that asset if the account owner passes away.

Unfortunately, however, many people don’t understand the far-reaching consequences of a piece of paper such as a beneficiary designation form since it overrides other instructions in your estate plan including your will.

These forms can create turmoil, unintended bequests to former spouses and even confusion. Multiple account types are governed by beneficiary designations, such as a annuities, IRAs, life insurance, and 401(k)s. These contractual provisions override your will, meaning that if you have an outdated beneficiary designation form, the person listed on that form is still legally entitled to receive your assets even if you are no longer married to them.

It can be very problematic to fail to update your beneficiary designation forms. Set an annual reminder on your calendar to sit down with your estate planning attorney and discuss beneficiary designation forms and other tools.      

How Many People Don’t Have A Will In 2020?

March 12, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 3:27 pm

Every year Caring.com conducts a study to determine where people’s minds are at with regard to estate planning. There are many different questions asked inside this survey that it typically involves more than 2,400 people.

But one of the most important is to determine who already has an estate plan in place. For middle-aged Americans with a will, the study found that there has been a near 25% decrease for people who have this most important and vital estate planning documents.

In 2017, older and middle-aged Americans who participated in the survey reported that over 40% of middle-aged and older Americans reported that they had a will. But only 32% had that same document as shared in the 2020 survey. This is a significant decrease in the number of people who have critical estate planning documents, like a health directive, a living trust, or a will.

The lack of these important documents can be alarming for any family, since estate planning helps to establish multiple goals. A will is also your opportunity to name a person who will be responsible for caring for your minor children or making decisions about your health if you become incapacitated or are unable to do so. The study also found that for Americans earning more than $75,000, only 45% of them in that category had a will in place.

This is also problematic news given that a sudden incapacitation or death could have big consequences for your family and loved ones.        

Don’t Keep Financial Secrets from Your New Mid-Life Partner

March 10, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:21 pm

There are many complicated facets of estate planning that arise when marrying someone in mid-life. Keeping financial secrets and refusing to share your financial history with your partner could set you both up for problems in the future.

Furthermore, a mid-life marriage, including a second or third marriage, requires upfront honesty about both of your individual financial situations and how your marriage can impact your estate planning.

One 2020 creditcards.com survey of over 2500 adults in relationships found that nearly half of respondents were hiding a savings, checking or credit card account from their partner. Up to 57% of millennials, 37% of baby boomers, and 45% of GenX-ers had deceived their partners financially. This form of financial infidelity could be very problematic should the other person find out about it and could add to an increasing layer of complexity.

When joining your finances with a mid-life partner, consider a discussion with a CPA and other financial professionals. 

If you already have retirement accounts and estate planning details set up for you personally, this information should be discussed with your new spouse. It’s a different strategy to go from creating all of this information on your own to reflect your individual needs to moving it over to combined finances and estate planning.

Updating all of your key documents, including your beneficiary designation forms, should come at the top of your priority list.

If you’re stuck on how to get started and need more advice, set up a time to speak with a trusted estate planning lawyer who can guide you through which parts of your estate plan need to be updated and how to consider some of the complexities of combining interests and finances in a later-in-life marriage.      

Understanding the Complications of Annuities in An Estate Plan

March 9, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 11:25 am

Do you have an annuity? Is this a financial tool you created for your own future but is something that was ultimately moved out of your possession/estate and into the management of a trust? Read on to learn more about key issues that emerge with trusts owned by annuities.

If you have placed an annuity inside a trust, this can get very confusing regarding the beneficiary designation. You should have a working knowledge of the type of annuity you have selected and how these individual annuities function. Recognize at first that not all annuities are the same.

One of the most important distinction of different types of products is whether or not the annuity has been funded with after tax or pre-taxed dollars. This is basically asking whether or not this is an investment account or a retirement account. An annuity could be part of your IRA investments and any annuity that has been funded with pre-taxed retirement dollars is referred to as a qualified annuity.

With a qualified annuity, ownership should most likely not be transferred to the trust itself. If an annuity is non-qualified; meaning that it has been funded with after tax dollars, there is a strong probability that the annuity should be funded into a trust enabling a successor trustee to exercise control over the annuity in addition to other trust assets. To ensure this is the right course of action for you, schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer.       

Why Is Retirement Planning Complicated with A Late Divorce?

March 3, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:47 am

Getting divorced late in your marriage, such as several decades in, can create significant complications for a retirement planning. One partner might have saved a lot more than the other with the intention that the savings will be combined later, or the partners might have merged their retirement funds making it difficult to disentangle them upon a divorce.

A divorce can be financially devastating for a person at any age, but this influence is much higher when the partners are approaching retirement because the cost of living alone is considerably higher than when two people are sharing expenses. A 2017 report, completed by the PEW Research Center, shows that divorce rates for those couples over age 50 have nearly doubled since the 1990s; a phenomenon known as grey divorce.

Late divorce gives both parties involved less time to pay off debts, handle the ups and downs in the stock market or recoup any losses. If one or both parties are already retired, there may not be an existing steady source of income to rely on for their complicating matters.

What Should You Do Right After A Loved One Passes Away?

March 2, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:14 pm

The loss of a loved one can be an emotional and overwhelming experience and it can feel very difficult to understand what you need to do to protect your interests and next steps that you need to take.

Get help from a NJ estate planning lawyer today.

However, there are many important things to contemplate during this difficult time related to your loved one’s finances. Don’t make any decisions too quickly, since some of the choices you make early on could be difficult or even impossible to reverse. After determining your loved one’s final wishes for a funeral and listing an obituary, it is important to find the necessary paperwork to help you with the next steps to managing your loved one’s estate.

Other important paperwork could include titles to cars or deeds to property. You will need to have certified copies of the death certificate in order to accomplish this. Your loved one’s finances should be the next area to tackle.

This includes making a full list of all the debts and assets. Retirement plans, 401(k)s and IRAs are an example of assets. Determine who was listed as a beneficiary on any retirement plans since these assets will passed to the person named and the same follows for life insurance policies. If there was a mortgage on a piece of real estate, it is important to continue making the monthly payment and the same holds for any insurance payments. If there was an automobile or home involved, the insurance coverage should also be continued.

Do you want to include instructions for your loved ones to help with your estate? Speak with an estate planning lawyer today to get started. 

My Roller Coaster Face, Fear/Excitement, Dinner Event

February 27, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Raymund Rasco @ 2:25 pm

The picture below was taken at Six Flags Great Adventure on a ride called Kingda Ka. To protect the innocent, I blurred out the faces of my friend as well as the kids who rode with us. I didn’t think it would be right for me to cover my face. 

Funny thing, I still remember exactly how I felt at that very moment on the ride. Anybody who’s been on that ride knows it’s a little ridiculous – it goes from 0 to 128 miles per hour in a few seconds. 

Then why the heck am I smiling? Clearly, it’s not a comfortable smile. I’m smiling because somewhere deep down inside of me I have confidence that this roller coaster isn’t coming off the tracks. If I didn’t have that confidence, I wouldn’t be excited – I would be fearful. (Okay, honestly speaking – there’s some fear there as well too.) 

As I type this message, the stock market has had two consecutive down days and drops of almost 2000 points. Even the most confident investors are probably a little fearful. But long-term investors cannot and should not try to predict if this is the start of a longer trend or an isolated time period. The only other 1,000-point drops for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) were on February 5th and 8th of 2018. Since then, the DJIA went on to make many new highs. (In case you missed it, I recorded a video about this a few weeks ago: click here 

About a hundred years of history tells me, with confidence, that: 

A. Roller coasters don’t go off the tracks, and 

B. Long-term investors come out ahead in the long run. 

When you integrate your legal plan, tax plan, and financial plan you will come out ahead. I’m continuing to watch the markets, but I’m sending this message to remind you that this is not the time to react emotionally. 

If you are currently a client and are interested in learning how developments in 2020 on the tax, financial and legal fronts will impact you – we are hosting a dinner event on March 4, 2020. I’m not sharing the details in this email because it’s only open to our clients and their guests. We are keeping the room small and intimate, but if you’re interested in attending please reply and we will get you on the list.  

Three Estate Planning Steps to Take for New Parents

February 26, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:17 pm

It’s very exciting to think about all of the possibilities ahead of you and your family when you have your first child, but in addition to all of the other busy new parent related tasks on your list, making an estate plan should jump to the top of the priorities.

Putting off this process before your first one is common because many spouses simply decide to pass all their assets onto one another. However, three estate planning steps should be taken into consideration when having your first child and updating your estate plans to reflect the new structure of your family.

These include making a will, buying life insurance, and naming a guardian. Each of these steps works best when you’ve implemented the other two.

In the creation of your will, you are able to name a guardian who can take over care for your minor child in the event that you and your spouse become unable to do so.

Creating a will can be done by sitting down with an experienced estate planning attorney. In addition, you should also consider buying a life insurance policy that will help provide immediate benefits for your loved ones should something ever happen to you.

Are There Any Dangers with DIY Estate Planning?

February 25, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:47 pm

Today, thanks to the multitude of online resources and tools you can find about many different legal processes including estate planning, it’s easy to feel a sense of security about taking on this project DIY. Creating your own will might seem simple enough, but it’s a task you can tackle on your own. However, minor changes in wording can have big ramifications on how your will is processed through probate and who receives what.

In these situations, it can sometimes make much more sense to partner with an experienced and dedicated estate planning attorney who can guide you through the process. Avoiding DIY estate planning and turning right to an attorney is also recommended if you intend to use a trust.

Trust can be tricky because at their base element, they are a legal document to pass assets to a beneficiary. However, trust can involve much more complicated maneuvers such as conditions attached to a bequest like handing out money only after the beneficiary reaches a certain age or dispersing funds over time. There are tax advantages to irrevocable trusts, but the ability to update a revocable trust also means this is something you should consider while consulting with your estate planning attorney.

While there are usually some estate documents that could be done without consulting with a CPA or a lawyer, the potential future impacts of these documents cannot be understated. Partnering with an experienced and dedicated estate planning lawyer will not only give you peace of mind, but ensure that you have protected what is most important to you. Avoiding these mistakes can make things that much easier for your loved ones.

Get a Spring Cleaning Start on Estate Planning

February 24, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 8:15 am

It’s the perfect time of year to incorporate your estate planning into the bigger picture. Estate planning requires a team approach and communication with all relevant parties. If you’re also a business owner, you can’t complete the process of estate planning without incorporating business succession planning and asset protection planning.

 All of the key stakeholders and outside professionals who are connected to all of these decisions should be involved as to understand the process. If your estate planning papers are all old or if you’re not even sure where to find them, set aside time to schedule an in-person meeting with your lawyer. Starting all over with a new set of documents for whatever you need in this stage of life is recommended.

Estate planning involves critical decisions about financial, family tax, business, and legal decisions. It also helps to reduce the state taxes, secure your own financial future, determine what your retirement will look like, and influences your overall assets.

The first step in accomplishing the estate planning process is to reach out for expert advice. If you already have a tax accountant you trust, they will likely know an attorney or a financial planner who can help you.

Tax time is also the perfect time to reevaluate your overall financial picture and to make decisions about how your estate planning and other future plans should be adjusted in the future.

My Parent is Struggling with Dementia: What Now?

February 19, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:12 pm

If your loved one was recently diagnosed with dementia, the entire family has plenty of things to think about. It’s hard to determine when things have gotten so bad that you need additional support or to consider whether they need to move to a new place so you can either keep an eye on them or have a group of people, like facility staff, do the same. 

Young carer walking with the elderly woman in the park

When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, the disease might have already progressed. However, others might catch these situations early on in the process and recognize that their loved one, by all accounts, still appears to be fine. 

Dementia can cause what seems like sudden changes to an outsider, or it can be more of a gradual decline. If multiple family members are involved in making these care decisions, this can also complicate the situation if not everyone agrees.

If you feel like things have become a safety risk but your brother argues that your mom or dad is fine, you might push off the decision over creating a power of attorney or making a care plan. There’s no one tried and true way to decide when the disease has progressed far enough that it’s worrisome; you’ll have to make that call for yourself.

Having a power of attorney document in place sooner rather than later means that when the time comes, if your loved one is no longer able to make decisions for themself or take care of themselves that you or another power of attorney agent can then step in. While you might hope that you have plenty of time before that becomes necessary, if your loved one is struggling to pay their bills, has difficulty remembering where they are, or has had any near-miss or near-injury events in the recent past, now is a time to take more serious action.

Need help with a dementia-related power of attorney? Contact our office today for help from a Mississippi lawyer. 

Attorney Shah Chimes in: Wall Street Journal Estate Planning

February 18, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:33 pm

Attorney Neel Shah was recently featured in a Wall Street Journal article about making decisions to distributing unequally among your children.

While the easiest solution to estate planning would be to divide up your property equally among your heirs, this doesn’t always fit with family dynamics.

Whether you’re paying for things now and trying to keep things equal while your children are young or making key decisions about what happens to your property when you pass away, you have to make personal decisions based on your family’s needs and the kinds of assets you hold.

When carrying over this process for estate planning purposes, consider the following questions in deciding the right structure for passing on your assets and collections to your kids:

  • Does one child have more of an interest in carrying on a family business?
  • Do one or more children feel like they have a personal or sentimental connection to certain items you own?
  • Do any of your children struggle with managing money effectively?
  • Do any of your children cope with problems like addiction that could impair their ability to manage finances properly?
  • Does one child not have the same economic opportunities with their education and training or have specific concerns like supporting a special needs child?

Given that each family has their own unique issues at play, a one-size-fits-all estate plan rarely, if ever, makes sense. While you might not know which strategies you want to use right away, a consultation with a dedicated estate planning lawyer can help you navigate this process more easily and ensure that you create a plan most in line with your family’s wishes and needs.

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