One thing you can always expect in life is the unexpected. You never know when things could change suddenly because of an accident or illness. Most people donâ€™t ever anticipate becoming unable to handle their own decisions regarding their property and their life or to die unexpectedly, but unfortunately it can and does happen. That is why it is so important to keep your estate planning up to date and to keep your trusts for them in order. The experienced legal team at Dawson & Ozanne can assist you with your trust and/or estate.
An estate is described legally as a personâ€™s net worth at any time when they are alive or at the time of their death. It is the sum total of persons valuable assets minus the same personâ€™s financial liabilities. Things which are typically a part of a personâ€™s estate are their home, bank accounts, IRAs, furniture and stock holdings. Estates most often come into play at the time of a personâ€™s diagnosis with a terminal illness or death. Legal experts always caution you to not wait until the last minute to put your affairs in order because if death happens suddenly, then it may be too late to put your estate in order and it will then be distributed by state law or probate court.
To prevent the state from taking charge of your estate and ensuring your assets are passed on to your loved ones, itâ€™s important to do proper estate planning update it on a regular basis. Estate planning is when a person arranges for the disposal of their assets at a certain period in their life. Proper estate planning helps to legally get around the uncertainties of probate administration after death and also helps to increase the value of the estate by lowering taxes and expenses. This is where trusts come into play.
A trust (or living trust) is often described as transferring your assets from your name to those of the trust, but you still retain all ownership rights to the assets. It should not be confused with a Last Will and Testament because it is executed while a person is still alive, not after they are deceased, even though there may be a death component to it. Often the trustee, the person who you place in charge of the trust, is you. In the event of your death, there will be a pre-named successor to the trust who takes over control of it after you are deceased.
How does all of this help your estate? As we said before, its two main advantages are maintaining or increasing the value of the estate through the reduction of taxes and other expenses, and it keeps the estate from going to probate or being distributed by state law after your death. You have worked hard all your life to accumulate your wealth and that should translate into as much as possible going to those you love.
Estate planning and trusts are far too important to ignore until something bad actually happens. That is why it is so important to consult an estate and trust lawyer to see how they can help you put your affairs in order so you and your family are not financially impacted by the unexpected.
At Dawson & Ozanne, our experienced attorneys can assist you with your trust and/or estate.