Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts

Estate Planning may involve only a simple will, or it may involve numerous transactions, trusts, gifts and deeds.  Ideally, property should pass as its owner desires, with taxes being kept at a minimum.  Wills range from the very simple, such as those leaving everything outright to a spouse, children, and other family members, to the very complex, involving numerous trusts. The simplest wills can be prepared for less than $200.00.

More complex wills, often involving one trust or more trusts, prepared in contemplation of Income Taxes, Estate Taxes, Gift Taxes, and the Generation Skipping Transfer Tax require more time and expense to be carefully and competently planned, prepared, and implemented.

Setting up an irrevocable trust must be done with caution and careful planning.  If done well, this can shield assets not only from taxes, but also from creditors who are owed money by an individual.  Creditors of an individual can attempt to confiscate that individual's assets through legal proceedings, but if ownership of the individual's home or financial accounts has been transferred to an irrevocable trust, those assets should be beyond the reach of the individual's creditors.  

When the grandmother of a friend passed away, her family's grief was not alleviated by the fact that the government gobbled up 40% of her grandmother's possessions because her grandparents had never set up a trust or utilized other estate planning methods. My friend's grandparents had worked hard, saved diligently and invested wisely. They were provided for in their golden years, and I believe this is part of the American Dream. I do not believe there is room in the American Dream for giving up nearly half of what you own to the government instead of passing it on to your children, grandchildren, and other loved ones.