Family and Wealth Planning

Is an Estate Plan not for when I die?

Estate Planning is a term commonly used to describe a plan for what will happen with assets upon the owner’s death. There is so much more to Estate Planning than death planning.

  • An Estate Plan is not just to transfer wealth at death. In fact, many Estates are not very wealthy.
  • The most important part of planning is protecting yourself. Yes! You heard right: “protecting yourself.” Who makes legal and medical decisions for you in the event of temporary or long-term incapacity?  We do not want the court appointing a stranger to make sensitive decisions regarding our health and our money.
  • Then we protect your family, especially if you have young children. Who is going to be the guardian of your children if you are not able to care for them yourself? If you do not nominate specific people, the court will do so for you. They may choose who they believe is best, but will their choice be the right choice according to you? Maybe not.
  • It is then that we plan to protect your assets and we plan to make sure that if you are not around, yours will be able to continue to run your business or have enough to live decently. How? That is going to be an article in our next issue.
  • We recommend, in most cases, a trust-based plan. Why? Because it allows to cover most of the situations above. What’s the difference between a trust and a will? Click here to read more.

The right time to have your plan in place is Right Now! Do not wait until it may be too late. Feel free to schedule your Legacy Planning Session here or give us a call at 305-456-7158 and I will be happy to review your family needs and make the appropriate recommendations for you and your family. My ultimate goal is for you to enjoy peace of mind.

Yahima Suarez, PA
305-456-7158
ysuarez@yslawyers.com

Yahima Suarez
Yahima Suarez, J.D. Estate Planning for your Family
Estate Planning, Family and Wealth Planning, Legacy Planning, Testamentos y Herencias

Estate Planning? For what?

Estate planning? I am not rich!  Estate planning? I am not going to die!

Have you said that yourself many times? Yes, I know. I have said it too. It was not until my daughter was born that I really understood the importance and the need of having an Estate Plan. Here are some of the reasons to plan:

  1. An Estate Plan is not just to transfer wealth at death. In fact, many Estates are not very wealthy.
  2. The most important part of planning is protecting yourself. Yes! Who makes legal and medical decisions for you in the event of temporary or long-term incapacity?  We do not want the court appointing a stranger to make sensitive decisions regarding our health and our money.
  3. Then we protect your family, especially if you have young children. Who is going to be the guardian of your children if you are not able to care for them yourself? If you do not nominate specific people, the court will do so for you. They may choose who they believe is best, but will their choice be the right choice according to you? Maybe not.
  4. It is then that we plan to protect your assets and we plan to make sure that if you are not around, yours will be able to continue to run your business or have enough to live decently. How? That is going to be an article in our next issue.
  5. We recommend, in most cases, a trust-based plan. Why? Because it allows to cover most of the situations above. What’s the difference between a trust and a will? Read our post from July 11 or click on Will v. Revocable Living Trust and we will forward you the article.

If you are interested in knowing more of how we can help you protect your family, your business, your valuables and yourself with an Estate Plan that will meet the needs of your families, feel free to click Estate Planning Session or give us a call at 305-456-7158 and we will schedule a Legacy and Estate Planning Session for you.Either way, do not wait, be protected and  have peace of mind knowing you have the right estate plan.

Yahima Suarez, PA
305-456-7158
ysuarez@yslawyers.com

Yahima Suarez
Yahima Suarez, J.D. Estate Planning for your Family

 

Estate Planning, Family and Wealth Planning, Legacy Planning, Testamentos y Herencias

Will v. Trust. Who wins?

So what does a Trust do that a Will does not? Below are some of the main differences:

  1.  Planning for incapacity – Wills have nothing to do with incapacity.  Will based plans must rely on a durable power of attorney or a guardianship proceeding in case of a long-term incapacity.  Durable powers of attorney are not readily accepted in cases of long-term incapacity and lack distribution guidelines.  Guardianship proceedings are public, expensive and not timely.  With a living trust plan, the client picks who they want in control and can specify specific guidelines and desires.
  2. Privacy– In today’s environment public information on individuals is a commodity.  Wills become a public document upon the death of the testator/testatrix including the names of the beneficiaries. A decedent’s living trust is not a public document and the grantor’s planning remains private.
  3.  Clients tend to have a better understanding of how property should be titled– While joint tenancy with right of survivorship can sabotage both will-based planning and living trust planning, clients with a living trust centered plan seem to have a better understanding of why how assets are titled is an important part of the estate plan.  Will based planning attorneys and clients mistakenly tend to believe that funding is not necessary when in actuality proper funding is just as important for will based planning.
  4. Insurance beneficiary designations are simpler with trust centered planning– With a living trust centered estate plan you can just name the trust as beneficiary of estate plans and get the advantage of running the proceeds of the insurance through the formula clause without exposing the proceeds to probate and potential creditors.  Insurance companies and HR departments understand naming living trusts as beneficiaries.  They become confused when asked to name testamentary trusts as beneficiaries.
  5.  No need for an ancillary probate– Even though a state’s probate process may be simplified, the state of the decedent’s residence has no jurisdiction over out of state property.  With a living trust, there is no death of the owner, so no need for an ancillary probate.
  6. Clients want to avoid probate– Even if you tell clients that probate avoidance is not necessary, the clients still want to avoid probate.  No matter how much I might tell a client that probate avoidance is not the reason I recommend a living trust centered estate plan, the clients still want assurance that their planning will avoid probate.

The above are just some of the reasons to have a Trust-Based plan. If you would like to schedule your planning session to see how I can help you plan for you and yours and have peace of mind, click Estate Planning Session  or call 305-456-7158. I will be happy to help you achieve peace of mind.

Yahima Suarez, PA
305-456-7158
ysuarez@yslawyers.com

Yahima Suarez
Yahima Suarez, J.D. Estate Planning for your Family
Family and Wealth Planning, Legacy Planning, Testamentos y Herencias

Another Super Star Dies Intestate: What happens now?

This is not the first time it happens and, sadly, it continues to happen. Prince, as did Elvis Presley, died intestate – without an Estate Plan. There was no Will or Trust drafted. The consequences? Well, the answer would be court battles, family disunity, lots of money spent on attorneys, administrators and on taxes.

At this time, a Judge in Minnesota has appointed Bremer Trust, a company, to continue to manage Prince’s affairs while there is a Determination of Heirs. Prince left no Will so the Court must determine who will inherit from him and the Court will decide what each person will inherit. If the beneficiaries do not agree on the distribution of Prince’s specific assets, assets will have to be sold and moneys distributed to the beneficiaries ONLY after paying any taxes due to the government.

If Prince had a Will, an administrator or personal representative would have been appointed and there would have been no need for a company to be involved and all his assets would have been transferred to the person or persons that he really wanted to receive.  The process would have been public anyways but most of the battle over who will inherit what would not exist. On the other hand, if Prince had died leaving his assets in trust, we would not even be hearing about the details of what he left and how it was distributed and to whom unless the beneficiaries were willing to put that information out there in the public domain.

You have a choice of deciding if you want your beneficiaries (unknown at this time) to fight over what you leave behind or to make sure that what you have ends in the hands of those you really care to have it. You have the control of deciding if your affairs will be public upon your incapacity or death or if they will be handled in the privacy of your attorney’s office without the media involvement.

The right time to put your time in place is Right Now! Do not wait until it may be too late. Feel free to schedule your Legacy Planning Session here or give us a call at 305-456-7158 and I will be happy to review your family needs and make the appropriate recommendations for you and your family. My ultimate goal is for you to enjoy peace of mind.

Yahima Suarez, PA
305-456-7158
ysuarez@yslawyers.com

Yahima Suarez

Yahima Suarez, J.D. Estate Planning for your Family

Estate Planning, Family and Wealth Planning, Legacy Planning, Testamentos y Herencias

Revocable Trust vs. Irrevocable Trust: Which Is Best for You?

Trusts  allow you to avoid probate, minimize taxes, provide organization, maintain control, and provide for yourself and your heirs. In its most simple terms, a trust is a book of instructions wherein you tell your people what to do, when, and how.

While there are many types of trusts, the major distinction between trusts is whether they are revocable or irrevocable. Let’s take a look at both so you’ll have the information you need:

Revocable Trusts. Revocable trusts are also known as “living trusts” because they benefit you during your lifetime and you can alter, change, modify, or revoke them if your circumstances or goals change.

  • You stay in control of your revocable trust. You can transfer property into a trust and take it out, serve as the trustee, and be the beneficiary. You have full control. Most of our clients like that.
  • You select successor trustees to manage the trust if you become incapacitated and for after you die. Most of our clients like that they, not the courts, select who’s in charge when they need help.
  • Your trust assets avoid probate. This makes it difficult for creditors to access assets since they must petition a court for an order to enable the creditor to get to the assets held in the trust. Most of our clients want to protect their beneficiaries’ inheritances.

Irrevocable Trusts: When irrevocable trusts are used, assets are transferred out of the trustmaker’s estate into the name of the trust.  You, as the trustmaker, cannot alter, change, modify, or revoke this trust after execution. It’s irrevocable and you usually cannot be in control.

  • Irrevocable trust assets have increased asset protection and are kept out of the reach of creditors.
  • Taxes are often reduced because, in most cases, irrevocable trust assets are no longer part of your estate.
  • Trust protectors can modify your trust if your goals become frustrated.

So which one should you choose? It will depend on your needs, family situation, desires, and options to achieve your economic and family protection goals. As experienced estate planning attorneys, we can help you figure out whether a revocable or irrevocable trust is a good fit for you and your loved ones.

Give us a call at 305-456-7158 and we will schedule an Estate Planning Session for you or you can click Estate Planning Session to request we call you to schedule. Either way, do not wait, be protected and  have peace of mind knowing you have the right estate plan.

Yahima Suarez, Esq.
Yahima Suarez, PA
305-456-7158
http://www.yslawyers.com