It can be a misconception that estate planning is only necessary for the wealthy, but this simply isn’t true. There are plenty of reasons why you should do estate planning, regardless of your net worth. For one thing, this can help define who inherits your assets. It also determines who will be the guardian of your minor children or any dependents with special needs. The components of proper estate planning usually include a Revocable Living Trust, a Last Will and Testament, a Durable Power of Attorney and a Health Care Power of Attorney.
Essentially, creating an optimal strategy for your legacy is more than just managing estate taxes- it’s about organizing your assets so they pass to your family, loved ones or a charity in the manner you wish. It’s about potentially maximizing how much you leave behind, while still ensuring that your financial needs can be taken care of for the rest of your life. Bauman Advisory Group, LLC does not offer tax planning or legal services, but may provide references to accounting, tax services or legal providers. They may also work with your attorney or independent tax or legal advisor.
Establishing a Trust
A Living Trust is a legal document that you create to hold your assets for you while you are alive. This title is called the Trustor. You will also be the trustee of your trust, which allows you to manage the trust assets for the beneficiary. The beneficiary of the trust is you while you are alive. Your life will go on the same way with a trust as it did without one. The only difference is you do not own anything anymore your trust owns it. You can open accounts and close them. You can buy and sell real estate just like you did when you didn’t have a trust. You own and control the trust so you don’t lose control. This is how you avoid probate.
Now in your trust you will have backups so in case you become incapacitated your successor trustee will step in and take care of the trust for you since you are still the beneficiary. Should you unfortunately past away, your successor trustee will be in charge of administering your estate to your back up beneficiaries.
Your back up beneficiaries can be anyone you want: your children, grandchildren, friends, charities, etc. You can leave it to them outright or over a period of time. Your successor trustee has a fiduciary duty to prudently manage your trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries should you pay out their distribution over time.
Proper Estate Plans should include the following:
- Revocable Living Trust
- Last Will and Testament(s)
- Power of Attorney(s)
- Health Care Power of Attorney(s)
- Declaration of Trust
- Assignment of Personal Property
- Burial Instruction(s)
- Non-Qualified Asset Transfer Letters
- Qualified Beneficiary Letters
- Successor Trustee Checklist
- Estate Planning Binder
Bauman Advisory Group, LLC does not offer legacy planning services but has a strategic alliance with Asset Protection of America who provides legacy planning documents. License #NVDP2014618301