Did you know that sometimes we recommend that clients simplify their plans instead of upgrading or keeping their current trust platform? You might ask why we would not put all the “protections” in place that we could or why we would recommend not having a trust or moving from the trust to the Will as the vehicle for administering one’s estate. Here are some reasons why:
1. Change in Circumstances – This could mean many things, including changes in relationships, changes in wealth, or changes in where you live. People put trusts in place for many different reasons, and if these reasons no longer exist, then it is time to update the estate plan and simplify.
But what about estate taxes?
2. Taxes – Many times our clients come to us with a trust already in place due to estate tax concerns and wanting to save money. Well, tax laws have changed and continue to update. Many clients who once needed that protection no longer fall into the category of incurring estate taxes upon their deaths. North Carolina currently has no estate tax, and the federal laws allow for a $5.43 million estate per spouse before taxing an estate. If a client’s estate no longer falls into this category, we recommend that he or she simplify his or her plan.
Well, why not just keep it status quo?
3. Cost – Let’s be honest. Having an attorney draw up a trust v.s. a Will is going to make a difference in what the attorney fees will be. If a client does not need a trust for tax reasons or otherwise, then our recommendation is going to be a Will. It will save you money and will be less complicated in administering your estate. Our philosophy is not to overcharge or over-plan for our clients, but rather to put into place something that will take care of our clients’ needs and concerns, while maintaining efficiency.
Speaking of complications…
4. Loved Ones – Most of our clients do not want to over-complicate their estate plan for several reasons, including their wish to make things as easy as possible for loved ones who are left to manage the estate when they are gone. Knowing that the administration will be easy, and not burdensome, to your loved ones, is most definitely a motivating factor to simplify your estate plan and to make it as easy as possible for your loved ones who will not only be handling your estate, but also grieving your loss.
All these items could have an impact on whether or not our attorneys would recommend simplifying your estate plan to make things easier and more clear cut, not only for you, but especially your loved ones. Again our goal is to give you the most efficient plan possible, and if that includes complex planning, we can do that. But if you find yourself needing to simplify your plan, then we are here to assist you in achieving that as well.