What Are the Benefits of Estate Planning?
You may believe that estate planning is not necessary if you don’t have valuable assets. However, you still have an estate, and you could benefit from having a comprehensive estate plan. You may assume that if you don’t have plenty of assets to distribute you don’t need an estate plan. While estate planning does deal with the distribution of your assets following your death, it offers much more.
Having estate, probate & trust attorneys from NC Planning helping you assemble an estate plan ensures every aspect of estate planning benefits you and your family. Estate planning is crucial to your future and the future of your loved ones. Estate planning can benefit you in the following ways:
- You can protect your assets while you are alive, in the event you become incapacitated, or upon your death. This means you can plan for your retirement or the possibility that you might have to go into a long-term care facility. You can designate a person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated, as well as someone to make financial decisions on your behalf. This prevents your family from having to go to court to have a guardian appointed.
- Disposing of your assets in the manner you choose is accomplished through an estate plan. Without an estate plan, your loved ones may be left to deal with the chaos—and the State. The State may determine who will receive your assets rather than you making those determinations. While the State will follow the laws regarding intestate succession, those laws may not reflect your wishes in any way.
- Choosing a guardian for your minor children is accomplished through an estate plan, more specifically, your will. Imagine if your children were left without parents and the State chose a guardian for them. Perhaps you are estranged from your own parent—for very specific reasons—yet the State deems them the best person to raise your children. Having an estate plan in place that makes your wishes clear ensures your children will not have to live with decisions made by the State.
- Estate taxes, capital gains taxes, generation-skipping transfer taxes, and gift taxes can all be minimized through a well-thought-out estate plan. If you have accumulated a substantial amount of wealth that you want to leave to your loved ones, these are important issues to consider.
- If charitable giving is important to you, you can continue your legacy of giving through an estate plan. Legacy planning can shape the way you are remembered after your death. This can include setting up a charitable trust, creating a family foundation, or participating in a donor-advised fund to support causes you find important.
- Family wealth can be protected through an estate plan. When others see substantial wealth, frivolous lawsuits can ensue. Estate planning allows the preservation of family wealth by removing your name from assets, placing them into trusts, limited liability entities, or other legally protected instruments. Estate planning can also prepare future generations for the wealth they will one day receive.
Estate planning can help ensure that your loved ones will not have to make difficult decisions following your death or incapacitation—because those decisions have already been made by you. You have the ability, through proactive planning, to alleviate a heavy burden – and potential conflicts – for your family. The highly skilled NC Planning attorneys believe in listening carefully to your goals before making recommendations for your estate plan. We will comprehensively answer your estate planning questions, guiding you through the process in the best possible way.
How Can Experienced Cary, NC Estate, Probate & Trust Attorneys Help?
Your estate plan is essentially your “legal legacy,” and is more than simply a list of your assets and who gets them. Even if your wishes are simply that your children receive all your assets, complications can arise, and your estate, probate & trust attorneys can help you plan for those potential complications. Estate planning attorneys can do things you likely cannot, including:
- Helping you avoid probate and estate taxes. Probate can be an expensive, lengthy process that can be avoided with the help of an estate planning attorney. The use of trusts can help you avoid probate—and preparing your own trust is virtually never a good idea.
- Knowing which legal documents are best suited to your unique situation. Estate planning is not a “one size fits all” process. Your financial situation, your family makeup, and your wishes for the future are specific to you. Your NC Planning attorney will take the time to get to know you and your goals, in order to determine which legal planning tools you need.
- Keeping up with the latest laws on estate planning. Estate planning laws—both federal and state—change often. Your estate planning lawyer from NC Planning will have knowledge of the newest rules, including the latest IRS exemption limits for estate gifts and generation-skipping transfer taxes.
- Resolving estate disputes and ensuring your interests are always protected.
- Ensuring your estate plan is always up-to-date and continues to express your wishes.
NC Planning Estate, Probate & Trust Attorneys Assisting You with All Aspects of Estate Planning
Whether you are planning for your loved ones or your business, the NC Planning attorneys can help. We offer the following estate planning services:
- Wills are used to name a guardian for your children, as well as to distribute your assets to those you choose. It’s important that your will adhere to state laws and that it clearly expresses your wishes. You may want to combine your will with other estate planning documents, including a trust, to fully meet your needs and minimize the effects of probate.
- Trusts can be used for many different purposes and can negate the need for probate—a lengthy, expensive, and public process. The trust you choose will be based on your specific needs and goals. Some of the more common types of trusts include:
- Revocable Trusts are the most common type of trust, made while the person making the trust is alive. A revocable trust can benefit the maker of the trust (grantor) while they are alive while benefitting family members following their death. A revocable trust can also address the incapacitation of the grantor, naming another person to make medical and financial decisions on their behalf.
- Irrevocable Trusts are trusts in which the grantor—the person creating the trust—ceases to own the assets transferred into the trust. The grantor retains no rights to revoke, terminate or modify the trust in any way. As such, irrevocable trusts can be an effective vehicle for protecting assets from creditors and for tax planning purposes.
- Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trusts are used when a special needs child requires government benefits and services, but an inheritance could potentially prevent those benefits and services. When an inheritance is in a Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trust, the special needs child remains eligible for such services as SSI and Medicaid.
- Charitable Trusts allow you to set up your assets to benefit you, your beneficiaries, and the charities of your choice—all at the same time. A charitable trust can offer a number of financial advantages to those who believe giving back is important.
- Trust Administration can be greatly facilitated by an experienced NC Planning attorney. Most successor trustees have no experience administering a trust and can benefit from the knowledge an NC Planning trust administration attorney brings to the table.
- Probate can be a lengthy, complex process. The details of probate are public to anyone who has an interest. An experienced probate attorney can expedite the process, ensuring deadlines are met and all paperwork is properly filed.
- Estate Administration includes trust administration, probate, and any other tasks associated with administering the estate of a decedent.
- Tax Planning can be helpful now and in the future. Proactive and effective tax planning attorneys can work to reduce gift and estate taxes as well as personal and income taxes.
- Powers of Attorney give one individual the legal authority to handle the affairs of another. A power of attorney document usually covers the lifetime of the grantor and specific tasks.
- Elder Law assists seniors in planning for the future, including retirement planning and planning for and funding long term care.
How NC Planning Help Clients Across Plan for the Road Ahead
With offices in Raleigh, NC, and Cary, NC, the NC Planning attorneys can help you build an estate plan that accurately reflects your wishes for the future. We will address all of your personal priorities while ensuring you are prepared for the unexpected. At NC Planning, we work with clients who have significant wealth, down to those with minimal assets—and everyone in between. The NC Planning team will take a strategic, advisory role regarding your estate plan. We are responsive to your needs and believe strongly in open, honest communication. While many firms talk about client care, we live it, consistently delivering the highest level of service to our clients. If you are thinking about estate planning, talk to a knowledgeable NC Planning attorney. We believe you will agree that we can deliver the services you need. Contact NC Planning today for a complimentary consultation regarding your estate planning needs.