7226 Lee Deforest DR #207
Columbia, MD 21046
Wills & Estate Planning
Protect your heirs with simple, affordable tools
Nobody likes to think about it. Nobody likes to talk about it. Your adult children probably are hesitating to bring it up because they don’t want to upset you.
Perhaps they drop hints here and there, trying to be subtle, because they too know that without your expressed wishes in a legal document, they will face months of paperwork, the possibility of infighting amongst their siblings, and perhaps thousands of dollars in fees. The worst part about it is after the dust settles and relationships have been at worst alienated, your assets STILL may not go where you intended them to.
Probate is the government’s answer to poor estate planning
At some point everyone is going to face the truth that when they die, there are only two avenues that the hard-earned lifelong assets they have created will take.
One is that your assets will be properly distributed according to your precise wishes – leaving a legacy for your spouse, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, charities and the like to benefit from. You will have put simple tools in place ahead of time that not only protect money and property, but protect the very relationships that benefit from them.
The other is that your assets will be invaded upon by inefficient government bureaucracy that has no interest or care in you or your family – but only in prolonging a process that benefits them in the end. Your wishes will be left up to interpretation of a judge. He will review your case as he does hundreds if not thousands of other cases. Your lifetime of work and careful investing has now been reduced to a case number.
For those of us on the legal side of poor or nonexistent estate planning, it’s very difficult to watch because we know that with some simple legal documentation, you can keep the government out of your family’s bank accounts, real estate and other affairs that only those you trust should be in charge of.
You don’t have to be wealthy to have an estate plan
Individuals who have even a modest amount of assets (a home for example) titled in their name alone and decide to put off their estate planning, will inevitably lead their loved ones straight to a government-imposed estate plan, otherwise known as probate.
Probate is the government process administered through the court that distributes your assets after you have passed (making sure that all the governmental agencies get their cut as well). The government doesn’t necessarily want to manage your assets upon your passing, they are just put in a position to do so because most people don’t plan well enough ahead.
Contrary to what most people think, the probate plan even has full control over estates where the deceased left a will, which is why even a will is not enough in some cases. The state will tax your estate way before it ever reaches your heirs.
How trusts keep your money safe
How do you keep as much money in your estate as possible? Use a trust. A trust is a simple tool that allows you to avoid the gross inefficiencies of the probate process. A trust is like having all of your assets on your own island where only you and those who you designate have access to. No one else is allowed on it unless you say they are. Not even the federal or state governments get to have access.Now you’re back in control.
Not all trusts are the same and there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to implementing them. How a trust is written is critical – especially when it comes to avoiding paying more taxes than necessary.
Take life insurance as an example. Did you know your life insurance is a taxable asset? Most people don’t. That 2 million dollar life insurance policy you have will be added onto your assets when you die and your estate will be taxed on that amount before anyone you care about ever sees a nickel. An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust will help you decrease your tax burden by excluding that life insurance amount from your taxable estate.
A trust is your own personal decree that explicitly expresses your wishes, so there are no gray areas. It’s simple, it works, and is one of the several estate planning tools that Shapiro, Zwanetz & Associates (SZA) provides its customers for iron-clad asset protection.
You’ve spent a lifetime working and investing your wealth. You’re entitled to keep as much of that wealth in your estate for your family as you can. The only way to do that is through estate planning tools and giving power to people you trust.
Don’t wait another day. Schedule a FREE, no-obligation estate planning consultation today with Shapiro, Zwanetz & Associates (SZA) today so you can get your questions answered and protect yourself and your family.
CONTACT US TODAY AND GET A