Did you know that more than 65% of the population does not have a valid estate plan in place? We want to change that. Furthermore, a large portion of the plans that are in place have not been updated or are outdated. If the estate plan does not fit your needs, it could cause more harm than not having a plan in the first place.
Whether you are married, single, divorced, or widowed, an estate plan can benefit you. Regardless of your age, an estate plan can benefit you. Do not wait until it is too late. It is never too early to have a plan.
A well executed estate plan by ABC Utah Law can help you and your family:
- Avoid probate costs
- Avoid the 16 month probate period
- Save thousands on estate taxes
- Minimize family conflict and hassle
- And much, much more
A typical attorney will charge you hourly for the work that they do. A typical estate planning firm will leave you high and dry after giving you a blanket plan. Do not settle for a regular estate planning firm or a cookie cutter plan. I believe in creating long term relationships with my clients. I do this by customizing my work to my clients’ needs.
At most estate planning law firms the relationship ends when you sign your documents. At ABC Utah Law I see the signing of your estate planning documents as the beginning of a life-long relationship with you and your family.
Over time, your assets will change; your family may change; and I know for sure that the law will change. Your plan must accommodate all of these changes in order to make sure your plan works when your family needs it the most. If your plan is not properly updated over time, your documents become worthless…worth no more than the paper they were printed on. And the costs of failing to update are typically far greater than keeping your plan current.
With each of my estate plans I include a no-charge three year review to ensure that as my clients’ lives change, so does their estate plan and ensure that all my clients’ assets are held properly for maximum protection. I also include in my planning process a creative way for my clients to pass on more than just their financial assets, but also their human assets — who they are and what is important to them.
Asset Protection Planning
Utah’s innovative asset protection trust law is one of the unsurpassed in the country. Underneath the new law you can fund an irrevocable trust with your possessions and go on as the beneficiary and the co-trustee. So long as the trust is scripted to meet the necessities of the new statute, your forthcoming creditors should not be able to touch your trust assets.
Nevertheless Asset protection planning is not attained by any one precise tactic. Nor is there a “one-size-fits all” answer. The strategies that are true for protecting your assets can be realized once we evaluate the type of assets you own, your definite risk dynamics, and the level of protection you need.
My office supports my clients in defining the suitable level of asset protection planning for their specific state of affairs. My office will contemplate insurance, prenuptial agreements, asset segregation, choice of jurisdiction, gifting, LLCs, partnerships, corporations, and asset protection trusts. Tailored combinations are used depending on the desires of the client and as applicable.
There are many diverse strategies to achieve the protection of your assets while you are alive and after you are departed.
Legal Guardian Plans
Many parents tell me that they don't need a comprehensive estate plan because they don't have a lot of stuff. But they forget that the most valuable asset a parent will ever have needs to be protected and taken care of...their children.
At ABC Utah Law, we enjoy helping our clients plan for the well-being and care of the children you love.
What is a Legal Guardian Plan?
A Legal Guardian Plan is more than just a Guardianship Nomination. A Legal Guardian Plan is a comprehensive set of legal documents that protect your minor children from being taken into state custody if something were to happen to you and your spouse.
If you are in an accident, your Legal Guardian Plan will make sure your children are taken care of by the ones you want. Many parents have an idea of who they would like to take care of their children if they were gone, and a lot of parents know who they DO NOT want to take care of their children. A Legal Guardian Plan helps you ensure that your children are cared for by the individuals you decide on, not someone picked by a judge who doesn't know you and your loved ones.
Advanced Estate Tax Planning
You work your whole life to save, and make worthy financial decisions so that you can have adequate funds when you retire, and then, with any luck, leave a little to your loved ones after you pass away. Along life’s journey, you pay taxes… income taxes, property taxes, sales tax, ect.. At the completion of the day, the government wants to tax you one last time, after you pass away on whatever you have left. This is known as the federal estate tax (it is also called the inheritance tax or death tax).
What You Need to Know
The estate tax is not connected to the income tax, and is paid on the net worth of all your belongings, including life insurance, owned at your passing in excess of the exempt total.
The estate tax rate is currently 45% (and it has gone as high as 55% in recent times)
For most families, estate taxes are entirely voluntary. Only persons who do not plan will wind up paying estate taxes
The initial step is becoming knowledgeable: is this something that is necessary for your family?
If you have a great estate, you will want to think through what tactics are offered to diminish your interaction with the federal estate tax. There are many “tools in the toolbox” and once we do an analysis of your belongings and values, dreams and hopes, we will then be able to build an advanced estate plan that is perfect for your family.
To determine what options are accessible to you; contact my office to schedule your Family Asset Planning Consultation.
Advanced Estate Tax Planning Strategies
The largest enemy in tax planning; It isn’t the IRS, its putting it off too long! For the greatest outcomes, begin your tax planning as soon as you can. The sooner the planning starts, the more tax savings can be recognized and the easier it is to do so.
Advanced estate tax planning concentrates predominantly on decreasing taxes, explicitly the three taxes most regularly imposed on the transferal of assets: the gift tax, the estate tax, and the generation-skipping transfer tax.
Advanced estate planning normally contains tactics such as:
- Life insurance trusts;
- Qualified personal residence trusts;
- Grantor retained annuity trusts;
- Asset protection trusts;
- Land trusts;
- Dynasty Trusts (Protection against the generation-skipping transfer tax);
- Family limited partnerships and/or limited liability companies;
- Asset gifting; and
- Reduction of estate taxes.
Instead of being taxed profoundly after you pass away, plan for the future so that you can leave the full inheritance conceivable for your loved ones.
Special Needs Planning
A Summary of Special Needs Estate Planning:
The reason for a Special Needs Estate Planning is to arrange for for the necessities of precious ones with disabilities when we are no longer there to bring together and advocate for them. Parents of children with special needs must make cautious estate planning choices to coordinate all of the legal, financial, and special care necessities of their children- both now and in the future.
Special Needs Trusts may be a critical component of your estate planning if you have loved ones with physical or mental disabilities that you hope to provide for after your death. In general, Special Needs Trusts are stand-alone trusts funded with separate assets (sort of like life insurance) or they can be sub-trusts in existing living trusts.
There are several types of trusts to help with these special planning trials. One of the most common types are:
Special Needs Trusts:
For many parents, a Special Needs Trust is the most effective way to support their child with a disability. A Special Needs Trust brings about assets while also preserving the child’s eligibility for public assistance.
Here are two categories of Special Needs Trusts:
Third-Party Special Needs Trust:
Formed by using the belongings of the parent(s) as part of an estate plan; distributed by the parent’s Will or Living Trust.
Self-Settled Special Needs Trust:
Usually generated by a parent, legal guardian, or grandparent using the child’s belongings to supply the Trust (e.g., when a child receives a settlement from a personal injury lawsuit and will require lifelong care). If assets stay in the Trust after the child’s death, a “payback” to the state is mandatory, but only to the level of public assistance benefits that the child receives.
Leaving More Than Just Money…Leaving A Legacy
Once you are gone, what will your family remember about you? Will they miss the sound of your voice? Will they miss the counsel and advice you give?
I was fortunate enough that prior to my grandmother’s death, my sister had recorded a number of interviews with Grandma as part of a school project. In the interviews, Grandma talked about her early life and experiences she had growing up – some funny and some serious. Grandma talked about what it was like growing up in the depression, living through World War II, meeting and marrying Grandpa, raising eleven (11) children, and what she had learned as a grandmother and in her later years.
What a gold mine of experiences! Once my wife and I were able to convert the cassette tapes to digital, we stayed up until 4:00 AM the morning of the funeral so we could burn enough copies of the CDs for all of my Aunts & Uncles and cousins to have a copy.
To this day, over a decade later, those interviews are still a great source of comfort for many of my family members.
Transferring your financial assets and personal belongings is only one SMALL part of leaving a legacy for your family. It’s also about capturing and transferring your valuable intangible gifts: who you are and what’s important to you – your values, beliefs, insights, stories, and experience.
For more information about how I help you pass on your most valuable assets – your values, beliefs, insights, stories and experience – to your loved ones, or about our resources for leaving your family with a true legacy, please contact my office.