2017 ESTATE PLAN UPDATE

When Reviewing your will and trust please pay particular attention to the following items:

  1. Named Beneficiaries
    1. Are they still living?
    2. Since the execution of your estate planning documents have you identified any additional beneficiaries?
    3. Were there any births in your family?
    4. Were there any deaths in your family?

  2. Executor and Trustee
    1. Are the named Executor and Successor Trustee still living?
    2. Is anyone better qualified than those presently named to serve in this capacity?

  3. General Bequests
    1. Does the amount or percentage of the bequeathed gifts still reflect your wishes?
    2. Have you acquired any property (real or personal) that you wish to leave to a specific individual or entity you have not already named?

  4. Directive to Physicians (Living Will)
    1. If you have executed a Directive to Physicians, this document precludes the use of mechanical devices to artificially prolong the moment of your death. If the document was originally executed prior to 1991, you will need to update your Directive to Physicians.
    2. If you have not executed a Directive to Physicians, this would be an excellent time to consider the addition of this document to your Estate Plan.

  5. Power of Attorney for Health Care
    1. If you have executed a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, this document nominates agents who may act on your behalf in the event that you are incapacitated and unable to act on your own behalf as it relates to health care decisions. If this document was originally executed prior to 1991, you will need to update your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.
    2. If you have not executed a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, this would be an excellent time to consider the addition of this document to your Estate Plan.

  6. Placing of Property in Trust
    1. It is imperative that you place your real and other property, to which you hold title, into your Trust. Failure to place property in your Trust will subject your estate to the probate process, taxes, attorneys fees, appraisal fees, and accounting fees.
    2. The property you place in Trust should be listed on Schedule A of the Trust, therefore please check your Schedule A to ensure that it has been updated.
    3. If you have refinanced your property, it is imperative that you check to make sure that after the closing of your loan, your property was properly transferred to your Trust. You should obtain a copy of the last recorded grant deed or quit claim deed for each property that you own to ensure the title vesting is held in the name of your Trust.

  7. Adding a Family Limited Partnership to Your Estate Plan
  8. A Family Limited Partnership provides asset protection for you, your family, and your business.

    Your Family Limited Partnership allows you to:

    • Save self-employment taxes
    • Save future estate taxes
    • Protect your assets from lawsuits
    • Maintain control of your assets
    • Avoid fraudulent conveyances

    The law denies a creditor the right to take any interest in the Family Limited Partnership and, if structured properly, this entity may provide great anonymity. The Family Limited Partnership is the most widely used and effective domestic asset protection tool available.

    Everyone needs and should have a revocable trust for purposes of passing assets to heirs without the necessity of probate. A revocable trust, however, does not provide asset protection from liens, judgments, and creditors. To maximize the tax savings, probate avoidance, and asset protection the revocable living trust will own your Family Limited Partnership, in which case all assets flow through the revocable trust to your heirs including the Family Limited Partnership.

    Properly structured, the Family Limited Partnership will serve as an umbrella protection, providing asset and tax protection for all of your businesses and family assets, your spouse, children, parents, and any other family member.

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