Helping Granite Staters Plan For The Future Of Their Families
The term “estate planning” can be misleading because it suggests that if you do not have a large “estate,” you do not need to have a plan for what happens in the event of your incapacity or death, and that is not the case. Planning ahead is good advice for everyone.
At Connolly & Connolly, we make it a point to make sure you understand all of your estate planning options before you make a decision. Our estate planning team will sit down with you to get a full understanding of your goals and the property and assets that make up your estate. We will explain the pros and cons of different options, and recommend a customized plan for you. Listed below are some of the more common estate planning options that we offer.
The Simple Will
A simple will is a basic estate plan that provides for the disposition of your property upon your death. In a will, you select your choice of executor to execute the terms of your will and appoint the persons you trust to serve as guardian of any minor children. In order to be given effect, a will must be probated, which is the formal judicial process in the probate court by which a will is formally presented and allowed by the court. Until the will is allowed and the executor is appointed, no one has legal authority to deal with probate assets, which may delay the ability to access cash for the payment of expenses.
The Multipurpose Trust
If you want to avoid probate, plan for incapacity, defer a loved one’s inheritance or have a more comprehensive plan, then a trust would be an appropriate estate planning vehicle to consider. With a revocable grantor trust, you, as the “grantor” would establish the trust and retain the reserved power to revoke or amend the trust as you please during your lifetime. You could serve as the initial trustee, and the trust would designate successor trustees, to serve in your place in the event of your incapacity or death. Upon your death, your property would be distributed to your named beneficiaries, as set forth in the trust. If you transfer your assets to your trust during your lifetime, you would be able to avoid probate.
Irrevocable Trusts, Special Needs Trusts And Charitable Trusts
Irrevocable trusts, special needs trusts and charitable trusts are additional tools available to accomplish specific estate planning goals and objectives.
Irrevocable trusts may be used to own life insurance policies on the life of the donor; gifts made to the trust may be used by the trustee to pay life insurance premiums; upon the death of the donor, the life insurance proceeds may pass to the beneficiaries, free of estate taxes.
A special needs trust is customarily established to benefit a disabled individual, without adversely impacting the individual’s ability to receive governmental benefits.
For the individual or family that wants to benefit a particular charity, or general charitable purposes, there are numerous types of charitable trust options, including charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts and charitable annuity trusts and family charitable foundations. A planned charitable gift, as part of an estate plan, may also provide enhanced income tax and estate tax benefits.
If you own or have an interest in a family business or family compound, succession planning will ensure that your family’s legacy is passed on to the next generation in a tax-efficient manner that avoids disruption or family conflict.
Contact The Estate Planning Team At Connolly & Connolly
To set up an initial consultation to discuss your estate planning goals, call our Newburyport office at 978-961-0047 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to helping you plan for the future.