“Do It Yourself” may be fine for home improvements, but when it comes to leaving your legacy for your family, it can be risk.
When you’ve worked all your life to build your wealth and legacy for your family, it’s important to leave a clear, effective plan that reduces costs, taxes, and most importantly, reduces grief and anxiety for surviving family members.
A person who drafts a Will leaving everything to his or her children equally, would assume his or her work is done. Nevertheless, the family must still hire an attorney to file a probate proceeding where a court “adjudicates” the manner in which the assets will be distributed in accordance with the Will to the extent possible. It may not be in a manner that helps avoid or reduce taxes, and may not include accounts that already have beneficiary designations or other forms of ownership that do not designate the children. The result is that the desired distribution of the assets will not be accomplished, and the children will not receive the intended inheritance.
A person’s assets are controlled differently, depending on how they are designated. There can be assets controlled through probate, others through an estate (such as a trust), and still others through beneficiary designations like joint tenancy or other forms of ownership. A person may even have a simple Will drafted by an attorney, but if there are assets that are forgotten (which often happens), the person may have an incomplete Will that does not govern all that was intended, and therefore the goals of the Will are not accomplished.
Problems often arise when there are accounts, and or property, that transfer ownership to a designated individual or joint owner, which would circumvent a Will or Trust. Examples of this include property with joint tenancy, or tenancy by the entirety, beneficiary designations (life insurance, IRA, 401K, etc.), Transfer on Death (TOD), and Pay on Death (POD). All of the above would allow the exchange of assets outside of a Will or Trust.
Don’t take chances on your legacy. An experienced estate planning attorney will get a complete inventory of assets from the client and develop an all-inclusive plan that will direct the client’s assets the way they are intended and in a manner that helps reduce costs, taxes, and anxiety for your family. Please call us today at 954-447-2580 for a free consultation to discuss your plan. Then go to Home Depot for your other “do-it-yourself” projects.