Estate planning attorneys can assist you in making a plan for your legacy that meets your goals and that allows you to make the contributions you hope to make towards your family’s future and towards the causes that you care about. Making a personalized legacy plan is very important because your situation is unlike anyone else’s. You have your own unique goals, your own types of wealth, and your own family dynamics and you need to ensure that your plan is designed to meet your specific needs.
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can work closely with you to define what you want your legacy to be and to implement a plan using the right legal tools to make your desired legacy a reality. You should give us a call to find out about the personalized help that our legal team offers to you. To understand why it is so important for you to get help with the creation of a personalized plan, consider these key ways that your family situation can impact your legacy.
Your Marital Status Affects Your Ability to Reduce or Avoid Estate Taxes
If you are married, you are allowed to leave assets of unlimited value to your spouse. But, if you are not married and are going to pass on wealth to anyone other than a husband or a wife, you could end up owing estate tax. As of 2018, you are permitted to pass $5.6 million of wealth onto family members or other loved ones without incurring estate tax. If the taxable value of your estate exceeds this amount, your estate could owe a substantial amount of taxes.
Whether You Are the Family Breadwinner Affects How Your Wealth Should Transfer
If you’re the breadwinner and your loved ones count on your income, you want any inheritance you provide to them to transfer quickly so they can use the inheritance to maintain their quality of life. Unfortunately, the probate process is a very slow process of transferring wealth — and it is the process by which assets will likely transfer unless you make alternative plans. If you need to transfer assets quickly, you will want to make an estate plan that uses tools like a living trust to transfer assets through the faster trust administration process.
The Age of Your Heirs or Beneficiaries Impacts How to Transfer Wealth
You cannot just leave money to someone under 18, because that person cannot inherit directly. The court could be forced to appoint a guardian — which could be someone different than you’d have preferred — and the minor who inherited would then inherit with no strings attached at age 18 even if she or she wasn’t yet mature enough to manage the money. Instead of leaving assets directly to a young person, you can talk with an experienced attorney about leaving money to an underaged loved one in a trust or using the tools created by the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act.
The Disability Status of Your Heirs or Beneficiaries Affects The Process of Leaving an Inheritance
If your heirs or beneficiaries are disabled and you leave them assets directly, their inheritance of these assets could affect their continued eligibility for means-tested benefits like Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). They may also be unable to manage the money or property left to them as a result of their condition. You’ll need to talk with an experienced attorney about making a special needs trust to ensure that assets are managed in a responsible and appropriate way and to ensure inherited assets do not result in a loss of vitally important benefits.
Your Heirs Lack of Responsibility With Money Can Affect the Way You Should Transfer Wealth
If your heirs or beneficiaries aren’t responsible with money management and you are worried they will quickly squander an inheritance, you should consider using a spendthrift trust to provide for your irresponsible loved ones while still protecting the wealth that you have worked hard to acquire.
Getting help from Estate Planning Attorneys
Estate planning attorneys at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can provide the personalized assistance that you need to make plans appropriate for any family situation. To find out more about how our firm can assist you with making your legacy plan, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online to begin the process of working with a compassionate and knowledgeable member of our legal team to put your personalized plans in place.