Burlington estate planning attorneys assist you in understanding the legal documents and tools that need to be part of your plans for your legacy. We also help you to create a comprehensive plan and to make sure the documents and tools you utilize are legally valid and will provide the protections that you expect.
Unfortunately, there are far too many people who never reach out to a compassionate and knowledgeable legal professional to get the help they need to make a comprehensive estate plan. People often fail to reach out when they could benefit from a comprehensive estate plan because they feel like they’ve done what was necessary for estate planning by creating a will. The problem is, while a last will and testament can allow a deceased person more control over assets than dying intestate — without a will — it is often not the best or most comprehensive tool for asset protection and for transferring wealth.
There are a vast number of situations where simply making a will is insufficient if you want to build the strongest legacy possible. You should reach out to Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC for personalized help creating your estate plan to ensure that you’ve used the tools necessary to make that plan comprehensive. You can also read on to find out about key situations when a will is insufficient and you need to do more to make your estate plan.
When is a Will Not Enough for an Estate Plan?
Some of the many circumstances in which a last will and testament is not sufficient to constitute the entirety of your estate plan include:
- If you’re leaving money to someone with a disability: If the disabled person receives any means-tested benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income, leaving money without a plan could be a problem because the inherited assets could count as resources that disqualify your loved one from getting benefits. The last thing you want is an inheritance to be spent on huge bills for medical care that Medicaid would have covered had benefits not been lost. You should use a special needs trust in most cases to avoid the problems with leaving assets to someone receiving means-tested benefits. The use of a special needs trust should also allow you to specify who manages the funds for the disabled person and should give you more control over how money is used.
- If you’re going to owe a large estate tax bill: Tax reform has made the threshold for owing estate tax higher going forward, but this does not mean that those with substantial estates will all pay nothing to transfer wealth. Larger estates are still going to be subject to federal tax, which can significantly reduce the value of the estate.
- If your heirs or beneficiaries have other special needs or circumstances: You want to protect assets after you are gone and make sure heirs or beneficiaries use them in positive ways that make their life better. Unfortunately, if a loved one you want to leave assets to has difficulty managing money, this could be a problem. If you want to do your best to protect and keep safe any assets you leave to this financially irresponsible person, you could use a special needs trust to name a reliable trustee to manage the money and could provide specific instructions for how it’s to be distributed to your heir.
There may also be other circumstances specific to your family and assets which necessitate going beyond writing a will. Because many people don’t fully understand the limitations of a will or the details about other tools that can pass assets in a more appropriate way, far too few people make sure they actually have the right tools. We can work closely with you to make sure that you’ve done everything in your power to leave a legacy you desire.
Getting Help from Burlington Estate Planning Attorneys
Burlington estate planning attorneys at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can provide the personalized help and support you need to go beyond making a last will and testament and to actually create a comprehensive estate plan that is right for you. We can also provide help with personalizing your plan to your specific family and financial situation.
To find out more about the ways in which our compassionate and knowledgeable legal team can assist you in protecting assets and providing for your loved ones, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online today for personalized help and advice.