Speak to an experienced Bountiful Utah probate lawyer to know how you can ensure that your estate is distributed properly to your family members. It’s important that you have a will or some other estate planning device in place to ensure this distribution.
Many people want to be sure that children or spouses have “enough” from their estates. Then the important question becomes “How much is enough?” This is a question that, while good to discuss with one’s spouse or partner and one’s advisor, should also be considered for a family meeting or a meeting with your heirs. You might start such a conversation by asking heirs to guess how big your estate will be. You may be surprised at how wrong they are.
This kind of inquiry is simply a direct way to gather the thoughts and feelings of your family as you are reviewing your plans. Listen carefully and take notes. You may be surprised, and your family members are bound to be, by your inquiry and consideration. Even if things change, your family or heirs will remember that you were considerate enough to engage them or try to. Even if the conversation seems tense or difficult, just imagine how much more difficult it would be for the family to sort out after you are gone and can no longer guide them through a process to shared understandings and, if need be, reconciliation.
Once your inspired legacy plan has been drafted by your advisors, you may want to present it formally to your family, perhaps even before you finally sign off on all the documents. Some people call this a “dress rehearsal” for reading the will.
While you are alive, you act as the steward of your resources. After you are gone, someone else may have to play that role. If you are planning to establish trusts for children and grandchildren to protect and distribute family assets, carefully choose trustees or those who will manage your affairs, communications, or oversight. Again, as with planning, some trustees excel in technical capacity, whereas others may excel in human understanding and empathy or even wisdom. Increasingly, people are leaving room for two trustees, one a family adviser or family member, another a corporate trustee to make sure that both wisdom and competence are well represented.
If your child is under age eighteen, the opinion and work of your trustee is particularly important to the well-being of your family. The choice of a beneficiary may affect beneficiaries for decades to come, so having at least one of the trustees be a family member or friend who is a good communicator and knows your children or spouse is a good idea. Many family members or friends are willing to serve for only a modest fee or no fee.
A well-chosen trustee can be more than an administrator of the terms of the trust. He or she can also be a mentor, someone to whom the heirs can look—as they might have looked to you—as a role model. In some trusts the beneficiaries can take over some responsibility for the trust at a certain age. Having a trustee who as mentor can prepare heirs for that role then becomes key to a successful handoff of responsibility.
Leaving a legacy to your spouse, friend, or children is often a life-changing event. The most loving thing you can do is to prepare yourself, your advisers, and your family for what is inevitably ahead. Death is a hard word, but death does not end all. We live on in the memory of others. We live on in the good works we have done. And we live on in the legacy of love and the traditions and values we pass on. Nothing of the best in us will die, but we must take the time and make the commitment to build and pass on our own inspired legacy. Great joy comes from such a legacy. You can begin by living that legacy now in your current giving and in all you do for others.
THE order was to spend a million dollars every day for 30 days, then a 30 million dollar inheritance would be his. However, if he didn’t carry out this task, he would kiss goodbye the big pot. That was the theme of the 1985 movie Brewster’s Millions, starring Richard Pryor as the baseball player destined to get his hands on a fortune if he could blow a million a day.
Such outlandish demands in a person’s will are not very common – but making out your will is important if you want to make sure that your assets – no matter how large or small they may be – end up with the people you want them to go to.
Put simply, a will is a straightforward statement of how a person wants their assets handled on their death, explains John Raeside of Glasgow solicitors, John Wilson and Co.
“It is necessary to make a will so that your wishes are spelled out in a clear-cut way which should leave no-one in any doubt,” said Mr Raeside.
“Without a will, an individual could lose any control over the disposal of his or her assets on death.
“The person making a will must appoint executors who make sure stated wishes are actually carried out.”
It is possible to write a will yourself, hire a will-writing company or use a probate lawyer.
But whatever method you choose, drawing up a will properly is vital, as complex issues such as intestacy, inheritance tax and the guardianship of any young children can turn into a minefield of potential problems.
Mr Raeside said that it is worthwhile drawing up a will sooner rather than later as “later will inevitably be too late”.
He added: “It is all about ensuring that the people you want to benefit do so. A will is there in black and white and, although some people might not be happy about it, the wishes of the person who has passed on are clear for all to see.”
It is advisable that a person’s will should be reviewed during their lifetime as their circumstances change. Costs vary depending on a will’s complexity, but a straightforward document drawn up by an experienced Bountiful Utah probate lawyer will be work it.
In a time of continued economic difficulty, every one of us is looking to cut costs. This could be in our personal lives or from a business perspective.
There is a temptation to cut back heavily on what we might see as ‘non-essential spend’, but could this ultimately be false economy? Getting your tax and financial affairs in order can be an expensive process and many people and businesses will consider it something that can be delayed. In many cases, however, it can be financially more beneficial to look at getting more value for money from professional services than doing away with them altogether.
From a basic personal perspective, one might consider it worth delaying sorting out one’s Will or Inheritance Tax affairs until a later date. This might save on legal fees now; however none of us can choose the day that we pass and the resultant mess of Intestacy and Inheritance Tax could well have costs – both financial and emotional – that far outstrip a bill for putting some basic planning together.
After all, savings on all sorts of personal taxes that you can achieve through receiving appropriate advice can only benefit your pocket.
Looking at matters from a business point of view, it may seem the easiest and cheapest way forward to only get the basics from an accountant or other adviser and, for example, ignore any advice on tax reliefs for fear of increased fees, but how much money are you not reclaiming that could be invested back into your business? How many tricks are you missing because you’re worried about asking what else can be done to help you? The key for everyone now is to be smarter with their advisers. Make sure that your solicitor, accountant or other specialist adviser is thinking about more than just the basics so that you get value for money. Make sure that they refer you to other professionals that can help you with matters on which they are not qualified to advise. Make sure that they are looking out for your best interests in all aspects of your life and business rather than simply trying to do as little as possible for the maximum return.
You might find it was worth spending the money after all.
It is often said the best inheritance a parent can give children is a few minutes of their time.
It might equally be said nowadays the best inheritance one can leave is a will. Many of us have not made a will. It is reckoned only one in five parents have. This could lead to all sorts of complications on death, not least your inheritance not going where you intended.
It could also lead to family disputes, legal action or the estate having to pay inheritance tax.
It is commonly thought on death your estate will pass to your surviving spouse if there is no will. Many people living with long-term partners also believe their “common law” wife or husband has the same rights of inheritance.
These misconceptions could leave the surviving spouse or partner in severe difficulty.
The law sets out hard-and-fast rules for what happens if you die without a will.
If the family home is in the deceased’s sole name, it may have to be sold to provide the legacies demanded by intestacy laws. This may have to be done as well if estate tax becomes an issue. Only the surviving spouse has an exemption. Children or others receiving assets under intestacy may be liable to estate tax, again forcing a sale.
The spouse can apply to the courts for a greater share of the estate, but basically this leads to a situation where a parent is suing their children, not ideal for family harmony.
While many feel the existing law doesn’t do enough to protect the rights of surviving spouses, it does ensure that the deceased’s children are not deprived of their inheritance by someone who has married with financial gain as a primary objective.
The complications that can be caused by a sudden death and the absence of a will can also balance the pendulum too much in favor of a surviving spouse.
A will is absolutely vital for unmarried couples living together, particularly if they have children.
Failure to make a will also means the beneficiaries administer the estate of the deceased, they may not be suitable to deal with large sums of money or in some cases a business.
A will can appoint specific executors with experience in this area. Writing a will is a fairly straightforward process for most people. It is amazing that so many people fail to take this simple step and consequently save their family from potential further problems.
Leaving each of your children or siblings exactly the same percentage or amount of your estate or gifting (except when there is mental or physical disability or other special circumstances) avoids the permanent consequences of estates divided or tied up because of a lack of trust or past difficulties. Consider leaving your money and your love equally. At the same time, also weigh the question, “When is fair not equal, and equal not fair?” Circumstances often do differ. One child may have lots of money; another may have gone into a career that required personal sacrifice. In the case of a family business, one child may work in the business, and another may not. Is it fair to divide the business equally, when one child is doing all the work? These dilemmas are precisely why an experienced Bountiful Utah probate lawyer is important. An experienced Bountiful Utah probate lawyer can help you weigh your options, decide what is right, and communicate clearly.
Bountiful Utah Probate Attorney Free Consultation
When you need legal help with a probate case in Bountiful Utah, please call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506