Trust Lawyers in Phoenix
Legal Guidance on Important Matters
If you want to set up a trust, you may want to consult with the lawyers at Kamper & Estrada, PLLC. We have helped many people create trusts and want to make the process as simple as possible for you. With an experienced lawyer on your side to assist you with your trust, you may have a better peace of mind.
Will My Estate Be Below the Threshold for Taxes?
The estate tax exemption says that if the total value of your estate is below the threshold, then your estate won’t owe taxes when you die. Many people mistakenly believe their estate will be below the threshold. When you factor in the value of your real estate, your bank accounts, retirement accounts, and other valuable assets, your estate can quickly reach the limit and end up being taxed. In addition, taxes aren’t the only consideration when it comes to estate planning.
With help from the best trust lawyers in Phoenix, a proper and complete estate plan can be established, which includes tax considerations but will also attempt to protect your assets.
What Is a Living Trust?
A living trust is a legal document where you place your assets in the name of the trust. During your lifetime, you continue using your assets as you normally would. Upon your death, your assets are held for your beneficiaries. A living trust allows you to distribute your assets to your heirs upon your death, like a will. It also allows you greater control. You could keep the assets in the trust, managed by a successor trustee, until your heirs reach a certain age or complete certain life events, like graduating college.
Does a Living Trust Give Me More Control?
While a will allows you to provide directions about which of your heirs receive which assets, that’s where your control ends. You can’t make a condition of the distribution that your heir has married, graduated college, had a child, or any other condition you can think of. As a lawyer may tell you, a living trust does provide you more control. It also provides a successor trustee so that, when you die, your successor trustee takes over and continues to manage the trust, ensuring it has the money for proper distribution. So, if you have a young heir, your successor trustee can manage the assets you want to leave them until they reach adulthood.
Does a Living Trust Avoid Probate?
You may have heard that one of the most expensive parts of managing your
estate after your death is probate. This is the legal process where the
court determines the value of your estate and helps to distribute your
assets to your heirs. Of course, they don’t do this for free. Your
estate will go through probate even if you have a will. One way to avoid
this costly legal process, however, is with a living trust. Because a
living trust does not need to go through probate, the costs associated
with your estate will be less. In addition, your heirs generally receive
their distribution faster.
While a will costs less to draft, it also provides less protection for your heirs and your assets. In the end, by avoiding probate, a living will may cost less in the long run even though it may cost more to draft.
What Are the Benefits of Setting Up a Trust?
By now, you likely are aware of how important estate planning is. You want to ensure your assets go to the right heirs upon your death. But is it better to set up a will or trust?
Living trusts are less common than wills, but they can provide some wonderful benefits, including:
- Probate isn’t required: As our lawyers can attest, one of the main benefits of a living trust is that it does not have to go through a probate process. This means your heirs will not have to wait months or years to receive their assets. In fact, they can obtain their assets within weeks.
- There is more privacy: If you are a private person, a living trust may be your best option. Unlike a will, a living trust is not made public when you die. You won’t have to worry about strangers finding out information about your assets. Your estate will be distributed in private, so your family will be free from disturbances.
- Your heirs can save money on taxes: Setting up a living trust can also help your heirs avoid paying an inheritance tax. This allows your heirs receive the full gift you gave them.
- It can provide funds for educational purposes: With a trust, it is possible to provide money for college for your children, grandchildren, and other relatives.
- It allows flexible distribution: If you set up a trust, you have more flexibility on how your assets will be distributed upon your death. For example, if a beneficiary is unable to manage money well, you could distribute funds in smaller amounts, so they will not be able to spend the money at once.
- There are fewer family feuds: Our legal team can tell you about how setting up trusts often eliminates family feuds. Living trusts are more customizable than wills and allow you to detail the exact items you want to give to each beneficiary. If it is clear who gets what, there will be fewer arguments.
I’m Not Married, & I Have No Children. Should I Still Set Up a Trust?
It is very important for single people to pay attention to their estate planning. About half of older Americans are single and may face unique estate planning situations, requiring advanced planning. These individuals would certainly benefit from the assistance of Kamper & Estrada, PLLC. Our multi-generational firm has years of experience handling estate planning. If you’re searching for a dedicated legal team, we can help you set up a plan best suited to your situation.
What Are Some of the Estate Planning Issues That Specifically Affect Singles?
- Advanced health care directives
- Pet care
Advanced Health Care Directives
Single people need to declare a decision maker in the event their health
deteriorates, or an accident leaves them unable to make decisions for
themselves. If you are single, it is important to designate someone you
can trust to make health care or financial decisions on your behalf in
case of an emergency. If such provisions are not in place, the responsibility
could fall on state-appointed strangers or very distant relatives. If
the state cannot find a family member, they may look to an heir to act
on your behalf. This person might not understand your wishes regarding
medical attention, end of life care, organ donations, and other important issues.
An advanced health care directive should specifically outline your requests and answer important health care questions that may arise should you become unable to speak for yourself. In addition to an advanced health care directive, you should also sign a general power of attorney and a HIPAA authorization. This allows an individual you trust to make difficult decisions on your behalf. Our lawyers can help you fill out these documents.
If you have pets, you’ll want to make certain that there are provisions for them in your estate plan. You will need a caretaker as well as someone to manage funds that are designated for the care of your pet. If you do not have specific instructions regarding your pet, they could end up in a shelter. Ask us about a “pet trust” and see if this is something that can be created in your state.
Retirement accounts, insurance policies, and bank accounts require holders to designate a beneficiary when the accounts are opened. Even if you have other instructions in your will, the beneficiary listed on these accounts will typically still receive preference. Make sure all your beneficiaries—including secondary beneficiaries—are updated and changed if necessary.
If you are single with minor children, having an estate plan is essential. You’ll want to set up a trust to oversee the financial welfare of your children. Single parents need to select a guardian for their children. If this is not done, your children may end up in the care of someone you would have not selected.
Contact Our Team for Prompt Assistance
Whether you are married or single, if you don’t have an estate plan, you’ll likely find yourself looking for a lawyer. We understand how overwhelming the estate planning process can be. That is why we want to help you at every step of the way. We can help you craft a comprehensive plan tailored to your situation to ensure that your wishes may be addressed exactly as you intended.