Mid-Tier Estate Plan

playing baseballMid-Tier Estate Plan (at any age), namely a Revocable Living Trust Plan—includes legal counseling and all of the documents provided in our Basic Estate Plan, plus much more, most notably a trust agreement, that serves to:

(1) better provide for one’s own period of incapacity (covering situations that powers of attorney cannot, thus maintaining control while avoiding a court guardianship);

(2) avoid the delay and expense of probate court proceedings for asset transfers after death;

(3) avoid the public nature of probate court records—a list of your assets, the names and addresses of your beneficiaries, and much more information becomes available to the public (when you attend a New Client Orientation Meeting, you can obtain copies of newspapers articles revealing facts like these about local or famous persons’ estates);

(4) avoid the aspect of probate that requires notices be sent to relatives to whom you did NOT leave a bequest, causing confusion and virtually inviting them to file a Will challenge action;

(5) avoid the necessity of a second probate for out-of-state assets, like vacation property;

(6) dole out of money for the needs of minor children (without a guardianship), spendthrifts, or adults with other special needs or “issues,” thus protecting them from predators, creditors, and their own mistakes;

(7) facilitate smoother and private transitions of family farms or businesses;

(8) gift to children of a prior marriage after caring for the current spouse for the rest of his or her life;

(9) prevent the sometimes disastrous consequences of piece-meal and self-help actions, like giving a house to someone during lifetime, causing loss of stepped-up basis or Medicaid disqualification; using joint or POD designations on bank accounts, making those assets unavailable for debts, taxes and bequests that were intended to benefit all persons within a group (like all of your children or grandchildren) etc.;

(10) reduce federal estate taxes;

(11) receive, hold and invest lump sums like life insurance or annuities;

(12) fund and describe short term or long term care for pets, horses or other animals;

(13) treat younger children similarly to how their older siblings were treated financially (“common trusts”);

(14) benefit stepchildren, or grandchildren by deceased children, in a protective fashion; and

(15) furnish a medium to pass on some personality with your purse, or do some “legacy planning” for the future generations of your family.

This list is not exhaustive!