Hartford estate planning attorneys can provide you with invaluable help in creating your estate plan. Many people believe, erroneously, that making a last will and testament is the only thing that they need to do in order to create an estate plan and provide for their families after they have passed on. A will is actually insufficient for many people, because it can leave loved ones unprotected and put assets at risk.
To determine if you need more than just a will, you should call Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates. Our Hartford estate planning attorneys can provide personalized advice on what types of estate planning tools you need to keep your wealth secure and to leave the type of legacy that you hope to leave. You can give us a call at any time to get started on your plan, or you can read on to learn about a few key situations when a will is definitely not enough for an estate plan.
A Will Isn’t Enough if You Have a Family Business
When you have a business that you want to pass on to the next generation, you need to create a comprehensive business succession plan. Passing a company through a will can create a number of problems. It may take too long for company assets to pass, leaving the business without the leadership it needs.
If the company is valuable enough, passing it through the probate process could also result in estate tax being charged, which may be a problem if there’s not enough liquid assets to pay the tax. Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates can help you to avoid all of these problems so you can make sure your company will survive to the next generation.
A Will Isn’t Enough if Your Estate is Large
When you pass a substantial amount of assets to anyone other than your spouse, you need to determine if you will owe estate tax on the estate. If you do, you may wish to create a plan to try to reduce or avoid this tax that the estate will need to pay. Otherwise, your loved ones will inherit much less because you need to give so much money to the government. Property may also need to be sold in order to generate enough money to pay the estate tax.
A Will Isn’t Enough if Your Heirs Or Beneficiaries Have Special Needs
If your heirs or beneficiaries have special circumstances that must be addressed, you will often need other tools besides a will.
For example, if you have heirs or beneficiaries with a disability, your loved ones may be receiving means-tested Medicaid. Giving a direct gift through your will could cause your disabled loved one to have too many assets and thus to be disqualified from Medicaid benefits. This could result in the entire inheritance being spent quickly on medical care that should have been paid for by Medicaid. Access to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits could also be lost as a result of a direct inheritance.
This can be avoided by creating a special needs trust. A special needs trust allows money to be used to enhance quality of life for a disabled loved one, while being managed appropriately be a responsible trustee. The assets are owned by the trust and do not cause disqualification from means-tested government benefits.
If you have heirs or beneficiaries who are under age 18, or who are irresponsible with money, you may also need to make special provisions for how assets that you leave to these loved ones are managed.
A Will Isn’t Enough if You Want to Pass Assets Privately
When assets pass through the probate process, the process becomes court record. If you want to maintain your privacy, you will need to use alternative means to transfer assets such as trust administration. Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates can help you to find ways to pass wealth outside of probate so you can maintain your privacy.
Getting Help from Hartford Estate Planning Attorneys
Hartford estate planning attorneys at Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates can provide personalized advice as you make decisions about the estate planning tools that you need to use. We can help you to understand the special issues that could arise as a result of the needs of your heirs or beneficiaries and as a result of the assets you hope to pass on to loved ones. We can also assist you with creating a comprehensive estate plan that works best for your particular situation.
To find out more about the estate planning services our firm can offer, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at 860-548-1000 or contact us online at any time when you’re ready to get your personalized plan underway.