By now, regular Kent area readers may have picked up on the importance of certain essential estate planning documents and taken steps to prepare and execute those documents. The most fundamental estate document is the traditional will. Once a will has been drawn up, Kent residents may next wonder where their wills should be kept for safekeeping.
As Seattle residents may know, the use of trusts in estate planning can offer a number of advantages, not the least of which is to avoid the expensive and cumbersome probate process. In order to serve its purpose effectively, a trust needs to evolve over time in order to account for changing life circumstances.
As readers in the Seattle area may know, the current gift tax exemption stands to expire at the end of the year, and so far, Congress has shown no particular interest in acting to maintain the current exemption level. Estate planning professionals have been urging people to consider their options for taking advantage of the exemption before the end of the year, but business owners need to act sooner than others to make sure not to miss out on potential inheritance tax advantages while they last.
Many readers in Kent may have thought about different estate planning options but have not yet taken the steps necessary to prepare their estates for inheritance.
As Kent residents may know, Americans are living longer than ever, but one unfortunate side effect is that an increasing percentage of the population suffers from advanced infirmities of aging. Some conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, may require a third party to step in and seek legal intervention because of the estate holder's incapacity. With statistics indicating that 43 percent of individuals over age 85 suffer from Alzheimer's disease, our readers in the Seattle area will want to be aware of the legal options for providing the best care for loved ones.
Kent business owners know that building a successful company typically requires a major personal investment. Because of this, many Washingtonians regard it as a top priority to pass on the fruits of their labors to heirs. According to a recent survey, most business owners recognize that estate planning is crucial to prevent family disputes and to make sure that plans for business succession avoid the complexities of probate court. Nonetheless, business owners too often put off their estate planning for business succession until later in life, and that can be a mistake.
Now that 2011 has come to a close, many readers in Washington are looking for ways to plan through 2012 and beyond. When it comes to making estate-planning decisions, individuals will want to ask some important questions and search out the best methods for ensuring the protection of assets for all parties involved. Establishing a trust is one popular way of protecting assets.
If you were to take a poll of Washington residents and ask about trusts, many would answer: trusts are only for the rich. That may have been true several years ago, but today a living trust or other form of trust can be beneficial to many families who fall into the middle-income bracket. Trusts can help families reduce their tax exposure, as well as be used to protect and transfer assets. Just as importantly, trusts can be crucial in avoiding probate.There are different types of trusts, and Seattle residents should consult with a professional before choosing one. In general, however, a trust can be set up to protect assets, and in that case, the assets are no longer owned by an individual. This action offers significant asset protection. Also, a trust can be set up to specify what the funds are to be used for: for example, college education or starting a business.