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Kent Estate Administration and Probate Law Blog

Bequests and estate planning

Many Kent area residents support their favorite charities. Charitable giving is an important concern for many people, and the ability to incorporate this into an estate plan is something that many people are interested in. Bequests in a will are a popular form of supporting a charity after death.

There are different types of bequests that a person can specify in their will. One is a pecuniary bequest. This is where a certain dollar amount is left to a charity. A specific bequest is when certain items are given to charity, like a painting or antique car. A residuary bequest is when a charity receives all or part of the remainder of the donor's assets after everything else has been distributed and taxes have been paid. There is also a contingent bequest where a charity receives the donation if a certain thing happens, like a donor not being survived by a spouse.

Failing to have an estate plan can lead to family turmoil

Although many Kent area residents understand the importance of having an estate plan, nearly 60% of Americans have not taken the time to create one. Many people think they don't have enough assets to worry about creating a plan, but there are many reasons why having an estate plan is important.

If a person passes away without an estate plan, the legal system will decide who gets the assets and who will care for the children left behind. In addition to a will, beneficiaries need to be specified on bank accounts, retirement accounts, etc. Healthcare directives should also be considered in the event a person becomes incapacitated and is unable to make decisions for themselves. A healthcare power of attorney can be specified as well as a power of attorney for financial decisions. All important documents should be recorded; recording these documents can be such a blessing for family members who need this information after a death.

Why do you need an estate plan?

Many Kent area families understand the importance of an estate plan. But, over 75% of people do not have a will and a large percentage of the rest of the population do not have an estate plan in place. Not having an estate plan puts a person's assets in jeopardy when they pass away. There are many reasons why having an estate plan is important, regardless of age.

Many times, people do not think about estate planning until they are older, retired, and accumulated a large amount of wealth. But, anyone can benefit from an estate plan, including young families and single people. There are aspects of an estate plan that can appeal to everyone. One is to ensure a person's wishes are carried out upon their death. These wishes can include who will receive their assets, who will take care of their children, or who will take care of any pets. Final wishes can also spell out how a person would like their children raised, including religion preferences and other values. An estate plan protects a family by avoiding legal hassles, minimizing taxes, and ensuring a family's privacy.

Aretha Franklin died without a will in place

Having a will means that upon a person's death, their estate will usually be handled according to their wishes. When a person dies without a will, their estate enters probate, where there are bound to be family members arguing over it. Many Kent area residents understand the importance of a will, but there is still a large percentage of Americans who haven't taken the time to create one.

Aretha Franklin died recently from pancreatic cancer and it has come to light that she did not have an existing will or trust. It appears that many family members have requested access to her estate, including her four sons and a niece. Her four sons have filed a document listing themselves as interested parties, while her niece has requested the court to appoint her as the estate's personal representative.

Baby boomers and estate planning

Many Kent area residents understand the importance of estate planning. Estate planning is a way to control what happens after a person dies and it ensures assets are passed on in the way in which a person wants. Estate planning can also help with important power of attorney designations and health care instructions. With all the advantages an estate plan offers, baby boomers should ensure theirs is in place.

More than half of all baby boomers do not have an estate plan. Over 70% of Americans do not have an estate plan. If a person dies, their assets can be in limbo without an estate plan. So, regardless of age, everyone needs an estate plan. Many baby boomers understand the value of charities and creating an estate plan can offer an opportunity for charitable giving.

Reasons why a will is important

Estate planning is not usually the most exciting thing for a Kent area family to work on. No one wants to think about what would happen to their assets, their children, etc. after they pass away. But, when a family does not take the time to create an estate plan, problems can arise upon their death. Having a will is one of the most important things a person can do for their family.

There are many reasons why a will is important. One main reason is a person gets to decide how their estate will be distributed upon their death. If there isn't a will when a person dies, their assets will most likely not be distributed the way they would have liked them to be.

College kids should consider estate planning

Time is quickly approaching for young adults to head off to college for the year. This is always an exciting time for families as they put together school supplies. But, along with packing the car, a few estate planning measures should also be considered.

Kids heading off to college are essentially young adults and there are many new responsibilities they will need to handle. Estate planning is not one of those topics that frequently comes up, but there are a few estate planning documents that are important for college kids. One is a durable power of attorney. This is a document that designates a person to make financial decisions for them if they are not able to make the decisions themselves. That person can also handle financial transactions as well. This can be helpful if the principal studies abroad and needs help signing leases, wiring money, speaking with credit card companies, etc.

Health care power of attorney has an important job

Kent area residents may have a hard time thinking about what would happen if they became medically incapacitated. No one thinks they will have to face this issue, but, unfortunately, it affects many families each year. Medical incapacitation is a scary and traumatic event for a family, so having a person designated to make medical decisions is important.

A health care power of attorney is chosen by a person to make medical decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated. It can list what medical procedures should or should not be done, medications to be administered, and resuscitation and life support issues. It can also address autopsies, organ donation, and donating a body to science. The person listed in the healthcare power of attorney may also have access to a person's medical records and is legally bound to follow the principal's directions.

Leaving a post death folder can be helpful

No matter how unpleasant the thought, we are all going to die someday. This day will leave our loved ones sad and emotional. But, for those who take the time to plan ahead, their deaths will not as stressful. Certain important information can be left for heirs so they can pick up where you left off.

Creating a file with important information when one dies is something that should be considered as part of a thorough estate plan. Having a place to store important information, documents, etc., can be helpful when a person dies. There are many items that can be included in this file.

Legacy planning is an important goal for many

Estimates show that the largest wealth transfer in American history will be happening over the next few decades. Many baby boomers have amassed a great fortune during their lifetime and as they age and die, their assets will be transferred to the next generation. Many Kent area residents are interested in asset preservation and leaving a legacy for future generations.

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