Estate Planning Attorneys in Shepherdsville, KYEstate Planning involves laying down the tasks meant to handle an individual’s assets in the event of their demise or incapacitation. The planning comprises the process of settling the estate taxes, and distribution of assets among heirs of the deceased individual.
Some of the tasks involved in estate planning include writing a will, setting up trusts, making donations to reduce estate taxes, planning the funeral, and appointing an executor. Call our Shepherdsville, KY estate planning lawyers at John H. Ruby & Associates for a free initial consultation, and we can help you understand and devise the most appropriate plan for your situation.
What Makes Up an Estate?
An individual’s estate refers toall assets and property that they own or control. Assets that generally make up an estate include:
- Real or immovable property including houses, farms, buildings
- Personal or movable property including bank accounts, cash, stocks and bonds, jewelry, vehicles, art collections
- Assets and interest in businesses including tools, equipment, inventory
- Life insurance policies, annuity, pension
- Debts and liabilities
- Claims or damages against others
Everyone Needs Estate Planning
Even though people tend to reflect more upon estate planning as they get older, or if they have substantial assets and property; an estate plan is not just for the retirees or the extremely wealthy.
Life is unpredictable, and accidents or illnesses can happen to anyone. Good estate planning can benefit families with modest assets as much if not more than the wealthier ones. Poor estate planning can cause losses due to delays and disputes, thus being detrimental for everyone involved.
List of Documents for an Effective Estate Plan
Our skilled estate planning lawyers at John H. Ruby & Associates can draw up and customize all the essential documents to satisfy the unique needs of your estate planning, including:
Wills and Trusts
A will is one of the essential elements of any estate plan that ensures the distribution of property as per the wishes of an individual. In addition to a will to distribute your property and make adequate provisions for minor children, you may also need a living will to manage your healthcare if you ever end up suffering from a terminal illness.
Various types of trusts can help accomplish specific estate planning goals. A testamentary trust is a provision within a will that allows you to place your assets in a trust and specify the distribution of funds to support a minor or disabled child or a disabled family member.
Living trusts are legal documents that are created during your lifetime to manage assets and pass them to your beneficiaries upon death. One of the main advantages of this kind of a trust is it allows you to bypass probate and transfer assets directly to your beneficiaries. Some types of living trusts also help in minimizing estate taxes and legal costs.
Keeping the needs of your estate planning and with adherence to the state laws in mind, our attorneys can help you in drafting these vitally important documents.
Durable Power of Attorney (POA)
A durable power of attorney helps you in appointing a person who can act on your behalf if you are incapable to do so. The person or agent with the power of attorney can conduct financial and real estate transactions and decide on legal matters on your behalf.
You have the authority to revoke or change this type of power of attorney at a time of your choosing. However, in the absence of such a POA, a court may pass directives regarding the distribution of your assets.
Health Care and Assisted Living Directives
These documents outline your preferences regarding the nature of your future healthcare and the extent of medical intervention. These documents provide a roadmap for your family and caregivers in the future, when you may be unable to make these decisions for yourself.
Medical Power of Attorney
This medical power of attorney is a legal document that assigns powers to a person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if, at any point in time in the future, you are not able to do so. This document addresses a wide variety of medical contingencies and emergency scenarios.
Some of your assets can pass to your inheritors without instructions about them in your will. This gives rise to the need of appointing beneficiaries as well as contingent beneficiaries for such instances, e.g., insurance plans, 401(k) plan assets, etc.
Designated beneficiaries must be mentally sound and over the age of 21. In case there is no designated beneficiary, or if the beneficiary is dead or not able to serve, a court may determine the distribution of your funds.
FLPs and LLCs
As a business owner, you can devise a plan to divide assets of a family business to avoid probate delays using a Family Limited Partnership (FLP). Similarly, a Limited Liability Company (LLC) can help in planning the transfer of assets of a family business.
Letter of Intent
A letter of intent is a document defining an executor or a beneficiary’s responsibilities and powers with respect to a particular asset after your death. Although not a legal document, a letter of intent is a declaration of your intentions that might be useful in the distribution of your assets if the will is not legally valid for any reason.
Business Succession Plan
By drafting a business succession plan, you can issue instructions for the future of your business after your death or incapacitation and ensure a desirable and smooth transition.
Not all wills or trusts include guardianship directives but appointing a guardian can be crucial if you have minor children. Consider the financial stability and willingness of the person(s) you designate as future guardians of your children. In the absence of a designated guardian, a court has the authority to select a family member or, in extreme circumstances, even the state as the caretaker.
The Benefits of Estate Planning in Shepherdsville, KY
Estate planning equips you to manage your finances and provides a safety net for your family and your loved ones in the event of your incapacitation or death. It is a significant step you can take to ensure protection for yourself and your loved ones. Here are some additional benefits accrued from planning your estate:
Provide for Incapacity
In the absence of legally valid estate planning documents, the process of your loved ones managing the affairs of your estate due to your ill-health or inability is cumbersome and expensive.
Avoid Excessive Taxes
Prudently planning your estate and implementing the right strategies can help you eliminate or reduce several state and federal inheritance taxes.
Consult with Experienced Shepherdsville Estate Planning Attorneys
Your wishes and preferences matter the most in creating an estate plan of your choice. Our attorneys can provide their legal opinion and help you draft the required legal documents to uphold your vision for the future of your estate.
We can also review and update your existing estate plan according to your changing needs and changes in the legal environment. Contact John H. Ruby & Associates for strong legal advice on all matters related to estate planning. To get started, message us online or call us at (502) 895-2626 today to set up a consultation.