Jill’s Blog – Planning for the Future February 3, 2014

Are you hoping that if you don’t think about it, you won’t die?  Nice thought, but most of us do not achieve immortality. So far, we cannot take it with us, at least not in a usable fashion. This blog is for those who, reluctantly, acknowledge the need to make some preparations.

We suggest you start by considering whom you wish to provide for, and what assets you have available.

These are the usual methods:

A will is a document that transfers your assets to those you choose to use as they wish after you are gone.

A trust allows you to designate a trustee to oversee how your assets will be used to provide for your heirs, according to guidelines you establish.

If you do not take affirmative action to direct the disposition of your assets, the state will distribute your assets through the rules of intestacy.  Intestate succession means you have no will, and the rules the state has established will control the way your assets are distributed.  If you have a legal spouse and no other heirs, your spouse will take it all.  If you have a legal spouse and children, your spouse will take a share, and the children will take another share to be divided equally among them.  If you do not have a spouse or children, other relatives, such as parents and siblings or grandparents, will take according to the law of the state.

If you have no relatives or other designated legal heirs, your assets will revert to the state.

This gives you information to start, and may bring up some questions, such as:

When should I use a trust, or a will?

What if I am OK with the intestate succession?  Do I need a will?

What about probate?  Estate taxes?  What are the limits?

What about asset transfer while I am alive?

We will be adding more information soon.  Let us know if you have other questions you would like discussed.