What is Estate Planning? 

Estate Planning is simply passing property from one generation to the next.  It is also known as family wealth planning. Our emphasis in Estate Planning entails four main points of focus.

The 4 P’s of Estate Planning

 Probate Avoidance - when we pass away any assets that we have go through a court process called probate. This can be a cumbersome process that takes months or even years. 

Protection - this allows your heirs to not have the worry about fictitious claims about what you may owe or what people are entitled from your estate after you pass away.  

 Privacy - when your estate goes through probate all records are public and anyone can view all of your past financial concerns. 

 Peace of Mind - most experts agree that probate can cost an estate 4% to 10% or more of the estate. By properly setting a living trust, you can eliminate much of this worry. 

 

Why should you do your Estate Planning with TreeceCo?

Integrity. It is the first thing you should look for when making any major decision. Sadly, finding financial education that is given in an ethical manner can be difficult. However, it’s not impossible to find. TreeceCo has been educating and equipping its clients for over 30 years in how prepare their estate and finances for pre-retirement and retirement.

The Estate Planning strategies we use include 222 Must Have Provisions to give your estate the best chance of avoiding probate.

We have sourced attorneys who specialize in guiding you through a process of fully understanding your estate documents. We guarantee you will have ample time to understand your estate documents and ask questions of an attorney and financial advisor before your planning process is over.

TreeceCo has an A+ rating with the BBB and we’re proud to say that we treat each of our clients with integrity. Be sure to read testimonials from people we have helped. Click here. Call us today to begin planning your estate.

 

Why Estate Planning Is Important 

Proper estate planning is vital - not only for you, but for your family. There are many misconceptions about estate planning that can cause major problems or cost your family their fortune. Many believe that saving on federal estate taxes is the main reason for planning, but family estate planning is so much more than avoiding taxes alone. Let's take a look at some of the biggest contributors to loss of assets and family frustrations that result from improper estate planning, and discover their solution. 

Probate - In most cases, Probate is required to pass title and ownership of a deceased person's property to his or her heirs. If you have a Will, you Will go through Probate. It can be a time consuming process, from 9 to 24 months. It can also be extremely costly - usually between 6% to 10% of the value of your estate, which can be even more devastating to smaller estates. It's a misconception that if you have a smaller estate you don't need to do estate planning. 

It is unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When
you pay too much, you lose a little money - that's all. When you pay
too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you
bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The
common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a
lot - it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well
to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will
have enough to pay for something better.” ― John Ruskin 1819-1900

Probate proceedings are also public records, and anyone may find out about your private affairs. If you value your privacy and want to keep your hard earned assets, you will avoid Probate. The good news is that by setting up a well-written, fully funded Revocable Living Trust, you can avoid the unnecessary time and expense of Probate. 

Joint Tenancy - Joint Tenancy is a way to own assets with someone else, usually a spouse or child. While owning assets such as a home or bank account in Joint Tenancy may seem advantageous, the tax and legal problems that may arise can be mind-boggling. The perils of Joint Tenancy can include: 

  • Only delays Probate, does not avoid it. 
  • Capital Gains Taxes are not avoided. 
  • Subject to Court Judgement or Creditors. 
  • Unintentional Gift Taxes you don't even know about. 
  • Control issues with Co-Owner. 
  • Accidental Disinheriting.

There are many planning options that are far safer than owning property in Joint Tenancy - one of those ways is with a good Living Trust. 

State Estate Tax - Many states have a lower estate tax than federal estate tax. That's why it's important for you to have a qualified estate planning professional work with you to achieve your goals. They can help you sort through all the problems, and find the right solutions for you. 

Incompetency - Without a proper estate plan, any relative may petition the Court to be appointed as your Guardian or Conservator if you become incapacitated or are declared incompetent. Because you are not able to say whom you want, the Court appointed Conservator. Remember that a Court appointed Conservator has total control over EVERYTHING you own. 

Advantages of a Living Trust - Establishing a Living Trust is an effective way to avoid many pitfalls improper estate planning. A Living Trust avoids Probate, preserves your privacy, eliminates challenges to the estate, establishes Conservators, minimizes estate taxes, takes care of minor or disabled children, and allows YOU to be in continuous control or management of your assets. Call 855.534.4653 or email info @TreeceCo.com to learn more. 

 

Mistakes That Cause Heirs To Suffer Needlessly 

Procrastination - If you don't set up an estate plan, upon your death your property will be distributed according to the laws of your state of residence, generally known as Probate law. Often, the law will require the Probate judge to give your property to someone other than the people you would have chosen. 

Relying on a Will - If your estate plan consist of only a Will, congratulations, you are ahead of most. You might now consider that your family may face many costly and time-consuming problems such as Probate and / or Conservatorship proceedings. It is true that a Will is the most common estate planning tool, but it has many disadvantages including easy contestability - it actually invites contest. 

Relying on Joint Tenancy - Many people own their bank accounts and homes in Joint Tenancy, yet they do not realize the dangers of owning property this way. Joint Tenancy may cause families horrible legal nightmares, and ultimately, that property will be subject to the Probate Courts. You may have many options that are better and safer than owning property in Joint Tenancy - one of those ways is with a good Living Trust. 

Relying on a Form Kit Will or Living Trust - One size does not fill all. No two people or families are alike! Your family's needs, dynamics, personalities, and values are unique. If you use a form kit, you are asking for problems. Even LegalZoom.com reveals that 80% of people who fill in blank forms to create legal documents do so incorrectly. Plus, if your Will or Living Trust is not executed properly, it becomes invalid. If you overlook the opportunity to write specific instructions about how you want to provide for your spouse and children, your family will receive whatever care the "cookie cutter" document provides, and you may not know of other options. The only plan you can rely on is one that is custom prepared by a qualified estate planning professional and attorney. 

Relying on the Courts to Establish Conservator - A Conservator appointed person - sometimes even a stranger - the judge appoints if you can't take care of yourself. The Court hearings are costly, time consuming, and truly agonizing. And, anyone can apply to handle your financial and personal affairs if you become incompetent. But, when you set up a Revocable Living Trust and transfer your assets into it, you avoid the need for Conservatorship proceedings. A good Living Trust package should include language to deal with your incapacity, and should also include Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directives and Living Will, HIPPA, and Pour-Over Will. 

Relying on the Courts to Establish a Guardian for Your Minor Children - Well over 60% of parents with children under the age of 18 do not have any documents in place that will help if something happens. You might be comfortable assuming that your parents or sister or best friend will happily take on the responsibility of your kids if you died - but things rarely work out that way. It will take the Courts, and maybe even a battle to establish Guardianship. A pre-planned transition is much preferable. 

Relying on Community Property Laws - Many individuals decide to rely on Community Property laws. However, just like Joint Tenancy, most of your property will still have to go through Probate on the death of the spouse, and Community Property ownership requires a Conservatorship if a spouse is incapacitated. Relying on this method is not a good estate plan. 

Don't Procrastinate! Choose today to plan your estate. Call 855.534.4653 or email info @TreeceCo.com to learn more. 

 

15 Life Changes That Signal When Your Estate Plan Needs Maintenance 

It’s a good idea to have your estate plan reviewed every year or two to ensure your estate plan accurately reflects any changes in your family circumstances. 

The list below pinpoints certain events that could have a significant impact on
your estate. 

 1. You get married or divorced. 

2. Your spouse dies or becomes incapacitated. 

3. You become ill or disabled. 

4. You have a new child. 

5. Your child marries or divorces. 

6. Your child becomes ill or disabled. 

7. You have a new grandchild. 

8. One of your beneficiaries shows signs of financially irresponsible. 

9. One of your beneficiaries develops a drug or alcohol problem. 

10.  The value of your assets has increased. 

11. Your employment changes. 

12. You retire from your business or profession. 

13. You acquire property in a different state.

14. You move to a different state. 

15. There have been law changes that may affect the language of your
documents. Examples of this would the changes to HIPPA laws and arbitration laws. 

 

Additional Estate Planning Reading 

For more reading on Estate Planning click the titles below 

What happens when you die? 

A story about a client 

The tax your heirs pay

Not preparing is preparing to pay taxes

When you receive the big check 

questions? Call 704.717.4848 or email info@TreeceCo.com