Elder law attorneys provide assistance with making plans for the protection of your assets. Attorneys can also assist with addressing end-of-life issues and with making a legacy plan so you can use your assets to support your family and the causes that matter to you.
There are many legal issues that you need to think about when you make your plans for the future, and Biddinger & Bitzer provides help to people in Michigan’s shoreline communities at all income levels and in all life situations with their planning process.
No matter what your financial situation, you need an estate plan tailored to you in order to address the issues that are created by your family situation and the nature of your wealth. For those with a larger estate, for example, there are a few key estate planning issues that definitely need to be addressed– including the following big concerns.
You Could be Charged Estate Tax
If your estate exceeds $5.6 million in 2018, you may need to pay estate tax upon your death. You can transfer assets tax free to your spouse, but this estate tax can be triggered on larger estates if you leave money to anyone other than your husband or your wife. Your estate will need to pay this amount, reducing the assets you have available to leave to heirs or beneficiaries.
If you have a business or farmland that are valuable but you have few liquid assets, there may not be enough money in your estate to pay the tax and property or company assets might need to be sold. You don’t want this to occur, but the good news is, there may be ways to reduce or avoid estate tax if you work with an experienced attorney to make advanced plans to protect your assets.
You May Own Property in Multiple Locations
In circumstances where you own real estate in multiple locations, it may be possible that your loved ones will need to go through multiple probate processes in order to facilitate the transfer of all of your assets. If your loved ones must go through multiple probate proceedings, this significantly increases the costs and complexities of the transfer of assets. You may be able to find ways to pass your property outside of the probate process by using tools like trusts so it is not necessary for your loved ones to go through multiple court proceedings to transfer your assets on to the new owners.
The Chances Are Greater of Your Estate Being Contested
If you have a larger estate, there is naturally more money and property to be transferred after your death. Unfortunately, with so much more at stake, there is an increased incentive for potential heirs or beneficiaries to contest the last will and testament that you have made if they are not happy with the share of the inheritance that has been provided to them.
You do not want your will to be contested because this also adds to the cost and the time involved in the probate process. In a worst-case scenario, a will that you created which you intended to serve as your legacy could end up not being probated and you could lose the chance to determine what happens to the wealth that you had worked hard to acquire during the course of your lifetime.
Again, there are legal tools that you can use to reduce the chances that your wishes won’t be respected. For example, if you create a living trust and assets are transferred through the trust administration process, this significantly reduces the chances of your wishes successfully being contested after your death. You should talk with an experienced attorney about the tools that you can use to either discourage your potential heirs or beneficiaries from contesting your will or to reduce the likelihood that a successful contest would deprive you of the chance to leave your desired legacy.