¤ BENEFITS OF HAVING A QUALITY ESTATE PLAN
A quality estate plan that includes a revocable trust, funded with assets subject to probate, can avoid probate. Probate takes time, usually up to a year or more. The costs of probate, even for a moderate estate, can easily be between $9,000.00 and $30,000.00, or more depending on the value of the estate. Probate fees are based upon the size of the gross estate, that is the value of the estate assets without deducting the liabilities, and are governed by statute and as ordered by the court.
AVOID FEDERAL ESTATE TAXES
This estate plan will, depending on the size of your estate, eliminate or minimize Federal estate taxes. Federal estate taxes presently have a top tax bracket of 45% of the taxable estate.
AVOID CONSERVATORSHIP PROCEEDINGS
A quality estate plan allows you to decide in advance who and how your affairs will be handled in the event you are unable to do so yourself. Without an estate plan, a court will appoint someone to make these decisions for you with no requirement that your wishes are followed.
GUARDIANSHIP OF MINOR CHILDREN
If you were unavailable, because of incompetency or death, to take care of your minor children, a quality estate plan can protect your children and ensure that you direct how your children, property, or inheritance is managed. Without an estate plan a court is required to strictly manage the minor children’s general affairs according to statutes and rules that may not be what you want. This plan will nominate guardians giving guidance and instructions to the court on whom you want to care for your minor children, instead of the court appointing a foster care guardian without having the benefit of your wishes.
EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE
In the event you require emergency medical treatment and are unable to authorize medical treatment for yourself (unconscious, coma, etc.), the estate plan includes durable powers of attorney and advance health care directives that allow you to decide in advance who you would want to make emergency medical treatment decisions for you.