Some Kent residents may be familiar with certain free or low-cost estate planning tools and wondering if those tools are adequate to meet their individual estate planning needs. One popular example is the "Five Wishes" package that may be offered as a form of living will to participants in certain Medicare supplemental insurance programs. This particular document package may meet the legal requirements for a valid living will in many states, but financial planning experts warn seniors against believing that similar free tools provide a comprehensive solution to long-term care planning.
Kent business owners know that building a successful company typically requires a major personal investment. Because of this, many Washingtonians regard it as a top priority to pass on the fruits of their labors to heirs. According to a recent survey, most business owners recognize that estate planning is crucial to prevent family disputes and to make sure that plans for business succession avoid the complexities of probate court. Nonetheless, business owners too often put off their estate planning for business succession until later in life, and that can be a mistake.
If King County follows the trend of a recent survey, more than half of area residents may be going through life without having prepared a will. An alarming 92 percent of adults under age 35 reported not having a will. The survey suggests that many people believe their estate assets will naturally pass to their children or other family members, but that isn't necessarily true.
Yes, issues of estate planning may not be every family's favorite topic of discussion, but residents in the Seattle area would be wise not to push to the wayside important decisions regarding wills, trusts, long-term care planning, power of attorney and other estate planning issues. To help expedite the process, a discussion of a celebrity's particular estate plan can often ease the discomfort some family members feel with regard to end-of-life wishes.
Before the Internet, when a person passed away, an estate-planning attorney might come to the family's house, review the relevant paperwork, and keep an eye out for any bills that might arrive in the mail. But now that many people in Seattle do their financial business, including the filing of taxes, online, estate planning may be more complicated now than it ever was.
Now that 2011 has come to a close, many readers in Washington are looking for ways to plan through 2012 and beyond. When it comes to making estate-planning decisions, individuals will want to ask some important questions and search out the best methods for ensuring the protection of assets for all parties involved. Establishing a trust is one popular way of protecting assets.
If you were to take a poll of Washington residents and ask about trusts, many would answer: trusts are only for the rich. That may have been true several years ago, but today a living trust or other form of trust can be beneficial to many families who fall into the middle-income bracket. Trusts can help families reduce their tax exposure, as well as be used to protect and transfer assets. Just as importantly, trusts can be crucial in avoiding probate.There are different types of trusts, and Seattle residents should consult with a professional before choosing one. In general, however, a trust can be set up to protect assets, and in that case, the assets are no longer owned by an individual. This action offers significant asset protection. Also, a trust can be set up to specify what the funds are to be used for: for example, college education or starting a business.