62 percent of American households have pets. From dogs and cats to alligators, America is a nation that enjoys pets. One thing most Kent residents know is that to take care of their beloved furry critters. From a full week vacation to a night out with friends, someone needs to look after the pets when the owners are gone. But what happen if the owners never come back? An untimely death of an owner has left many pets in animal shelters due to their owners failing to make provision for them in their living trust.
When most Kent residents picture a living trust, they may naturally associate it with someone who is wealthy. For a long time the stereotype that trusts are only for the wealthy has cost many middle income individuals a lot of grief in probate court. In reality, a living trust can benefit most people.
As Seattle residents may know, the use of trusts in estate planning can offer a number of advantages, not the least of which is to avoid the expensive and cumbersome probate process. In order to serve its purpose effectively, a trust needs to evolve over time in order to account for changing life circumstances.
As Kent residents may know, increasing numbers of people are living in committed relationships outside of marriage. Census data indicates that unmarried couples represent roughly 7 million American households. Today's non-marital households include young couples choosing to forego marriage, same sex couples, and seniors who are in late-in-life relationships following divorce or the death of a spouse. For partners in a committed non-marital relationship, the opportunities for avoiding probate afforded by legally recognized marriage are often not available, which makes thoughtful estate planning especially important.
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.
Seattle residents may remember Mike Wallace as the 60 Minutes news correspondent who commanded America's attention on some of the nation's most important stories over the course of a 60-year career. The venerable journalist's recent death at 93 years of age tells a story once again, and serves as a reminder of the importance of long term care planning.
History buffs in Kent may be interested to hear about a recent conflict over a roughly 350-year-old will and the trust it created. William Paine, an English settler and merchant who built his wealth during English colonization in what is now the United States, left a will upon his death in 1660. In the will, Paine left a patch of coastal land for the benefit of local residents. The will stipulated that the rent from the land should be used to benefit public schools and that the land should not be sold.
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.