Serving Clients in Jupiter and the Surrounding Area
You don’t have to be a millionaire to have an estate. Your estate is all of your belongings including your home, personal property, investments, bank accounts, retirement plans, and any interests in a family business or partnership. Welch Law will assist you in analyzing your current situation; creating a customized estate plan; and developing strategies to accomplish your unique planning goals. We understand that careful planning now can help your loved ones avoid costly mistakes later. We are committed to helping you avoid probate and estate taxes, protecting your assets from creditors, building your wealth, and protecting your family from unexpected events.
We will work with you to realize your hopes, fears, and expectations for those left behind. This process almost always requires the preparation of a Last Will & Testament or Revocable Living Trust and Pour-Over Will, but those documents on their own are not ‘estate planning.’ Estate planning is the process of developing a complete strategy with a professional that is committed to preparing you for end-of-life issues, planning for what will happen after your death, and giving you control over your legacy.
Last Will & Testament
A Last Will & Testament provides instructions to the probate court on how you would like your assets distributed upon your death. Under your Last Will & Testament, you will name a Personal Representative of your estate, who is in charge of running the probate process. The Personal Representative, usually with the assistance a probate lawyer, will take an inventory of your probate assets, negotiate any valid outstanding debts and will make appropriate distributions of your property. Perhaps the most important feature of your Last Will & Testament is that it names the guardian for your minor children if tragedy strikes.
Revocable Living Trust
A Revocable Living Trust is a legal entity that is created to hold ownership of an individual’s property and assets. Some of the most important things a Revocable Living Trust can accomplish are:
Avoid Probate. Property in a Revocable Living Trust does not pass through probate. Property that passes using a will guarantees the probate process, which can be costly and time consuming – sometimes taking years to resolve.
Name Beneficiaries. Trusts are vehicles which allow you to name beneficiaries for your assets and provide control as to how and when the assets are distributed to the beneficiaries.
Privacy. Wills are public documents; trusts are not. Anyone, including nosey relatives or neighbors can discover the details of your estate when your will moves through the probate process. A Revocable Living Trust allows you to keep your family’s privacy because it avoids probate.
Avoid Conservatorship and Guardianship Proceedings. A Revocable Living Trust allows you to authorize your spouse, partner, child, or other trusted person (or entity) to manage your assets in the event you become incapacitated. Wills are only effective upon your death, so they are useless in avoiding conservatorship and guardianship proceedings while you are alive.
Provide Asset Protection. Revocable Living Trusts may include cascading trusts that provide for your beneficiaries but keep the assets from being seized by their divorcing spouses or creditors. This is particularly useful when dealing with beneficiaries that are immature, have substance abuse issues, and/or have poor financial habits.
A Pour-Over Will is an essential companion document to your Revocable Living Trust because it provides instructions to the probate court to transfer any assets subject to probate into your Revocable Living Trust upon your death. Importantly, your Pour-Over Will names the guardian for your minor children if tragedy strikes.