Estate planning involves more than naming your heirs and crunching a few financial numbers. Estate planning involves a comprehensive review of your entire estate. This review includes addressing who will raise your children and how they will raise your children in the event of your death. During the review, we will analyze how you can transfer as much of your estate to your family, taking into account the tax implications of the transfer. You will have an opportunity to consider whether you want your family to receive their inheritance immediately or whether you want to keep funds in Trust for your family.
Jeffrey B. Bock has extensive experience working with clients and conducts thorough estate planning reviews. He works with various families interested in estate planning, including parents with young children, families with adult children, families that set up Trustees to provide for children with disabilities, community property planning for spouses, and much more.
What is Estate Planning for Families?
- Will –A will allows you to designate an executor who manages your estate and to designate guardians for your children under 18.
- Revocable (Living) Trust –A Revocable Trust is a stand-alone Trust designed to minimize or even eliminate Court involvement in your affairs. You can give your Trustee instructions on when, how, and under what conditions you want your estate to pass to your family. You can also dictate to the Trustee how you wish you and your spouse is taken care of during disability. You have the power to amend and revoke the Trust at any time.
- Testamentary Trust –A Testamentary Trust is included in your will and only takes effect at your death. The primary difference between a testamentary Trustee and a revocable Trustee is that your executor will need to go to court, and the courts will be involved with your estate and family.
- Financial Power of Attorney–If you are incapacitated, your designated agent under a power of attorney will be in charge of paying your bills and making your financial decisions? You need a financial power of attorney, giving someone you trust the ability to manage your affairs if you cannot. If you have a Revocable Trust, your Trustee can manage your Trust property. You can give your Trustee specific instructions on how to take care of you and your family. With a Trust, you still need a power of attorney because your Trustee cannot manage some of your assets. For example, your agent under a power of attorney will handle your pension plans.
- Healthcare Power of Attorney, Healthcare Directive & Living Will –If you cannot make your medical decisions, you must give this decision-making power to your spouse or someone you trust. With a living will, you can designate if, when life-sustaining treatment to end.
- Protecting Minor Children–Protecting minor children by naming guardians and having a Trust is crucial. Most parents do not want a judge deciding who will continue raising their children, nor do most parents want a judge supervising their children's guardians. By having proper estate planning documents in place, you can help ensure that your wishes are followed.
- Blended Family Planning–Blended family planning can be complicated. A blended family often consists of a couple with children from previous marriages. Not having proper family estate planning documents poses several challenges, including family conflict and disinheritance of loved ones.
- Special Needs Planning–If you have a child that is disabled or has special needs, estate planning is especially critical. Having a special needs Trustee for your child helps ensure that your child will be taken care of and not lose governmental benefits.
- LGBT Family Planning– Although gay marriage is now recognized, many gay people still have hostile families to their spouses. Many employers and institutions are reluctant to acknowledge gay spouses and partners. Some state governments attempt to chip away at the rights that the Supreme Court recognized for gay couples. Planning your estate is essential to ensure that your spouse and partner are protected.
- Community Property–Property for married couples can be separate or joint or community. Many people mistakenly assume that all of their property automatically becomes joint or community property that will pass to their spouses after they marry. State laws control to whom and how your property is transferred at death. Unless you properly plan, your estate may not pass to your spouse or according to your wishes at your death
- Foreign Trust Rules –If you are a U.S. citizen or resident but have international ties, estate planning is essential. The U.S. tax laws are complicated, and there can be onerous consequences if you have non-US Trustees.
Contact Jeff's Office to Learn More About Family Estate Planning
To learn more about how estate planning can help your family, spouse and children, please call 281-962-8529 in Texas or 561-392-8788 in Florida or request an initial confidential consultation online. In your initial consultation with Jeff, he will discuss your estate planning needs, helping you determine the best type of estate planning strategy to meet your current and long-term goals. Jeff can help answer any questions you have while helping you make informed decisions.