Estate Planning

Do you want to protect your loved ones from the often-times lengthy probate process? Estate planning will help protect your precious legacy! G. Martin Johnson offers the following estate planning services:

Simple Will: This type of will usually involves a single person or a married couple with no minor children and/or little life insurance. All assets pass between the spouses and upon both of their deaths to their designated beneficiaries

Contingent Family Trust Will: A simple Will but with the addition of a trust created as part of the Will. All assets pass between spouses and upon the second spouse to die, to a Trust for the benefit of the designated beneficiaries. This allows deferral of distributions to the beneficiaries.

Simple Will with stand along trust: Similar to a Contingent Family Trust Will arrangement, except that the Trust is created as a stand along document. This is used when there are assets, the titles of which we might want to put immediately into the Trust to avoid probate. This is often used where significant life insurance exists.

Credit or Bypass Trust: This arrangement is used when the assets are significant and documents are being drafted to minimize estate tax issues. Presently the amount not subject to Federal Estate tax is five million dollars.

Irrevocable Trust: This is used when we want to move assets out of the estate entirely. Because it is irrevocable e.g. cannot be changed, the client needs to be able to part with the asset. This is used to move assets that might appreciate in the future to designated beneficiaries but defer giving it to them outright for a period of time.

Power of Attorney: This is a document that gives someone called “an attorney in fact”, the ability to make financial decisions for you in the event you cannot make them. This is often used to avoid having to create a conservatorship to handle a persons financial affairs.

Health Care Directive: This document is similar to a power of attorney, but allows someone to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to.

Other estate planning documents include transferring real property or personal property such as a bank account, into joint tenancy with someone else. This results in the survivor owning the property outright upon the death of the first joint tenant and thus avoid probate.

POD (Payable Upon Death): This is a designation for personal property wherein a person is designated to receive personal property upon the death of the owner of the account. Usually this is deemed a non probate asset.

T.O.D.D. (Transfer on Death Deed): Similar to a POD but involves real property. A party can designate another to receive real estate upon their death. This avoids probate. More importantly, it can be revoked if a person changes their mind whether to give a person the real property.

Contact Martin today!