Estate planning at Squillace & Associates, P.C. isn’t just filling in the blanks. We listen to what your wishes and desires are for how you want things managed after your death and work to produce a plan that reflects your wishes.
Our Estate Planning practice focuses on Wills, Revocable Living Trusts, Charitable Giving, Planning for Pets and Trust Funding.
A Will allows you to both name who you want to be in charge of your affairs after your death and gives instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die. In order to transfer assets after you die, a will needs to go through the Probate Court. This procedure can be expensive, take time, and your family has no privacy and no control. Having a will in place makes this process easier and allows for your wishes to be granted and assets to be distributed as you desired.
Wills serve many functions. One is that it allows you to name a guardian for your most precious asset – your minor children. Furthermore, without a will, children have the potential of inheriting your hard-earned assets, including retirement at age 18. A will can prevent this from happening.
Revocable Living Trusts
An alternative to a Will is a Revocable Living Trust. This trust is just like a will; it contains instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die. However, a funded Living Trust can avoid probate at death which allows you to control all of your assets and it also prevents the court from controlling your assets at incapacity. This trust offers maximum flexibility, privacy and protection for beneficiaries. A Revocable Living Trust can save you estate taxes if you are married, live in Massachusetts and have over $1 million in assets.
In our practice, we regularly raise the issue of planned philanthropy with our clients and help them understand better the financial impact of their choices. Sometimes, the result is incorporation of one’s favorite charity (or charities). The choice is the client’s decision. There are a variety of ways to structure a charitable legacy. Lifetime gifts and charitable trusts are another. This list is long and depends heavily on your current financial (and tax) situation, what you expect your situation to be in the future, and, of course, your goals and objectives overall. Our firm can help you decide which vehicles and instruments work best for you.
Planning for Pets
Today more people are arranging for the care of their pets after they pass by establishing a Pet Trust. A Pet Trust is needed because a pet cannot directly receive cash or property. Even though you love your pet and consider your pet a member of the family, under state and federal law, they are property themselves, and cannot, therefore, directly receive bequests.
We believe that success for your estate plan includes proper funding (or re-titling) of your assets into your newly created Revocable Living Trust. By funding your trust, it helps ensure that your assets will be governed by the instructions established by you. Ultimately, trust funding helps you meet certain objectives such as avoiding probate and minimizing estate taxes.