Estate Planning For Asset Privacy and Protection

Rispoli & Borneo P.C.

Estate Planning For Asset Privacy and Protection

If you believe that estate planning is only for the abundantly wealthy, then it’s time to think again. If you pass away without an estate plan, it can cause confusion about your wishes for end-of-life and add more stress to your family during a period of immense grief. An estate plan outlines the detailed instructions for how you want your assets, trusts, guardianships, and other preferences to be carried out after your passing.

What information is included in an estate plan?

Your estate plan should go into detail about how you want your assets and possessions to be distributed after you have passed away. As an estate planning attorney from Silverman Law Office, PLLC has explained before, an estate plan often includes things such as a healthcare power of attorney, durable financial power of attorney, living will, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA), and last will and testament. 

A power of attorney is someone you assign to make certain health-related choices for you if you become unable to. A financial power of attorney determines who will be making financial decisions if you cannot due to incapacitation. A living will entails instructions for what medical treatments you do or do not wish to receive if you cannot speak for yourself for a medical reason. A HIPAA is a release form that allows the people you named to have access to your medical information. A last will and testament lists names of beneficiaries and to whom you want to receive your assets after death.

What is a trust exactly?

A trust is used to hold money for designated heirs. A properly structured trust can give people peace of mind that their after-death plan will be carried out in the way they wish. A trust allows another third party or trustee to hold assets on behalf of the beneficiaries. The main purpose of a trust is to establish legal protections for the trustor’s assets, layout to whom assets will be distributed, and can avoid or reduce estate taxes or inheritance taxes. 

How can I avoid probate?

Probate is a legal proceeding in which the court verifies a will. This process can be slow and expensive. Additionally, probate is not private either, so technically, it is accessible information to the public. Your assets may not have to go through probate if you take steps now to create an estate plan. Probate happens when someone dies without leaving behind a valid estate plan, so their assets will be distributed based on state intestacy laws. Most grieving loved ones would prefer to not have their relative’s personal information shared and scrutinized by the court system, and it can prevent beneficiaries from receiving their inheritance promptly. 

It doesn’t matter how much you have in assets, as anything of value to you should be passed down to those you want to have them. Those who don’t have an estate plan yet should consider establishing one with help from a reputable law firm, such as Silverman Law Office, PLLC, so they can rest more easily knowing their affairs and assets are taken care of.