5 Estate Planning musts before traveling

It is always important to have your estate plan in order, however, if you will be traveling, it’s a must.  Should anything happen to you during your trip, having your affairs in order will minimize stress for your loved ones. Here are 5 items to make sure you have and check off before traveling.

  1. Last Will and Testament – This is the most common document people think about when it comes to estate planning. In the Will you name an executor to administer your estate, you name beneficiaries to receive you estate, and you can name a guardian to care for your minor children.
  2. Advanced Directives: Living Will and Health Care Surrogate – These documents express your health care preferences and name someone to make health care decisions for you, if you are unable to. Remember, estate planning isn’t just about death, it’s also making sure your affairs are in order for incapacity as well.
  3. Durable Power of Attorney – This is a financial power of attorney to name an agent to make decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.
  4. Life Insurance – Make sure it is up to date before traveling, especially the beneficiaries listed.
  5. Review Titles / Deeds and Beneficiaries – In addition to checking life insurance beneficiaries, check those on other account as well such as IRAs, checking accounts, savings accounts, anything with a POD or TOD.

~Cristin Silliman, Esquire

Disclaimer: The content in this internet website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact an attorney for legal advice.

Considerations after starting your small business

Once you’ve gone through the process of setting up your corporation, LLC (limited liability company), or dba (doing business as/fictitious name) there are some additional things you should consider.  Starting a business can be very overwhelming, so here is a list to help organize some of those “where do I start”, or “what now thoughts.”

  1. Accounting Records – I recommend using a program to keep up with your bookkeeping and accounting records right from the beginning. Some of the most common are: QuickBooks; Quicken; FreshBooks; and Wave Accounting.  If you start bookkeeping correctly from the beginning it will save you a lot of time, money and head ache having an accountant fix it later when tax time rolls around.
  2. Networking/Advertising/Marketing – This is a must for new businesses. If you’re going to network, make sure you choose groups that are going to beneficial for your business.  And make sure not to over-do networking. You want to have a balance between growing your business and running your business.  You will want to have a website. These days, that’s the first thing people do when they hear about you is google your name or business.  Online advertising can go a long way and reach more people that print.  It may take some time to figure out what will work best for you and your business.
  3. Credit Card Payments – Many people want to be able to pay by card. It’s quick and convenient for them. There are many easy ways to be able to accept credit card payments out there.
  4. Client management software – If you are going to have a database of clients, it would be wise to look into a place to keep all of your client information that is easily accessible to you and can be categorized. This will make things easier for you a couple years down the road when your business has hundreds of clients.
  5. Business Plans – Understand that business plans will change as you learn how to grow and operate your business. Starting out with goals and ideas for your business will help keep you organized and know where to start and continue.

Owning your own business will be a roller coaster, but a fun one. Enjoy it all, even the tough times.  Good luck in starting your business!

~Cristin Silliman, Esquire

Disclaimer: The content in this internet website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact an attorney for legal advice.

Land Trust vs Living Trust

Land Trust vs. Living Trust

A Living Trust is designed to hold all of your assets, from cash, cars, tangible property, houses, etc, for easy distribution upon death.  A Living Trust can also make designations for the grantors incapacity.

A Land Trust is a type of Living Trust, but it is designed to hold real estate, and the Trustee is not the same as the grantor or beneficiary.  Real estate in a land trust isn’t subject to liens against the beneficiary either.

~Cristin Silliman, Esquire

www.thelegacylawfirmllc.com

Disclaimer: The content in this internet website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact an attorney for legal advice.

Top Ways to Avoid Probate

No one wants to go through probate. Even if the estate is small and simple, probate can still be a pain and take months.  Here are a few ways to avoid probate for your loved ones that survive you.

  1. Create a Revocable Trust – A trust is created to manage your assets during your lifetime and distribute the remaining assets after your death.  This is done by a successor trustee that will have immediate access to the trust without having to wait months or go through the courts.
  2. Name beneficiaries on your accounts – Any bank accounts you have, including a regular checking and savings account, can have beneficiaries designated on them.  These beneficiaries will receive the funds soon after your passing just by completing the bank paper work.  This is sometimes called Pay on Death or Transfer on Death.  This can be done for IRA’s, stocks, 401Ks, CDs, etc.
  3. Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship – On any property that you own, if you included another person, or people, on the deed with joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, then when one of you passes, the remaining people would automatically receive and continue to own the property.

These are a few options to avoiding probate.  It’s always good to consult with an Estate Planning Attorney to make sure that the options are best for you and your goals.  Each person is different as are their goals and estate planning needs.

~Cristin Silliman, Esquire

www.thelegacylawfirmllc.com

Disclaimer: The content in this internet website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact an attorney for legal advice.

It’s never too late

Even if you lost a loved one just yesterday or many years ago and discover that there is an asset out there in that person’s name, you can still go through probate. There is no time limit to be able to take care of someone’s estate. Never assume it’s too late.  It never hurts to ask a probate attorney if it’s worth going through probate or if it’s possible to do on your own.

It’s also never too late to create a will. I have had several clients create a will days before their passing.  Some attorneys will make a trip to your house or the hospital or nursing home to ensure that your estate plan is taken care of to give you peace of mind.

www.thelegacylawfirmllc.com

Disclaimer: The content in this internet website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact an attorney for legal advice.

Do I Need A Will?

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A will is a device that lets you tell the world whom you want to get your assets. Die without one, and the state decides who gets what, without regard to your wishes or your heirs’ needs.

Intestacy laws vary considerably from state to state. In general, though, if you die and leave a spouse and kids, your assets will be split between your surviving mate and children. If you’re single with no children, then the state is likely to decide who among your blood relatives will inherit your estate.

Making a will is especially important for people with young children, because wills are the best way to transfer guardianship of minors.

You may amend your will at any time. In fact, it’s a good idea to review it periodically and especially when your marital status changes. At the same time, review your beneficiary designations for your 401(k), IRA, pension and life insurance policy since those accounts will be transferred automatically to your named beneficiaries when you die.

A will is also useful if you have a trust. A trust is a legal mechanism that lets you put conditions on how your assets are distributed after you die and it often lets you minimize gift and estate taxes. But you still need a will since most trusts deal only with specific assets such as life insurance or a piece of property, but not the sum total of your holdings.

Even if you have what’s known as a revocable living trust, in which you can put the bulk of your assets, you still need what’s known as a pour-over will. In addition to letting you name a guardian for your children, a pour-over will ensures that all the assets you intended to put into the trust are put there even if you fail to retitle some of them before your death.

Any assets that are not retitled in the name of the trust are considered subject to probate. As a result, if you haven’t specified in a will who should get those assets, a court may decide to distribute them to heirs whom you may not have chosen.

A living will (also known as an advance medical directive) is a statement of your wishes for the kind of life-sustaining medical intervention you want, or don’t want, in the event that you become terminally ill and unable to communicate.

A good estate planning attorney can help you get all your properties and estate in order. Having a proper estate plan can give you peace of mind. It’s not only for your benefit, but to protect your legacy for the benefit of your loved ones.

www.thelegacylawfirmllc.com

Disclaimer: The content in this internet website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact an attorney for legal advice.