Resolve to Protect Your Assets in 2016 September 21st, 2016
Our collective resolution at GranatWills is to help Maryland residents and the greater Maryland area rise above the average when it comes to having a will. It’s been said that more than 60 percent of American adults don’t have a will at all. With so many resources these days, that statistic is shocking. So we challenge you in 2016 to break out of that mold and resolve to protect your assets (and, thus, your family’s future), starting with these three considerations:
When there’s a will (you know the rest): An Maryland last will and testament is the most fundamental way to protect your assets. It is the cornerstone that states—without question—who will inherit your most precious assets, from your watch all the way up to your pets and children. Advanced estate planning can fill in the gaps on how beneficiaries will inherit assets, but the will is that one necessary document that takes your family’s fate out of the hands of the court and put it into the right hands (yours).
Don’t forget to consider incapacitation: There’s a very important reason we put together a Smarter Will Pack™ for Maryland residents. The pack includes not just a will, but advance directives as well, which can be even more important. How? Advance directives protect the assets that are most important: future health decisions and your family’s peace of mind. We’re all living longer and medical intervention is much more effective at keeping us alive than ever before. So, each one of us is likely to become incapacitated at some point in our lives before we die. For that reason, a living will, powers of attorney and HIPAA authorizations are just as important as having a will. Consider getting all of those documents at one time, to cover both death AND incapacitation.
Know when advanced protection is appropriate: It looks like nearly all Americans—with very few exceptions—will be able to escape the estate tax in 2011. Congress recently voted to pass the law to only affect individuals with more than $5 million and couples with more than $10 million in assets. But don’t be fooled that tax planning and advanced estate planning isn’t necessary. There are plenty of other tax traps including capital gains that can shred a family’s inheritance. And, when it comes to a living trust, keep in mind that privacy, probate avoidance and divorce protection are still very real ways trusts can preserve a family’s wealth from generation to generation. If you have measureable assets, it’s certainly worth resolving to protect those assets by consulting an estate planning attorney this year.
Where should you start? Use this comparison chart to determine the best way to protect your assets in 2011.