Coates & Davenport, P.C.

Anticipate the unexpected through estate planning

Many people in Richmond have had the foresight to see that they have assets they want to pass down to loved ones through an inheritance. Therefore, they may have created what they believed to be a well-rounded estate plan. They may even have executed a trust in order to see that their heirs will not have to deal with the time-consuming and costly probate process. However, life continues to go on even after we die. Our heirs could experience a divorce, an untimely death, a lawsuit, bankruptcy or an incapacitating injury or illness that could affect where their inheritance ultimately ends up.

Therefore, the type of trust chosen is important. One trust worth considering is a "reservoir trust." In this type of trust, the heirs can only use their inheritance for certain things. For example, in a reservoir trust the grantor can state the assets are to be used to pay for college. In this way, you can ensure that your heirs use their inheritance in a way you believe is valuable, and the trust assets are protected from the unexpected.

This is only one example of a specific type of trust that some may find valuable. In fact, there are many estate planning options other than a mere will. While a will is a good thing to start out with, a comprehensive estate plan will contain much more. Trusts can ensure assets are kept out of probate, and there is a wide variety of trusts that can be used to accomplish any number of goals. In addition, people will want to consider executing a power of attorney, a health care directive and even a living will. These documents will give a person a say in who will make medical and financial decisions should they become incapacitated, and what their desires are for medical treatment should they become incapacitated.

Some people may not be aware of just how much they can accomplish through estate planning. An estate plan can be as detailed as they like, taking into account many of life's contingencies. You've worked hard all your life to secure your assets, so it's important to see that these assets are passed on in a manner that you'd like.

Source: WTOP, "Estate planning: How to keep your money in your family," Sarah Beth Hensley, March 28, 2018

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