Kirra McElhenney

Oct 132015

A trust is a crucial part of a well-crafted estate plan. Trusts allow a third party, known as the trustee, to hold and have control over assets in the trust for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries. Based on your needs, a trust can be a fairly straightforward document, holding a few pieces of real property or a bank account, or may be more complex, holding business interests, intellectual property, security accounts and real estate. An experienced attorney can draft a QTIP trust to provide income for a surviving spouse, a charitable lead or remainder trust to benefit a cause you hold dear, or trusts for your grandchildren that avoid certain taxes and shift future appreciation on certain assets to your children during your lifetime. There are many benefits to having a trust in your estate plan, but here are two main ones:

Avoidance of Probate: People may want to avoid the lengthy and costly process of probate for several reasons. First, probate proceedings are a matter of public record. A properly drafted trust allows assets contained in the trust to remain private and pass outside of the court system of probate. Second, the probate process may tie up assets for any length of time, from a minimum of three months to the possibility of years, if there is any dispute in the estate administration.

Control of Wealth: You are in control of how, when, and to whom your assets will be distributed from the trust. You may choose to keep assets in your trust during your lifetime and maintain access to those assets, or you may choose to form a trust to benefit your heirs for years to come. With a properly drafted trust, you’re even able to protect your legacy from the creditors of your heirs.

When you’ve worked hard for what you have, you want to make sure it stays protected. Formation and funding of a trust is an intricate process, so it is always best to seek the expertise of an experienced estate attorney. Contact us at Ourednik Law Offices today for more information.

Oct 072015

Asset protection, in essence, is organizing your property in a manner that protects it from a potential lawsuit. Business entities such as corporations and limited partnerships, as well as estate planning devices like trusts, all exist to safeguard assets against the reach of a possible plaintiff. A good asset protection plan will not protect property from legitimate claims of debts owed. Contrary to popular belief, one cannot incur debts and then place them in an asset protection mechanism, expecting them to be absolutely protected from creditor claims. However, when little or no assets are within reach of a judgment, that More…

Sep 082015

What happens if you own real estate in a state in which you do not live? If you own a second home, rental property, or any other real property out of state (even time shares), it is very likely that you will be involved in a probate proceeding in each such state.  This process is called ancillary probate. Ancillary probate costs your estate more money and impedes the probate process. Additionally, an ancillary probate administration may thwart some of your currently established estate planning goals. There are ways, however, to organize your estate, including your out of state properties, to More…

Aug 272015

Many people think they can avoid the probate of an estate if their deceased loved one had a Last Will and Testament. This is a common misconception. A will is a set of directions by the deceased on how they want their estate to be distributed. Probate is the legal processes where a deceased person’s affairs are managed in an organized manner to ensure that all legitimate debts are paid, burial expenses are taken care of, and the remaining assets are transferred to the beneficiaries according to the will or via intestacy. 

Aug 132015
Considering a Do-It-Yourself Will?

When clients visit our office to discuss the prospect of having a will drafted, the topic of online legal services often arise. Clients want to know if the cost savings are worth it. Sure, it costs less to use a document created by a website, but is it truly worth it? The 2014 Florida Supreme Court case, Aldrich v. Basile, provides a cautionary tale. In 2004, Ann Aldrich drafted her will with an “E-Z Legal Form.” After her intended beneficiary predeceased her (and left all of her assets to Ann), she attempted to add an addendum to her will, leaving More…