Using estate plans

North Carolina residents may point to the management of taxes as the main motive for creating an estate plan. However, there are multiple other reasons why they should consider estate planning.

An estate plan that is properly developed can help an estate avoid probate. This process can be time-consuming and expensive and will cause the details of an estate to be part of the public record. In order to maintain the privacy of their estates, individuals may include revocable trusts as part of their plans while they are still alive to prevent details of their estates from being disclosed.

In some cases, individuals may not want their heirs to immediately obtain their inheritances. There may be concerns about whether the beneficiaries may be equipped to responsibly handle their large inheritances. In these cases, trusts can ensure that the assets intended for beneficiaries are distributed in a manner according to the wishes of the decedent.

Trusts are also ideal tools for protecting assets. For example, individuals may be concerned that the assets they bequeath to their children may be seized by creditors, like a divorcing spouse. A trust can be used to protect the assets from the claims of creditors by having an independent trustee oversee the distribution of the assets.

People who have charitable causes that they hold dear can also use estate planning. They can work with an attorney to determine how much of their assets may be best suited for their charitable endeavors.

An estate planning attorney may advise clients about which types of trusts should be included in their estate plans to make sure their assets are administered according to their wishes upon their death. A lawyer may assist with drafting the provisions of revocable living trusts and charitable trusts.