Give Thanks This Year with an Up-to-Date Estate Plan

Your Legacy: How Do You Want to Be Remembered? 

As Thomas Campbell, physicist and the author of My Big TOE, once said, “To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.” When we lose a loved one, we often have memories of special events and occasions, support they provided us, or specific qualities of that person we will never forget. An epitaph, by definition, is a brief phrase or sentence expressing a sentiment, often inscribed on a tombstone. Epitaph Day is a symbolic event dedicated to the contemplation and creation of our desired epitaphs. It is a gentle and meaningful reminder of the impermanent nature of life and the importance of having a plan for the future.  

An Estate Plan Can Help You Be Remembered

In the rush and routine of daily life, it can be easy to postpone essential matters like estate planning. Although Epitaph Day has recently passed, now is a great opportunity for you to pause and consider the importance of ensuring that your wishes, the things you own, and your legacies are handled according to your preferences after your departure from this world. You may be surprised to learn more about the ways that you can incorporate your own desired epitaph into the planning process. 

A Trust Can Help You Guide Your Loved Ones

While it is true that a trust is a valuable estate planning tool, it is much more than that. A trust can memorialize your values and aspirations for your loved ones. By incorporating provisions that incentivize your beneficiaries to pursue an education, hone a new craft, contribute to the community through volunteering, or even embark on entrepreneurial ventures, you can craft a legacy of encouragement, motivation, and support. Your trust can become a continuation of your presence, guiding your beneficiaries in ways that align with your wishes and vision for their future. 

A Trust Keeps You Part of Memorable Experiences

For those who cherish experiences and the creation of lasting memories, it can be invaluable to incorporate clauses within your trust that allocate money specifically for ventures like traveling, exploring new places, or even family reunions and celebrations of important events. These provisions not only facilitate experiences but also foster a deeper connection, ensuring that your family bonds remain strong even in your absence. 

A Trust Can Provide Monetary Support

Your estate plan is a powerful tool that can reflect your dedication and commitment to the well-being and success of your loved ones. If you have financially supported others in your lifetime, your estate plan offers you an opportunity to define and detail the nature and extent of your continued monetary support. Through meticulous planning, you can be remembered not just for the wealth you have accumulated but also for the love, care, and foresight indicated by your plan. 

Now Is the Perfect Time to Start Planning

Epitaph Day creates an opportunity for you to proactively engage in the estate planning process and provide yourself with both peace of mind as well as clarity and ease for your loved ones in the future. This can help ensure that your desires, whether about asset distribution, funeral arrangements, or messages to your loved ones, are clearly articulated and legally secure. 

Let us help you embark on the crucial journey of estate planning, ensuring that your legacy is honored and that your loved ones are spared unnecessary difficulties in honoring your life and wishes for the future. 

The Real Story Behind Trust Fund Kids 

When we hear the phrase “trust fund kid,” words like “entitled,” “privileged,” and “financially irresponsible” might come to mind. But another word we should associate with “trust fund kid” is “protected.” 

What Is a Trust Fund Kid?

According to a Forbes article published in 2021 about trust fund kids, three of the most common misconceptions are that trust fund kids all come from ridiculously rich families, they have it easy, and everyone who has serious money must have a trust fund. While these misconceptions may apply to some trust fund kids, it does not apply to the majority. The reality is that a trust fund kid does not necessarily live a life filled with lavish trips, designer clothes, and expensive cars—they are simply a young beneficiary of a trust. When most people hear the word “trust,” they envision an endless pot of money freely accessible to the beneficiary. Trusts are created for a variety of reasons, however, and are not just planning tools that benefit the ultrawealthy. 

Why Do Trust Fund Kids Have Such a Bad Reputation? 

This bad reputation stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of trusts and the benefits they can provide. The existence of a trust often indicates that an individual has taken the time to plan for the future of their children or loved ones, and instead of deciding to leave money to these individuals outright with no protections or conditions, they have decided to protect those funds. Whether the amount held in trust is millions of dollars or far less, trusts can be structured to ensure that the money lasts, is used for specific purposes, or even is held for the future benefit of children or loved ones. Added benefits of utilizing a trust are privacy, as trusts are not usually filed with a court and therefore are not subject to the public eye, and avoiding the probate process, which in some cases can be costly and time-consuming. 

Preventing the Negative Consequences

Limit Control

After learning more about the real story behind trust fund kids, you may be curious and want to explore the positive ways a trust could benefit your own children or loved ones. To avoid the negative stereotypes surrounding trust fund kids, you will want to consider how much control you would want them to have over their own trust. Granting too much control could lead to uncontrolled spending or unreasonable purchases. 

Make Your Beneficiary Earn Their Inheritance

You may want to avoid the perception that your children or loved ones have it easy and should therefore consider building in provisions that will require them to “earn” portions of their trust. This structure can incentivize your children or loved ones to achieve more by reaching certain milestones such as completing postsecondary education, finishing trade school, serving in the military, or starting a business. You can elect to have the trustee purchase certain assets, such as a home, in the name of the trust to ensure that the assets are provided to your children or loved ones, while the trustee is responsible for ensuring that they are properly maintained and not sold on a whim. 

Consider Loans Instead of Outright Gifts

You have worked hard to build your wealth and want to leave protected funds that can benefit your children or loved ones in a different way. There are many wealthy individuals who do not want to leave money to their children or loved ones because they believe it may disincentivize them to pave their own way. As it is, the majority of young adults do not have the ability to obtain financing with favorable terms on their own. For those of you who want to provide a more conservative form of support, you can allow your trust to provide favorable loans to your children or grandchildren that they will have to pay back with interest, allowing the principal to grow for future generations. 

We Can Help You Avoid the Downsides of a Trust Fund Kid

Although being a trust fund kid often has negative connotations, by working with an experienced estate planning attorney and exploring the positive aspects, you may want to make your own children or loved ones trust fund kids. We can help educate you further about how a trust can benefit you, protect your children and loved ones, and provide a way to support them in the future. 

Assembling Your Own (Estate Planning) Team

Some of us may enjoy games like fantasy football that allow us to assemble our own star team with the players we think will provide the most value. While fantasy football is fun to participate in, have you ever given thought to the importance of establishing your own dream team? Just like in fantasy football, each player has their own strengths and addresses a different part of the game that leads to the team’s overall success. Consequently, it is no secret that having a solid team of quality professionals allows us to ensure that all aspects of our future can be planned for. It can take an entire team, all with different strengths, to successfully plan for life’s foreseen and unforeseen events. Working with quality professionals enables you to ensure that you are creating the best possible comprehensive plan and that it is done the right way.

With a proper team of professionals, you can feel secure, knowing that all facets of your future are being considered when your team collectively strategizes the best structure to adequately address your finances, family dynamics, business ownership, insurance needs, and tax considerations, all while achieving the end goal of promoting family harmony.

Who Should Be on Your Team?

Estate Planning Attorney

In the intricate game of estate and legacy planning, an estate planning attorney often assumes a role similar to that of the quarterback, directing and coordinating the team’s strategies to achieve your desired outcomes. Their expertise allows them to create a plan that ensures that your money and property are protected, your loved ones are provided for, and your wishes are upheld, even beyond your lifetime. Our role is not limited to establishing wills and trusts—we have the ability to foresee common challenges, preserve family harmony, and ensure seamless transitions during life’s unpredictable events through comprehensive planning. Just as the quarterback anticipates opponents’ moves and directs the team accordingly, we can foresee legal challenges and ensure that all components of your plan for the future work harmoniously. 

Financial Advisor

Engaging a financial advisor as part of your team can be an investment in clarity and strategic financial management and growth. With the ever-changing economic landscape, navigating the financial realm can be daunting for both novices and more seasoned investors alike. A financial advisor can utilize their expertise to tailor strategies that align with your unique situation and future goals. Having a financial expert dedicated to your financial well-being allows for a proactive approach to wealth management, ensuring that potential opportunities are optimized and pitfalls are avoided. In essence, a financial advisor is not just a valuable team member but a cornerstone for a sound financial future, helping you build, preserve, and optimize your wealth for success.

Insurance Agent

Enlisting an insurance agent as part of your team is important to protect you and your loved ones against unforeseen events. An adept insurance agent can help you navigate which insurance is most appropriate to ensure that you are protected and prepared. Insurance agents can often use their industry experience to tailor recommendations based on your specific needs and circumstances. Beyond assisting you in selecting appropriate policies, a good insurance agent can help educate you about your coverage and explain sometimes complicated policy terminology. In a world filled with uncertainties, an insurance agent is a valuable team member, helping you strategically secure not only your accounts and property but also your peace of mind.

Tax Professional or Certified Public Accountant

Incorporating a tax professional or certified public accountant (CPA) into your team is a strategic move to ensure financial prudence and compliance. The complexities of tax codes, regulations, and deductions can be overwhelming, and even minor oversights can result in significant financial implications or potential penalties. A seasoned tax professional or CPA does not simply crunch numbers; they provide invaluable counsel, leveraging their expertise to optimize tax strategies, identify potential savings, and ensure accurate and timely filings. Beyond your annual tax needs, a tax professional or CPA can offer you year-round guidance, helping both individuals and businesses make informed decisions that align with both immediate needs and long-term goals. Ultimately, a tax professional or CPA is your safeguard against costly mistakes and the team member that can help protect your financial health. 

Spiritual Advisor

A spiritual advisor has the potential to serve as your team’s anchor amid life’s chaos. They can offer you guidance on important questions and inner challenges, helping you navigate the world and connect with deeper purposes. In a world that can often be focused on material pursuits, your spiritual advisor can help realign your focus with core values and holistic well-being.

Business Advisor

Lastly, a business advisor can serve as a valuable team member. In the complex world of business, where the market and strategies are consistently evolving, this team member can bring a wealth of expertise, fresh perspective, and objective analysis to your business. Their insight can serve to protect your business from costly mistakes and help formulate strategic plans that align with your business’s short- and long-term goals. Overall, a business advisor can ensure that your business is properly structured and optimized for success.

We Can Help

You may have already assembled your dream team, or there may be positions that still need to be filled. We are happy to assist you with your estate planning needs and provide you with referrals to quality professionals to finalize your team. 

Estate Planning Awareness Week Is Almost Here

Top 3 Reasons You Need an Up-to-Date Estate Plan

Although we live in a world where information is easily accessible through the internet, there are still many misconceptions surrounding estate planning. Most of us do not dedicate our time to learning more about topics like estate planning, because we may not know that we need an estate plan or realize the benefits associated with having one. There are some common beliefs you may have about estate planning that may be inaccurate: that having a will avoids probate, being married means everything a spouse owns goes to their surviving spouse, and a person does not need an estate plan if they own few assets. Education on the importance of an estate plan is key to saving the time, money, and heartache that can be associated with lack of planning. Take the time to understand the importance of having an up-to-date estate plan and learn how it not only contemplates what happens after your death, but also protects you and your loved ones if you become incapacitated. 

While there are many reasons to establish and update an estate plan, we are going to focus on three.

Reason # 1: An estate plan lets your loved ones know what you want.

People tend to avoid thinking about death and dying and do not discuss these topics with their loved ones. While these topics often evoke strong emotions, it can be important to discuss with your loved ones several aspects of what you want to happen after you die. They may not know what steps to take when faced with loss and grief over your death. You should provide the important people in your life with up-to-date guidance through your estate plan, and in turn reduce any confusion or additional stress following your death. This is especially important if you have had any major changes in your life such as the birth or death of a loved one.

By having an up-to-date, comprehensive estate plan, you can decide and communicate what you want to happen with your money and property, but also make important decisions regarding the care of your minor children and pets and your own final arrangements. There are many benefits of conveying your wishes to your family through an up-to-date estate plan. There may also be appropriate strategies and documents for your particular family structure that you may not be aware of that can provide you and your loved ones with extensive benefits.  

Reason # 2: An estate plan is a legally enforceable way to carry out your wishes.

You may think you do not need to memorialize your decisions about what will happen to your property after you die because you are confident that your loved ones will follow your wishes. However, it is hard to predict what will happen in the future, and when faced with financial difficulties, your loved ones may act differently than how you had hoped. For example, while you may think that adding a child to the title of your real property or bank accounts will protect you in the event of incapacity and avoid probate, doing so creates significant risks. Adding a child to your property grants them an ownership interest in that property, and when you die, your child will be the sole owner and can do whatever they want with that property. This could result in your child preventing siblings or other intended beneficiaries from sharing money or property after your death without recourse. Keep in mind that a child may do this out of what they perceive as necessity due to financial struggles or other issues. While this is only one scenario, this is an example as to why creating an enforceable estate plan with an experienced estate planning attorney will make sure that all you have worked so hard for will end up going to who you want without conflict. 

Reason # 3: You get to choose what happens.

You may be hesitant to meet with an estate planning attorney to establish or update your estate plan for a variety of reasons, including a lack of education on the benefits of up-to-date estate planning. It is important to know that if you do not create your own plan or if your estate plan does not cover everything, the state has its own plan. The default estate plan, known as a state’s intestate statute, that controls the distribution of your money and property may not align with your wishes. The state’s plan will not take into consideration your unique relationships and family structure. If you are part of a blended family, a parent of minor children, a business owner, or part of an unmarried couple, you should strongly consider the consequences of not establishing a plan. 

An estate plan can protect you from the consequences of incapacity that can occur as a result of an accident, injury, or illness. Without a plan, you could be faced with a court-supervised conservatorship or guardianship, in which the court will delegate the control of your person and property to a person whom you may not have chosen or would not want to serve in this capacity. As part of your estate plan, you can choose who can act on your behalf in the event of incapacity and avoid court involvement and the difficulties associated with it. However, it is important that you review your documents periodically to make sure that the people you have chosen to make sensitive decisions for you are still the people you want to do so.

Everyone should have a choice in their future. A qualified estate planning attorney can help you create a plan that illustrates your wishes. If you or your loved ones have any questions about creating or updating an estate plan, please give us a call.

Estate Planning Roll Call: Important Legal Tools You Should Have

As with any roll call, it is important to make sure that everyone is present and accounted for. Similarly, when assessing an estate plan, several legal tools, or documents, should be in attendance to accomplish the goal of a complete and comprehensive plan. You have likely heard the term estate planning, but you may not be familiar with which legal tools typically comprise a complete estate plan. We want to teach you about the legal tools that should be included in your plan and what benefits and protections each legal tool can provide.  

Will or Revocable Living Trust

As with many other structures, a well-rounded estate plan must be built on a solid foundation. To establish a foundation for an estate plan, the use of either a will or a revocable living trust (trust) is necessary. Wills and trusts are legal tools designed to direct and control the distribution of money and property that you own. While a will can only provide direction at death, a trust has the added benefit of providing direction in the event of your incapacity during your lifetime, as well as upon your death. Consequently, there are multiple considerations that go into whether using a will or trust as a foundational tool makes the most sense for your situation. 


A will as a foundational legal tool often requires that your property go through the probate process upon your death, although certain accounts and property can be transferred outside of probate through the use of beneficiary designations or if the account or property is jointly owned with a right of survivorship. Probate is the court-supervised process in which everything you own is transferred to your loved ones (also known as beneficiaries, or heirs if you do not have a will) at your death. In your will, you elect an individual to be in control of carrying out your wishes and state who gets your accounts and property at your death. This person is commonly known as the executor, executrix, or personal representative. Prior to being able to carry out your wishes, they must be formally appointed by the probate court. It should be noted that some states have restrictions on who can serve in the role of executor, executrix, or personal representative. It is very important that you meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to understand who to elect to serve in this role, as choosing the wrong individual can result in unnecessary delays.  


Alternatively, the use of a trust as a foundational estate planning tool can allow you to avoid the probate process. However, a trust can only avoid probate when bank accounts and property that you own are retitled (also called funded) into the trust prior to your death or transferred to your trust at your death. Additionally, trusts have the added benefit of protecting your accounts and property that are part of the trust if you become unable to manage your own affairs. 

You may be surprised to find out that even when utilizing a trust as a foundational legal tool, you still need a will. The type of will used in conjunction with a trust differs from a standalone will. Instead, a pour-over will is used, which essentially “pours” into the trust any accounts or property that were not titled in the trust at the time of your death. While a pour-over will ensures that accounts and property not funded into your trust during your lifetime are funded at your death, it also provides other essential benefits. A will allows you to nominate a guardian for your minor children and pets and direct your funeral arrangements (in some states). 

A testamentary trust is another tool that may be appropriate for you in certain circumstances. The terms of the trust are stated in a will during your lifetime and the trust is created upon your death. Like with a revocable living trust, you can customize the provisions that control the distribution of money and property through the trusts. However, this type of trust is created during the probate process.

There are a variety of considerations that go into whether a will or trust is the right foundational tool, which is why it is best to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney to help ensure you choose the right one for your unique situation. 

Financial Power of Attorney

You have likely heard the term power of attorney before. However, you may not realize that each financial power of attorney and the level and type of authority granted within it varies based on its contents. These legal tools can often be customized to accomplish specific goals, but may have some limitations depending on state law. It is helpful to first understand the roles within a financial power of attorney. The person who creates it is known as the principal, and the person who receives the authority through it is the agent. An agent’s role is to act as a fiduciary and on behalf of the principal for a variety of purposes. 

Under a limited power of attorney, the agent is limited to performing very specific duties, such as executing a deed for a real estate transaction or transferring a vehicle. On the contrary, a general power of attorney allows the agent to step into the principal’s shoes and manage almost all aspects of their finances and property ownership to the extent of what is allowable under state law.

A financial power of attorney can take effect immediately (or as soon as the agent has officially accepted the role) or it can be springing. A springing power of attorney requires that a certain event occur before the agent can exercise their power. This is usually upon the declaration that the principal can no longer act for themselves. It is important to note that not all states allow for a springing power of attorney.

Lastly, there is a durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney lasts through the principal’s incapacity, making it crucial for being able to grant someone authority to act for you if you cannot act for yourself. 

Medical Power of Attorney

Our health and the way we manage it is largely dependent on our own beliefs and preferences. If you are unable to make your own medical decisions, you would likely want to make sure that the person making them for you is someone that you trust and who would follow your wishes. To have this control, your estate plan should include a medical power of attorney. A medical power of attorney is known by several names depending on what state you are in, such as a healthcare power of attorney or a designation of health care surrogate. You will designate an agent and several backup agents in your medical power of attorney to act on your behalf if your first choice is unavailable. You may be able to choose to delay the effect of the authority granted until incapacity if your state’s law allows. 

Advance Directive

A comprehensive estate plan will also include an advance healthcare directive, also commonly known as a living will. An advance directive serves the important purpose of allowing you to decide what forms of end-of-life care you would like. Within this legal tool, you can memorialize your wishes as it relates to being placed on life support if you are in a persistent vegetative state or diagnosed with a terminal illness with no probable chance of recovery. This legal tool is commonly confused with a do not resuscitate order, which is not part of an estate plan and instead is typically filled out at the hospital and applies specifically to resuscitation. 


Health Insurance and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) authorizations allow an individual to designate who the hospital or medical facilities can provide medical records and information to. These authorization forms became necessary following the enactment of the federal Health Insurance and Accountability Act of 1996, which provides guidelines to the healthcare industry for the protection of patient information. This is an important legal tool to have if you have multiple individuals who are not nominated under your medical power of attorney that you would like to have access to your medical information in the event of illness or injury. While these individuals will not have decision-making authority, they will be able to stay informed about your medical condition. 

Appointment of Guardian

Planning for children is a high priority for parents. There are some states that have a separate legal tool for naming guardians of minor children. While a lot of states allow you to include this information in your will, it is important for you to meet with an estate planning attorney who can create a standalone tool if it is appropriate within your state of residence. 

Temporary Guardianship or Delegation of Parental Powers 

There are circumstances in which you may not be able to be with your children, commonly due to extended travel. This can be an appropriate circumstance for you to name a temporary legal guardian to make decisions on behalf of your minor child while you are unable to do so. There are state-specific guidelines for the length of temporary guardianships in addition to other limitations as to how and what decisions can be delegated to another individual. 

Roll call complete! Now that you have learned more about what tools should be present in your estate plan, you can ensure that you have all of the essentials in attendance when you begin the estate planning process. 

Do Not Become a Statistic 

Estate planning is important for everyone. It is about protecting yourself, your loved ones, and your hard-earned money (even if you do not have a lot of it). However, the numbers do not lie: most people do not see the importance of estate planning. Whether you need to create an estate plan or update an existing one, do not put it off. The following are some scary statistics about the average American and estate plans. We are committed to working with our clients to make sure they do not become a statistic.

Most People Do Not Have a Will or Trust

Only one in three Americans have a will or trust. This statistic is not surprising due to the amount of misinformation and fear around establishing an estate plan. One in three Americans who do not have a will or trust believe they do not have enough money or property to justify having an estate plan. The belief that estate planning is only for the wealthy is just one reason people put off planning; other reasons include being too busy, viewing it as too complicated or expensive, or fear of discussing death. While these may all be valid reasons, the benefits of planning far outweigh delaying the process. 

People Do Not Always Tell Others That They Have an Estate Plan

Some people may not see the point in discussing death with their loved ones, but having this difficult discussion can serve several purposes. Surprisingly, 52 percent of people do not know where their parents keep their estate planning documents, and only 46 percent of executors are aware that they are named in someone’s will. It is important to discuss with your loved ones where your important documents are stored, as they may need to access your original documents for multiple reasons. Additionally, when establishing or updating a plan, you must tell the individuals named in your documents that they have been chosen to serve in these roles. These discussions should focus on what their responsibilities are and highlight your wishes. Some estate planning attorneys offer family meetings after creating an estate plan to educate the individuals named in your plan on the roles they will play. 

Conflicts Are Common

According to a survey conducted by LegalShield, 58 percent of adults in the United States say they or someone they know have experienced familial conflicts due to not having an estate plan or a will. Conflicts can arise from a lack of proper planning. Often these conflicts are related to arguments over how accounts and property should be distributed after a loved one’s passing. You should work with an experienced estate planning attorney to assist in establishing a plan that will reduce family conflicts and disagreements that could end in estrangement. 

Now Is the Right Time to Create or Update Your Plan

Proper planning has always been important. American retirees expect to transfer more than $36 trillion to their families, friends, nonprofits, and additional beneficiaries over the next 30 years. This figure indicates an increased need to have a comprehensive financial and estate plan. Now is the time to set your fears aside and begin or continue the planning process so that you can avoid becoming an estate planning statistic. If you or your loved ones have questions about creating or updating your estate plan, please give us a call.

Hunger Action Month 

September is recognized as Hunger Action Month, originally established by Feeding America in 2008. Hunger Action Month is an annual nationwide campaign that occurs each September to raise awareness about hunger in America and inspire action. According to the USDA, more than 34 million people, including 9 million children, are food insecure. Food insecurity is defined by the USDA as “a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life.” Sadly, the pandemic increased this issue among families with children and communities of color. Consequently, food insecurity has a wide impact, contributing to serious health issues and lack of nutrition for young children and forcing families to choose between food, rent, medicine, healthcare, and transportation. 

Numerous methods exist to contribute to the mission of eradicating hunger in the United States. You should meet with a qualified estate planning attorney to learn more about supporting charitable causes by incorporating charitable planning structures into your estate plan. If you wish to make meaningful charitable contributions, you may not be fully aware of the diverse opportunities and tax advantages possible through this type of planning. Among various other strategies, two commonly used trusts are the charitable remainder trust and the charitable lead trust, each offering multiple tax benefits while supporting important causes.

A charitable remainder trust is an irrevocable trust that is tax-exempt at the trust level and designed to allow for a partial charitable tax deduction. This trust structure works well when funding an account or property that has grown in value over the years (i.e., low-basis assets). Once the account or property is funded into the trust, the account is liquidated or property is sold, and the money is invested to ultimately produce a stream of income. The sale avoids capital gains tax at the trust level because the trust is liquidating the account or selling the property. However, the noncharitable recipient of the income stream will be responsible for any income tax on the distributions. This structure allows you to maintain the benefit by receiving distributions annually for a term of years, and at the end of the term, the charity you have designated will receive the remaining funds or property. Also, you are able to remove further appreciation from your estate.

A charitable lead trust is similar in that this irrevocable trust is funded with property or accounts that have grown in value, but it differs in that the charity receives the income stream for a term of years, and at the end of the term, the beneficiaries you have chosen will receive the remaining funds or property. With a charitable lead trust, you or the trust (depending on the type of charitable lead trust created) will pay the income tax, but you will receive a tax deduction at either the beginning or end of the trust depending on the type of charitable lead trust used. While these structures can provide valuable benefits to the parties and organizations involved, you may not feel that they fit within your current charitable goals. 

You may be eager to support the crucial goal of ending hunger but may not have the ability or inclination to engage in complex charitable planning at this time. However, there are still incredibly meaningful ways for you to contribute to this vital cause. One approach is by making lifetime financial donations to local food banks, Feeding America, or other charitable organizations actively working to fight hunger. If lifetime gifting is not an option, you can leave a one-time gift at your death through your estate plan to local food banks, soup kitchens, or other organizations fighting to end hunger. 

Moreover, actively participating in volunteer activities at local food banks or soup kitchens can be a rewarding and enlightening way to directly support the mission of ending hunger. You can play an essential role in tackling this issue by engaging on the front lines and dedicating your time and effort to these local organizations. In addition, involving your children or grandchildren in volunteer activities can foster a sense of responsibility and compassion for this important cause, creating a charitable legacy of giving that could span generations. 

You have the ability to support charitable causes through estate planning, donations, and volunteering, which are all meaningful ways to contribute to ending hunger in the United States. By learning more about the opportunities and associated benefits with charitable planning, you can make a positive impact on society while receiving valuable tax benefits. 

If you are interested in learning more about charitable giving and how it can be incorporated into your estate plan, give us a call to schedule an appointment.

Use National Self-Care Month to Care for Your Future

September is National Self-Care Awareness Month. The purpose of this observance is to raise awareness about the importance of regular self-care. What constitutes self-care can vary widely depending on who you are speaking to. Regardless of the exact definition, taking actions to prioritize self-care is essential to overall emotional and physical well-being and should be prioritized. You likely have an idea of what defines self-care and what self-care means to you, but you may be surprised to hear you could be missing the full picture.

Self-care is not a term that can be limited to one definition. Achieving self-care varies depending on the individual and their current needs and circumstances. To one individual, self-care could be scheduling a day full of pampering, from pedicures to shopping for new clothes, while to another, self-care could include going for a run, visiting a therapist, and having a family dinner. The importance of self-care hinges on taking actions to ensure mental and physical well-being. It is important to acknowledge that self-care takes many forms, including valuable and impactful actions you may have overlooked.  

While it is natural to include in the definition of self-care tasks that address an immediate need or want, we should also include tasks that can provide us with peace of mind for the future. You may be avoiding taking steps to plan for the future out of fear and uncertainty. Your fear likely stems from not knowing where to start and how to solve potential future problems. You may share common fears that many of us have, such as not having saved enough, not being able to retire when you would like, not being fully protected in the event of disability, or your loved ones not being fully protected in the event of your death. Luckily, you are not alone and can take steps to reduce your fear and anxiety by working with a professional who can address your concerns and create a well-rounded plan. One step in your journey toward self-care is to meet with a financial advisor and discuss your current monthly expenses and how much you should have in savings for an emergency, your retirement goals and how much you should be contributing currently, and how much you should maintain in both life insurance and disability insurance to adequately plan for death and disability. 

You should also meet with an estate planning professional, who can help ease your mind about the future by talking through the best ways to protect yourself and your loved ones in the event of injury, illness, or death. We can help you understand what will happen if you are injured and unable to make your own decisions. You will have to carefully consider whom you would want to designate to make both your financial and medical decisions if you are unable to do so yourself. If you are married, you might choose to name your spouse and additional individuals who could act if your spouse cannot. If you are not married, you might choose an adult child or trusted friend, as well as additional individuals to act in the event your first choice cannot. 

For financial decisions, you should consider what characteristics are important to you in deciding who would manage your finances. You may seek to appoint an individual who is financially prudent, trustworthy, and level-headed. Once the decision is made as to who should serve, a financial power of attorney should be created to memorialize this decision and give it legal effect. A financial power of attorney can grant varying degrees of authority to the individual you select. Individualized provisions may need to be included if you are a business owner, anticipate the need to apply for governmental benefits such as Medicaid, or are utilizing a trust as part of your estate plan. 

For medical decisions, you may want to choose an individual who is comfortable with medical decision-making, is dependable, and will honor your wishes. Creating a designation of healthcare surrogate or medical power of attorney will grant the individual you choose the necessary legal authority to make medical decisions in the event you are unable to do so. You may name the same individual to make financial and medical decisions for you, but you should carefully consider the characteristics that matter the most to you when appointing individuals to act on your behalf. Your attorney will likely discuss with you what level of life-sustaining care you would like to receive if you are diagnosed with an end-stage medical condition or terminal illness or are in a persistent vegetative state. Your decisions will be reflected within a living will or advance directive. While making these decisions can be difficult, creating a living will can ease the burden caused by tasking a loved one with these choices. Lastly, a HIPAA designation can also be created to allow you to designate who should have access to your medical information. While creating a comprehensive estate plan may result in difficult and uncomfortable conversations, it allows you to make decisions proactively rather than in the midst of a crisis. Ultimately this process can provide you with peace of mind by removing the lingering uncertainties that can accompany common fears of future events. 

Uncertainty about what will happen to you or your loved ones in the event of severe injury, illness, or death can contribute to a less-than-ideal mental state. You should prioritize your own self-care by facing these issues head-on and allowing yourself to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with creating a plan. Remember that you are not alone, and there are financial and estate planning professionals who can assist you in answering these questions proactively and implementing a plan, which we believe truly embraces the spirit of Self-Care Awareness month.  

If you are interested in learning more about estate planning and how it can provide you and your loved ones with peace of mind, give us a call to schedule an appointment.

Celebrating the Upcoming Holidays with an Up-to-Date Estate Plan

National Grandparents Day: Three Things to Consider Before You Make a Gift to Grandchildren

As grandparents, you likely love the opportunity to shower your grandchildren with gifts. In most cases, these gifts are given on holidays and birthdays and commonly consist of an item that may have been at the top of your grandchild’s wish list. While experiencing the joy on your grandchild’s face when they open a new doll or new race car is immeasurable, it is not uncommon to want to leave more substantial and meaningful gifts to your grandchildren. Christmas and birthday gifts can leave lasting impressions on your grandchildren, but you may want to provide them with a gift that can assist them in building a savings account, furthering their education, or purchasing their first home, to name just a few. We hope this information will assist you in analyzing the important details of making a gift that can often be overlooked. 

  1. When do you want to make a gift?  

When considering making a financial gift to your grandchildren, the first crucial decision is when to give them this gift. Various factors may influence your choice of timing. If your grandchildren are slightly older and are exploring college options, you might consider gifting them funds to assist with their chosen educational path. Similarly, if you have adult grandchildren preparing to buy a home, planning a wedding, or expecting their first child, you may wish to offer them a monetary gift sooner rather than later to support these significant life moments. Making a gift during your lifetime allows you to witness the impact it will have on the recipients, which can be incredibly rewarding and meaningful. 

However, there are instances where a gift given after your passing can carry equal significance. If you have younger grandchildren, planning for their postsecondary education, purchasing their first home, or starting their own business may be in the distant future. In cases such as these, you may feel more comfortable leaving money to your grandchild at your death since their need is not immediate. Your gift, although delayed, can still help support their future, it can provide them with much-needed financial assistance, and ultimately, it will leave them with a lasting memory of your love and generosity. 

  1. Can you afford to leave a gift to them?  

If you have not already, consider meeting with a financial advisor to help you develop long-term plans that align with your financial goals and take into consideration the ever-changing costs of living. A responsible advisor will likely perform an analysis of your current financial situation, along with your goals for the future, and help you determine the best methods to prepare for your financial future. This may involve your advisor recommending that you not take certain risks or make any considerable gifts. 

If it is your desire to leave a gift to your grandchildren, you will need to assess if it fits within your current financial capabilities. Planning for your future requires careful consideration of the potential costs for care, especially if more substantial or institutionalized medical or long-term care becomes necessary. The Administration on Aging estimates that at least 70 percent of people who are 65 today will require care in some context. Notably, the national median annual costs for nursing home care in 2023 have risen to approximately $108,405 for a private room, compared to $92,376 in 2016. The average length of stay in long-term care is 3.2 years. Just over 20 percent of residents will require care for 5 years or longer. For those who are currently married, it becomes essential to not only thoughtfully weigh your own current and future needs, but also those of your spouse. With the rising costs of care, you must consider whether your surviving spouse will need to rely on your remaining funds for their livelihood. 

While your intentions to provide a significant gift to your grandchildren are admirable, it may not always be practical or feasible given your current and future financial situation. If you wish to create a plan that includes a gift for your grandchildren, consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney is recommended. Together, you can devise a well-crafted plan that ensures that the gift is made when both you are no longer living, if funds are available. This way, you can better align your intentions with your financial circumstances, which ultimately safeguards your family’s future

  1. What impact will the gift have? 

Lastly, you should consider both the potential positive and negative aspects of gifting to your grandchildren. Gifting to a grandchild and the gift’s subsequent impact may depend largely on your goals in making the gift. As it is, giving your grandchildren monetary gifts can enable you to provide them with opportunities that may not have been available to you earlier in life. Gifting can allow your grandchildren to have new experiences, build a nest egg, and invest in their future. Ultimately, these gifts can result in a profound and lasting impact on your grandchildren’s future. 

On the other hand, depending on how the gift is structured, it could impact your grandchild’s ability to receive assistance with education by impacting the amount of assets required to be listed on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In some cases, providing a large sum of money to a child or young adult can have the negative consequence of disincentivizing them to obtain or maintain employment or continue or complete their education. Large gifts can provide a false sense of financial security and result in excessive or irresponsible spending habits. 

You should carefully consider the potential unintended consequences of gifting. Luckily, most negative effects can be mitigated by working with an experienced estate planning attorney who can create a strategic plan to leave an inheritance while avoiding potential pitfalls of gifting.

If you would like to gift money or property to your grandchildren in a way that is protected and has a lasting impact, give us a call so we can help you plan the perfect approach.

Back to School: Time to Protect Your Child’s Future

Personal Guidance from beyond the Grave 

Life can get hectic for parents when the school year starts. Parents often juggle many different responsibilities, which increase with the number of children they have and activities the children participate in. Most parents feel like they need to be in five places at once! 

As a parent, you have likely pictured what your child’s future will look like, but how many times have you considered what would happen if you were unable to be a part of their future? This is a sad thought to consider for everyone, however, taking steps now to put a plan in place can offer you peace of mind so that if the unexpected happens, your child will receive the benefit of your hard work and planning. 

What goals do you have for your child’s future?

To develop a comprehensive plan for your child’s future, it is helpful to consider what goals you hope they will achieve, what experiences you feel are important for them to have, and what values you would like to instill in them. There are planning methods that can support your child in achieving a higher education, learning a valuable trade through trade school, or even becoming an entrepreneur and starting their own business. You can also opt to leave funds or incentives to encourage them to spend some time volunteering for important causes. You should also think about whether you want to provide your child with the ability to travel, whether it is to see the world or maintain relationships with extended family members. 

Put goals into action with an estate plan.

There is no substitute for the guidance and support you can provide for your child. However, you may be surprised to learn that there are ways to guide them, even in your absence. This can involve planning methods that incentivize your child to accomplish certain tasks during their lives. You can emphasize the importance of values such as working hard by encouraging them to maintain a job and potentially matching a portion of their salary. You can provide them with funds to allow them to pursue philanthropic efforts. Education is often a goal many have for their children, which could include learning a trade or obtaining a college degree. Fortunately, there are many ways to set aside funds for your child to use for education. 

In addition, just as you are prioritizing your family by creating an estate plan, you can also assist your child in prioritizing their future families and relieving some of their financial pressures. This can be done by setting aside funds for your child to use for family vacations, to pay for their children’s education, or to purchase their first home.

We know this type of planning may seem daunting, but you can accomplish developing a comprehensive plan for your child’s future by contacting a qualified estate planning professional to start the planning process. Once you finish, you will have answered many important questions about the future and will feel prepared. You may wonder why you did not start the process earlier. If you need to create or review your estate plan to provide for your child, give us a call.

Four Things to Consider When Using a Continuing Trust

Not all children are responsible enough to handle a large lump sum inheritance at age eighteen without some guidance. Most children would be tempted to spend it all on fast cars, designer clothes, lavish vacations, or maybe even to quit their job. It is important to educate yourself on the options available in the event you die prior to your children reaching the age of majority. 

  1. How a Continuing Trust Works

A continuing trust is a great option to ensure that the money you worked so hard for lasts to provide your children with the future you envision. A continuing trust holds money for a specific period of time and does not distribute it outright. This type of trust can allow for small distributions when a child reaches certain ages, and then distribute the remainder at a specified age, or continue indefinitely. You decide the appropriate ages and amounts for disbursements to your children. The specifics will largely depend on what you hope your children will utilize the funds for and whether you need to plan for special circumstances that affect your children. 

  1. Protecting Minor Children

Continuing trusts can be particularly beneficial for situations in which a child may inherit funds or property while they are a minor. Minor children are unable to own property or inherit an amount over $15,000 in many jurisdictions. If children are set to receive more than $15,000, most states require that a conservatorship or guardianship be put in place until the child reaches the age of majority (eighteen or twenty-one depending on the state). This court process requires additional fees and court filings for the duration of the guardianship or conservatorship. And ultimately, the child would still receive a large lump sum when they turn eighteen or twenty-one (when they may still be immature). Establishing a continuing trust prevents the need for a conservatorship or court-monitored guardianship. 

  1. Other Ways a Continuing Trust Can Help

Continuing trusts can also be beneficial in other circumstances. They can help preserve money for children who are financially irresponsible and tend to exercise poor judgment when it comes to spending. They can also protect children who suffer from addiction from having a lump sum given to them that could be used to fuel their addiction. In addition, this type of trust may protect money and property from lawsuits if a child works in a high-risk occupation. 

  1. Potential Issues with a Continuing Trust

Continuing trusts provide a lot of benefits, but they can be problematic if not properly drafted. There may be a circumstance in which a child may need a large sum of money and the trust does not give the trustee the ability to distribute money for that need. Additionally, if a child requires government aid, this type of trust may disqualify the child if it does not contain specific language to preserve the benefits. 

While we have already discussed several of the benefits of establishing a continuing trust, there are other important considerations when deciding if a continuing trust is the right fit. In most cases, managing a trust costs money. The amount that it will cost can be quite substantial depending on how long the trust exists (and continuing trusts typically last a long time). The most common expenses associated with continuing trusts are trustee fees and income taxes. Both should be considered when determining how long you would like the trust to exist. There can be provisions that can give the trustee authority to dissolve the trust if it becomes financially impractical to maintain or if the original purpose is the trust is no longer applicable. 

Another important consideration of continuing trusts is that managing a trust takes time. These types of trusts are created to last for a long time and require a trustee who has the time to dedicate to the proper management of the trust. One of the more difficult decisions you will need to make is choosing who should serve as trustee. There are many considerations that go into trustee selection, and the following questions should be asked: How old is the successor trustee? Do they have the time and capacity to manage a trust? Will selecting this person put them in a position where it could strain their relationship with the beneficiary? You may feel it would be better to select an entity rather than a family member; if so, you should ask the following questions: How accessible is this institution? Will they be in business long enough? Is there a minimum trust value requirement? What fees do they charge for management?

There are a lot of considerations in determining whether a continuing trust is the right fit for your family. Contact a qualified estate planning professional who can ask you the right questions to make a proper determination of whether this form of trust is appropriate or if there may be a better option for your circumstances. 

Three Types of Trusts to Plan for Minor Children and Grandchildren

There are certain reasons that establishing an estate plan can be of the utmost importance. Having minor children or grandchildren is one of those reasons. Most parents do not have time to keep up with their own tasks, let alone consider what would happen if they died while their children were still minors, but having a comprehensive plan in place for their children is very important. It can be motivating to know that a well thought-out and carefully drafted plan can last over eighteen years. Most parents have carefully considered what values they want to instill upon their children, but you may not realize that establishing a trust can allow you to essentially parent from beyond the grave. In addition, grandparents may want to provide a lasting gift to their grandchildren but may be unsure of how to make a gift that truly has a lasting impact. Trusts are not a “one size fits all” planning method—in fact, there are different forms of trusts that can help your clients accomplish a variety of goals. 

  1. Health and Education Exclusion Trust

Every parent wants to provide their child with opportunities, and grandparents also find great value in contributing to the success of their grandchildren. Education is often a major stepping stone to bigger opportunities. Many times, grandparents will want to leave funds for their grandchildren’s education. You and your parents may be unaware of a health and education exclusion trust (HEET). These trusts allow grandparents to set aside funds to be used for their grandchildren’s and other distant descendant’s health and/or education expenses, providing you with the ultimate peace of mind in having the trust cover your children’s educational and healthcare costs. 

HEETs can pay for tuition costs at any education level. These trusts can be particularly beneficial for high net worth grandparents, as they can serve the dual purpose of adding a charity as a beneficiary. Additionally, grandparents can avoid generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax liability on funds transferred to the trust. Further GST tax (and gift tax) liability can be avoided on funds disbursed as qualified transfers. Qualified transfers are defined as funds that are transferred directly from the trust to the educational institution or medical provider. 

  1. Incentive Trusts

How likely are children to do the dishes, walk the dog, clean their room, or offer to cook dinner? How much does the likelihood increase when they are offered money to complete these tasks? Most parents would agree that incentivizing young children works like magic. How surprised would you be to learn that even if you are not around, you can continue to guide and motivate your children by incentivizing them from beyond the grave? 

Incentive trusts are becoming a popular choice for parents of young children that want their children to achieve certain goals in life. Incentive trusts provide parents with the flexibility to set goals and appropriate rewards through distributions once a child reaches the goal. Parents can set multiple and separate goals for each child. 

There are a variety of goals that can be addressed with incentive trusts. Some of the more common goals are achieving a higher education, receiving good grades, starting a business, and maintaining a paying job. As you can imagine, these goals are best defined by you, who knows your children’s abilities and limitations. 

Imagining not being a part of your young children’s lives can be difficult. However, incentive trusts can offer your children guidance and support if you are unable. 

  1. Beneficiary-Controlled Trust 

You may feel that your children are financially responsible and exercise good judgment, and you may want to avoid giving another individual control of the money you leave them. Even with strong financial management skills, the money left to children is still vulnerable to creditors’ claims, divorce, lawsuits, or estate taxes. By using a beneficiary-controlled trust, the risks can be reduced while allowing your children some control over their own trusts. A beneficiary-controlled trust is much like it sounds, in that a trust can be established for a beneficiary, who can also serve as the sole trustee or a co-trustee. 

These trusts grant the beneficiary a considerable amount of control over their inheritance while still allowing you to place certain restrictions on its use. When a beneficiary acts as sole trustee, they can be allowed to make distributions based on an ascertainable standard—for example, distributions for the beneficiary’s health, education, maintenance, and support (HEMS). In circumstances in which the beneficiary acts as sole trustee, under many states’ laws, most creditors cannot reach the beneficiary’s interest or compel a distribution when the trust contains the HEMS standard. However, once a distribution has been made to the beneficiary, it may be susceptible to the beneficiary’s creditors. 

You can save money on the cost of trust administration when your beneficiary serves as the sole trustee. However, there may be benefits to appointing a co-trustee to serve and giving your beneficiary the ability to remove and replace the co-trustee, if necessary. 

As you can see, trusts are not “one size fits all.” The type of trust you choose can address your specific concerns. It is best to work with a qualified estate planning professional who can analyze your situation and fully discuss your goals in establishing a trust, and ultimately provide you with a comprehensive plan that protects the future of both you and your family.  

Estate Planning News You Can Use to Beat the Heat of Uncertainty

Just as spending a day under the summer sun without proper protection can leave you with a painful sunburn, an unfinished or out-of-date estate plan can inflict harm on you and your loved ones. In this newsletter, we explore the importance of creating a comprehensive estate plan to protect your legacy and ensure a smooth transition to future generations. 

What Is Your Relationship with Your Parents?

Your relationship with your parents and with your own children is important for several reasons, including developing an effective estate plan. Simply maintaining a loving relationship with a parent does not necessarily guarantee inheritance rights. A legal right to inherit depends largely on the legal relationship between a child and that child’s parent, the existence of a valid estate plan, or if no estate plan exists, the applicable laws of intestacy in a given jurisdiction. Generally, children can inherit from their parents whether their parents are biological or adoptive, but in most jurisdictions, there is no legal right for a child to inherit unless they are a minor or it can be shown that they were accidentally left out of a parent’s estate plan. In some jurisdictions, if there is no estate plan, a child may be entitled to a percentage of the parent’s estate. 

Any discussion about estate planning concerns should include a review of the legal relationship between parents and children. In what manner are you a “child” of your parents? Are your children your biological children? Or are they legally adopted? Are they stepchildren? Or is your relationship something else altogether?

When it comes to a child’s legal ability to inherit from parents, there is no difference between adopted children and biological children—they are considered equal in the eyes of the law. However, situations involving stepchildren or presumed parents can be more complicated. 

Stepparents. A stepparent is typically someone who is married to or in a civil partnership with one of the biological parents of a child. With few exceptions, stepparents have no legal obligation to provide any legacy to a stepchild or stepchildren. And unless they were legally adopted, stepchildren have no legal right to expect an inheritance from their stepparent. The ability of stepchildren to inherit from stepparents can depend on the laws of the jurisdiction where the parents are located and that jurisdiction’s laws of intestacy. Stepparents can choose to provide for stepchildren in their estate plan, and in that case, the stepchildren would benefit in the same manner as any other beneficiary. If a stepchild is included in a stepparent’s estate plan under their will or trust, that stepchild can inherit money or property in the same manner as biological or adopted children under the same instrument. However, if there is no provision made for stepchildren under an estate plan, they would likely not be entitled to any share of the estate.

Presumed parents. In some cases, a person may be considered a presumed parent, which means that they are legally recognized as the parent of a child, even if they are not the biological or adoptive parent. Legal recognition for presumed parents is based on public policy that certain individuals should be treated as parents because of their relationship with a child and the role they assume in that child’s life. 

The criteria for being a presumed parent can vary by jurisdiction, but they often include the following:

  1. Biological connection. In some jurisdictions, a person who is the biological parent of a child is automatically considered a presumed parent, regardless of their marital or relationship status.
  2. Birth or adoptive parent. A person who has legally adopted the child or given birth to the child (with their consent) is considered a presumed parent.
  3. Marriage or domestic partnership. If a person is married to or in a legally recognized domestic partnership with the child’s biological or adoptive parent at the time of the child’s birth or conception, they may be presumed to be a parent.
  4. Intent to parent. If an individual openly and actively takes on the role of a parent and demonstrates their intent to parent the child, they may be considered a presumed parent. This can include factors such as receiving the child into their home, providing financial support, making important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, and establishing a parent-child relationship.
  5. Length of time and stability. The length of time the person has been involved in the child’s life and the stability of their relationship with the child may be considered when determining presumed parenthood. 

The relationship between a parent and child can take many forms. It is therefore important that you discuss with your estate planning and financial advisors the need to have an estate plan that clearly identifies your intended beneficiaries and the legal relationship of those beneficiaries to you. Your discussion should also examine relationships with any individuals who may not be immediate or obvious family members. With a well thought-out, comprehensive estate plan, you can rest assured that your wishes regarding inheritance will be clear and properly documented so they can be legally enforced.

Planning Strategies for Your Boat That Are Not Sunk

As summer approaches and open waters beckon, it is important to consider a unique aspect of estate planning that can often be overlooked—your boats and watercraft. These vessels bring you joy and unforgettable memories, but they also warrant special attention when it comes to safeguarding your legacy as part of your comprehensive estate plan. 

There are several estate planning strategies that can be tailored specifically to handling boats and other vessels or personal watercraft. By implementing these strategies, you can ensure a seamless transition of ownership, mitigate potential tax burdens, avoid family squabbles, and pave the way for future generations to enjoy the pleasures of being out on the open water.

One planning strategy is to use a trust structure for boat ownership. Setting up a trust can be an effective strategy to maintain control over your boat while simplifying the transfer process. A revocable living trust allows you to retain enjoyment during your lifetime while designating beneficiaries who will inherit the boat upon your passing. This approach helps bypass probate, ensuring a smoother transition plan for managing and distributing the boat after your passing and potentially minimizing costs. It is important to note, however, that holding a boat in a trust may not be ideal from a liability perspective. In case of accidents or damages that result in injury or death, trial lawyers may try to pursue damages beyond liability insurance coverage limits based solely on the fact that the boat is owned by a trust. Additionally, transferring the boat to a trust could potentially incur state or local taxes at the transfer and may increase insurance premiums.

Another planning strategy involves using gifting and lifetime transfers. If you wish to pass on your boat during your lifetime, gifting or lifetime transfers can be viable options. By transferring ownership of a boat to family members or loved ones, you can experience firsthand the joy of gifting it while also potentially reducing estate taxes by removing the boat from your taxable estate. The downsides to this approach are that you may need to file a gift tax return, the boat may become subject to the gift recipient’s creditors, and you will not have any further control over the boat once the gift is completed.

A third planning strategy that is becoming more popular with boat owners is the use of a limited liability company (LLC). Establishing an LLC can offer significant benefits when it comes to managing and transferring boat ownership. By placing a boat into an LLC, you could use a trust to own a membership interest in the LLC. This approach may provide personal liability protection by separating the boat’s ownership from your personal accounts and property. However, it is essential to understand not only how changing ownership will impact insurance premiums but also any other legal and financial considerations specific to your jurisdiction. For example, securing adequate insurance coverage is essential to protect your boat and ensure a smooth transition in the event of an unexpected loss. 

Whichever planning strategy you employ, it is crucial that you work closely with a qualified estate planning professional who can tailor these strategies to your specific needs and goals. By proactively addressing the complexities of boat ownership in your estate plan, you can sail through life’s adventures with peace of mind.