Administering the estate of a loved one is never a welcomed task. It is a task that many carryout knowing that they are following their loved one's last wishes. However, being the personal representative or successor trustee will at times seem overwhelming. There are many things, which must be carried out, that are seldom recognized before being put in that position. One such thing is dealing with the deceased's mail.
Farming or ranching is more than a means of livelihood – it is about preserving a legacy and unique way of life. Unfortunately, many farmers and ranchers make very common estate planning mistakes. The farm or ranch that has been passed down for generations then ends up being sold and converted into non-agricultural use, cutting the legacy short and ending the family’s unique lifestyle choice.
Sadly, farmers and ranchers are not the only ones who avoid making or updating an estate plan – many others, including business owners and parents, also avoid planning, which can cut their legacy short. Below are three common estate planning mistakes farmers and ranchers make and how to avoid them.
Revocable Living Trusts have become the basic building block of estate plans for people of all ages, personal backgrounds, and financial situations. But for some, a Revocable Living Trust may not be necessary to achieve their estate planning goals or may even be detrimental to achieving those goals.
One common way to avoid probate of real estate after the owner dies is to hold the title to the property in joint names with rights of survivorship with children or other beneficiaries. This is accomplished by drafting a new deed adding the names of the children and certain legal terms and then recording the new deed.
Many people believe that they do not need an attorney to help them prepare and record the new deed. Instead, they think that a deed form, downloaded from the internet or obtained from a book, is easily filled out and recorded. But deeds are in fact legal documents that must comply with state law in order to be valid. In addition, in most states, property will not pass to the other owners listed in a deed without probate unless certain specific legal terms are used in the deed.
Inheritance protection is often only considered if beneficiaries are considered unable to handle their inheritance on their own. However, if you think you only need to create discretionary lifetime trusts for young beneficiaries, problem beneficiaries, or financially inexperienced beneficiaries, then think again. In this day and age of frivolous lawsuits and high divorce rates, discretionary lifetime trusts should be considered for all of your beneficiaries, minors and adults alike.