First you need to determine who you want things simple for. From there you have many options.
The following is a transcript of the video above:
Hey folks, I'm here to talk today about what is the simplest way to leave your assets to your children and other heirs. This is episode three zero, 30, of Estate Planning Weekly, and as always, I am your host, Don Rolfe, the owner and founder of Northwest Legal Planning, an estate planning law firm located in West Linn, Oregon.
So, what is the easiest, simplest way to leave your assets to your children or your heirs? Well, we need to look at, what do you mean by simple? Simple for you, or simple for your heirs? If we're talking about simple for you, the easiest thing to do is nothing. That is the simplest thing that you can do.
You can simply not have an estate plan, not have a will, not have a trust, and that makes it very simple for you. All you have to do then is go through life like you normally would, and when you pass away, then it becomes less simple for your heirs and other beneficiaries.
However, if you're looking at making it, what is the simplest way for your heirs after you've passed away, doing a little bit of work upfront, what's the simplest way for them to actually inherit what you're leaving behind, then you're talking about putting together an estate plan. And it varies depending upon what types of assets you have, how simple you can actually make getting your assets from you to your heirs. And what kind of protections you would like to afford your heirs once they receive those assets.
So, the simplest, doing the least amount of work upfront, would be just setting up a will-based estate plan and then your heirs would at least have a guideline to go by once you've passed away and probate that will and distribute the assets as you have set forth.
A step up from that, doing a little bit more work upfront for you, and making it a little bit simpler on the back end, is to set up a trust-based estate plan, where probate is cut out, you have funded your trust completely, transferred all of your assets, and then your trust is administered and your assets are distributed to your heirs whether outright or in trust for them. And that is done without the intervention of the court.
By the way, if you have any questions about this or this is a question that you have, 'cause it's a question that I get a lot, you can go to MyEstatePlanMeeting.com and schedule an absolutely free half hour consultation with me, either on the phone or in person, I prefer in person, 'cause I like seeing people, and you can get that question answered, any other estate planning question you have we can answer it there, and then we can also talk about what kind of estate plan would be right for you if you so choose to do that.
Anyway, so the next step is setting it up in trust and then having it outright. And then above that, the next way to make it the simplest on your beneficiaries is to start doing some lifetime gifting to trusts. If you don't want to have to have the bulk of your assets or all of your assets pass only after you have passed away, you can start doing some more work upfront and doing some lifetime gifting if you have a larger estate and setting up trusts for your beneficiaries now during your lifetime that you're gifting into, whether they be trusts funded with assets that you have, trusts funded with life insurance policies, whatever the case may be, and making that process for them on the backend even simpler because some of those assets have transferred during your lifetime.
But really, the least simple for your beneficiaries would be you doing nothing, but be the simplest for you, and the most simple for your beneficiaries and other heirs would be setting up a trust, excluding the lifetime gifting trust that I just mentioned, it'd be setting up a trust, fully funding it, making sure that the probate court is taken out so there's not that hindrance there or that step to take once you've passed away. And making sure that your trust specifically spells out exactly what it is that you want to have happen, who gets which assets, who gets what percentage, and making it simpler on the backend.
So doing that work upfront is really gonna make it simpler for your beneficiaries. But if all you're concerned with is making it simpler for you, you can do nothing and you'll never have to worry about it, right? But we all know better than that. We're not gonna do that, we're going to put something together and whatever it is that you need, I would love to be able to help you figure it out, and we can do that by you scheduling a time to meet with me at MyEstatePlanMeeting.com. Can answer any questions that you have, explain to you the pluses and minuses for the different types of estate plans we can put together, and the work and effort that's going to be involved either upfront by you, or on the backend by your heirs.
Until next time, take care, goodbye.