Estate & Trust Services


We Minimize the Impact of Taxes and Help Protect Your Assets from Unexpected Risks

A well thought out estate plan is critical to protect and transition your wealth to the next generation. Even if you've already designated beneficiaries on your financial accounts, having an estate plan that utilizes trusts can ensure that your assets are distributed tax efficiently, without unnecessary delays and according to your expressed wishes.

A well thought out estate plan is critical to protect
and transition your wealth to the next generation. Even if you've already designated beneficiaries on your financial accounts, having an estate plan

that utilizes trusts can ensure that your assets are distributed tax efficiently, without unnecessary delays and according to your expressed wishes.

Commons Capital Advisors | Estate & Trust Services

8 Key Estate Planning Steps

Just over one-third of Americans have a will, and fewer than half have any estate planning documents. Making arrangements for your final days and beyond isn't just about helping your family through difficult times. It also lets you designate representatives to make decisions about your care, withdraw money from your accounts to pay your bills and celebrate your existence in exactly the way you want.

8 Key Estate Planning Steps

Just over one-third of Americans have a will, and fewer than half have any estate planning documents. Making arrangements for your final days and beyond isn't just about helping your family through difficult times. It also lets you designate representatives to make decisions about your care, withdraw money from your accounts to pay your bills and celebrate your existence in exactly the way you want.

  • 1. Write a Will

    Die without a will and you let complete strangers decide how to split up your estate and raise your children. It's called dying intestate, an act (or failure to act) that leaves the divvying-up process to state law. In lieu of a will, the court gives first dibs to a spouse and children, followed by other relatives.

  • 2. Consider Life Insurance

    You can skip life insurance if you have no one to support or you have enough money socked away to provide for your spouse or partner. Otherwise, you'll need enough coverage to meet your family's expenses when you can't.

  • 3. Establish Three Critical Documents

    A durable power of attorney lets your agent manage your finances and legal affairs. A release-of-information form gives doctors permission to share your medical records with designated representatives. Advance directives names a representative to make medical decisions on your behalf. A living will specifies the medical treatment you do or do not want at the end of your life.

  • 4. Avoid Probate

    To listen to some people, you'd think letting your estate go through probate was worse than death itself. Don't take their word for it. The probate process, by which your executor settles your debts and disburses your property, could be a simple matter of filling out forms and paying a few hundred dollars in filing fees. But it could also be a months-long ordeal that ties up your estate and costs thousands of dollars in legal fees and other expenses.

  • 5. Set Up Trusts

    Possessions owned solely in your own name go through probate. But if you transfer title of those possessions to a revocable living trust, naming yourself as trustee, you retain control over the assets during your lifetime and the property inside the trust goes directly to your heirs upon your death. Result: no probate, no fees, no public airing of your business.

  • 6. Divvy Up Your Stuff

    Your legacy will surely include stuff, from the kitchen broom to heirloom jewelry. A will typically leaves such "tangible personal property" (that you own without a title) to a spouse or children, leaving them to sort out who gets what. The process may not be pretty. To head off family conflict and avoid the cost of updating your will in the future, state in your will that you have left a separate, signed list of bequests.

  • 7. Plan Your Memorial

    Over the past few decades, the tone of funerals has shifted. It used to be an event where we came to mourn. Now it's an event where we come to celebrate a life. You can personalize your "party" by leaving your family with photographs, music and objects that reflect your interests to include in a service.

  • 8. Choose Your Resting Place

    You may already have a strong sense of how and where you'd like to rest for good, based on your religious beliefs or personal preferences. If you don't, the decision may come down to price. Funeral prices, like everything else, have increased with inflation. Today, the average North American traditional funeral costs between $7,000 and $10,000. If you choose cremation, the average cost of a cremation and basic memorial service through a funeral home is $2,000-$4,000.

  • 1. Write a Will

    Die without a will and you let complete strangers decide how to split up your estate and raise your children. It's called dying intestate, an act (or failure to act) that leaves the divvying-up process to state law. In lieu of a will, the court gives first dibs to a spouse and children, followed by other relatives.

  • 2. Consider Life Insurance

    You can skip life insurance if you have no one to support or you have enough money socked away to provide for your spouse or partner. Otherwise, you'll need enough coverage to meet your family's expenses when you can't.

  • 3. Establish Three Critical Documents

    A durable power of attorney lets your agent manage your finances and legal affairs. A release-of-information form gives doctors permission to share your medical records with designated representatives. Advance directives names a representative to make medical decisions on your behalf. A living will specifies the medical treatment you do or do not want at the end of your life.

  • 4. Avoid Probate

    To listen to some people, you'd think letting your estate go through probate was worse than death itself. Don't take their word for it. The probate process, by which your executor settles your debts and disburses your property, could be a simple matter of filling out forms and paying a few hundred dollars in filing fees. But it could also be a months-long ordeal that ties up your estate and costs thousands of dollars in legal fees and other expenses.

  • 5. Set Up Trusts

    Possessions owned solely in your own name go through probate. But if you transfer title of those possessions to a revocable living trust, naming yourself as trustee, you retain control over the assets during your lifetime and the property inside the trust goes directly to your heirs upon your death. Result: no probate, no fees, no public airing of your business.

  • 6. Divvy Up Your Stuff

    Your legacy will surely include stuff, from the kitchen broom to heirloom jewelry. A will typically leaves such "tangible personal property" (that you own without a title) to a spouse or children, leaving them to sort out who gets what. The process may not be pretty. To head off family conflict and avoid the cost of updating your will in the future, state in your will that you have left a separate, signed list of bequests.

  • 7. Plan Your Memorial

    Over the past few decades, the tone of funerals has shifted. It used to be an event where we came to mourn. Now it's an event where we come to celebrate a life. You can personalize your "party" by leaving your family with photographs, music and objects that reflect your interests to include in a service.

  • 8. Choose Your Resting Place

    You may already have a strong sense of how and where you'd like to rest for good, based on your religious beliefs or personal preferences. If you don't, the decision may come down to price. Funeral prices, like everything else, have increased with inflation. Today, the average North American traditional funeral costs between $7,000 and $10,000. If you choose cremation, the average cost of a cremation and basic memorial service through a funeral home is $2,000-$4,000.

PLANNING INSIGHTS

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Commons Capital Advisors | Benjamin Franklin
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

Founding Father

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Commons Capital Advisors | Benjamin Franklin
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

Founding Father

           

© 2018 Commons Capital Advisors, LLC.
All rights reserved.

         

© 2018 Commons Capital Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved.