Presented by: Bradford & Holliman, Estate Planning, www.bradfordholliman.com
“. . . each one builds up riches, not knowing who will receive them.” Psalm 39:6
In this psalm, the psalmist points out the silliness of spending our lives focused on building wealth when we really have no control over where the wealth goes after we die. Of course, the psalmist is correct; but, in modern times, we do have some control over the direction of our assets when we die. A properly prepared Last Will and Testament or a Revocable Living Trust can implement your objectives once you pass away. In fact, while most people simply name who will receive assets, more sophisticated Wills and Trusts do a very good job of controlling or protecting assets from the grave – if that is the client’s goal.
In these cases, clients determine when the beneficiary receives assets and how the beneficiary can use the assets. Some will even mandate additional oversight such as the requirement for drug testing before receiving asset distributions; or, the requirement that a beneficiary be enrolled in college and maintain a certain GPA to receive assets. Another popular trend among clients is to add trust provisions to their estate plans that protect their children from losing their inheritance in the event of a divorce or problems with other creditors.
In addition to controlling the assets a beneficiary receives, a proper estate plan can make a person’s passing easier for the loved ones left behind by streamlining the process. Individuals that fail to plan may inadvertently subject their loved ones to years of expensive legal process in order to obtain title to the assets. In the worst cases, legal title may never be obtained. In the end, if you do not have an estate plan, it truly can be said that you are giving up your opportunity to direct who will receive your assets.
-Melanie Bradford Holliman
Partner, Bradford & Holliman, LLC
Practice focuses on estate planning, elder law and special needs trusts.
2491 Pelham Parkway, Pelham, Ala. 35124
See Calendar for several free educational seminars being led by Bradford & Holliman in February and March.
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