- Financial Control
Accountancy and financial control are constructive priorities to be considered during the planning process. Issues of taxation are part of the scope of fiscal responsibility and reporting accountability. Control, the exercise of financial management, determines how assets will be invested, transferred, and distributed during an estate owner’s life, and after death.
When a person dies, it is usually difficult to maintain discretion about personal or business issues during probate proceedings. Non-disclosure directives protect the privacy of information related assets and transactions that might otherwise be availed to the public. An estate plan can also be drafted with separate beneficiary notices of asset distribution. Planned giving designation of nonprofit charitable giving intentions may also be subject to nondisclosure.
- Incapacitated Parties
Definition of health care proxy and durable power of attorney as part of the advance health care directives of living will, provides written record of an estate owner’s wishes where medical informed consent for treatment and end-of-life provisions are concerned.
- Business Succession
Estate planning of business succession permits a family business to continue uninterrupted after an owner’s death. Share transfers can be included within estate trust transfer to heirs.
- Creditor Attachment
Establishing a “self-settled asset protection trust” protects assets from future creditor attachment when the estate comes into effect. Debt collection attached to an estate’s finance and other assets can impact heirs. If planning an estate, ERISA-qualified pension fund asset transfers to an estate protect an owner and beneficiaries from risk of seizure. Without the protection of an estate or trust, liquidation of inherited assets to pay-off creditors may proceed.
Laws intestacy applied in most states, automatically assigns assets to surviving spouses and children, also specify the rights of other relatives. Stepchildren are generally excluded from rules of intestate succession. Remarried divorcees and widows can account for second family beneficiaries as part of the estate planning process.
In the U.S., an estate owner can specify provisions for the care of pets within the directives of a testamentary document.
- Supplemental Needs
The creation of a “supplemental needs trust” for a beneficiary who is already a recipient of public assistance due to disability or aging, establishes rights and protections for that person who might otherwise not be eligible for receipt of Medicaid or other public benefits after an estate owner dies.
- Substance Abuse/Spendthrift
The estate planning process eliminates risks posed by substance abuse or gambling addiction. It also protects valuable assets and beneficiaries. Estate, trust, or Will directives can also protect beneficiaries from a spendthrift who may frustrate distribution of assets to heirs with arbitrary constraints, or personal ideas about estate finance not provided for by the decedent.
- Trustee Appointment
Appointment of a trustee is performed by an estate owner or trust advisor, responsible for adherence to governing laws and allocating powers of an estate or trust. beneficiaries’ interest in the trust. Election of a trustee can be done at the planning phase to ensure the interests of the owner are protected for the duration of the estate.