Well, let’s start with discussing what a “typical” estate plan is, and is not. The fact is that there is not really one typical estate plan as everyone’s situation is a bit different. There is a fairly common set of circumstances that creates a “typical” estate plan, and usually covers most people. However, there are several situations that require special estate planning, and push some people out of the more typical estate plan.
Most of us don’t have assets that would push us into the realm of needing to worry about federal estate tax. If you have assets that meet, exceed, or will exceed the Federal Estate Tax Exclusion amount, then you will likely want some non-standard estate planning. For the year 2016, the Federal Estate Tax Exemption is $5,430,000 for an individual, and $10,860,000 for a married couple. This means that an individual can leave $5.43 million to their heirs and no Federal Estate Tax will be imposed, and a married couple can leave $10,860,000 to their heirs without worrying about triggering the Federal Estate Tax.
Some other situations that generally require special estate planning include those adults with special needs, or those with children that have special needs. A Special Needs Trust is used to ensure that those receiving means-tested public benefits don’t become disqualified by receiving an inheritance or other income.
Another familiar situation is where there is a “blended family”. In these situations, there is a couple or person with children from a previous marriage. Their desire is to make sure their child or children receive an inheritance. A married couple with a “standard” Joint Revocable Living Trust is set up in such a way so that the first spouse to pass leaves everything to the surviving spouse. As you can imagine, in a blended-family situation, the surviving spouse is free to change the distribution scheme and leave the entire estate to whomever he or she wishes. An A/B Trust prevents this by becoming irrevocable upon the passing of the Trustor that dies.
There are other “non-standard” situations that I won’t discuss here for the purpose of brevity. If you have questions, please contact me, or an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.
Okay! So for the vast majority of us, and especially those of us in San Diego, the typical Estate Plan includes:
So as you see, it can be a bit different for each person. Call me today and let’s get your plan together and get you some peace of mind!
Please feel free to give me a call today and we can review your situation and other Estate Planning goals. I help create solutions.
See lots of estate planning information on my website at: www.myestate-plan.com
William Daniel Powell (Dan)
This document is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this is to be considered legal advice. Nothing in this shall create an attorney/client relationship, nor shall it create a confidential relationship. If you need legal advice (in California), feel free to contact me or someone licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. I assume no liability or responsibility for actions taken, or not taken, as a result of reading this information.
Also, please remember that I speak in generalities in my blog and my website. There are so many different factors that can contribute and completely change the outcome that it would be impractical to discuss all of them here.