Estate planning attorneys help you to implement plans that allow you to accomplish your goals for your legacy. This means identifying what you hope to achieve through the creation of an estate plan and then making effective use of legal tools so those goals are realized.
There are many different reasons for creating an estate plan and many different goals most people have when they begin the process. Protecting wealth and providing for loved ones are typically the goals at the top of the list. However, there may also be another consideration as well: protecting your privacy.
If you don’t want public records and details about your estate to become public knowledge, you cannot just use the standard estate planning tools such as a last will and testament. You need to work with estate planning attorneys at Frank & Kraft to identify the different ways you can transfer your assets to loved ones without the details of your wealth and family situation potentially becoming known to the public. To find out more about how our firm can help you to protect you privacy when it comes to estate affairs, give us a call today.
How to Keep Your Estate Private
If you are concerned about protecting your privacy, both in terms of who assets transfer to and how much your asset transfers were worth, using a last will and testament will typically make it impossible for you to maintain confidentiality.
When you create a last will and testament, the will is probated in probate court. The entire probate proceedings subsequently become court record. This means that members of the public who are curious about your estate and about your heirs or beneficiaries could potentially review court records and learn a lot about your personal and financial situation. This is typically unavoidable, although in appropriate circumstances, you may be able to ask a judge to seal probate records. Even if you do this successfully, however, the court is still actively involved in overseeing the transfer of your wealth.
If you want to avoid this, you can look for estate planning tools that you can use in order to transfer assets through other means so you will not have to worry about details from your estate becoming known to everyone. For example, one common option is the creation of a trust. By creating a trust administration, you can facilitate the transfer of your assets through the trust administration process instead of through the probate process.
The trust administration process should not involve any court action in most situations. The timely and efficient process should be overseen by the trust administrator you selected who will go through the process of transferring trust assets to heirs or beneficiaries named in the trust in accordance with your instructions.
However, there is a caveat: if a problem arises with the trust administrator, then the case could end up in court if heirs or beneficiaries decide to claim that the trust administrator breached a fiduciary duty. If the case ends up in court, information can once again become public record. Choosing the right trustee who you can count on to fulfill his obligations can help you to avoid this.
There are also other ways you can try to avoid having assets transfer through the probate process and thus trigger the requirement that the proceedings become court record. Giving gifts during your lifetime, making sure your property is jointly owned with rights of survivorship, and using similar processes can help to ensure that details about the assets you pass on to loved ones are kept private.
Getting Help from Estate Planning Attorneys
Estate planning attorneys at Frank & Kraft can help you to understand all of the possible options available to you as you make plans for what will happen to your legacy after you are gone. We can provide personalized assistance in identifying ways to transfer assets through the trust administration process or to otherwise transfer assets outside of the probate process so there is no need for court proceedings that could lead your personal details being used as fodder for the public.
You an also give us a call at 317-684-1100 or contact us online to get started on making your personalize plan.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.