Big Town/Small Town – Big Estate/Small Estate

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I have been working in Manhattan for the last few days and the contrast between the massive size of this city and most others is striking and apparent. However, at the core, the city is made up of people. These people have the same desires, hopes and dreams as the people in my hometown of Shelby, NC. At the core, they are very similar. The people in NYC want relationships and families. They want opportunity, education, prosperity the same as other folks anywhere. There are big cities, small cities and every size of city all across the United States and the world.
 
The same is true of estate planning for families. There are families of all sizes and shapes. There are families at different varying levels of wealth. Individuals and families have different estate sizes. Some families simply have more stuff while others have less. But, all is important. Planning can be a bit different for a large estate versus a smaller estate but at the core it is still about protecting and passing on what is valuable to you. Here are 3 main points I think are valuable to make when considering planning for an estate of any size:

 

  • Everyone’s property is valuable. Whether you are John D. Rockefeller, Sr. or not I would argue that the smaller the estate sometimes the more it matters. That home can really be valuable to the family. The retirement savings needs to be protected and needs to last.

 

  • Different planning tools. Everyone can benefit by engaging in foundational planning. Foundational work, from my perspective, is putting in place the basic estate planning documents that you need to operate your life and beyond: General Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Will. From there you may consider Deed protection, a Lady Bird Deed on your home, a Life Estate Deed on other properties, planning with Trusts or a combination of planning options. Trust can be great tools for avoiding probate and protecting assets depending on your goals. The bigger the estate, the more you may be worried about estate tax, but trusts can be used to achieve goals for families with estates both large and small. A revocable living trust can certainly be used to control assets while avoiding probate. You may choose to use an irrevocable trust to protect your home and other assets from a Medicaid recovery if they pay for long term care. Is there long term care insurance in place? If so, that could be a factor in considering which planning route to go. Of course, all planning really hinges on your personal and family goals. Is the goal to protect money and property and pass those down to next generations? Is your goal to send the grandchildren to college? Is the goal to preserve farmland to stay farmland for generations? Trusts can certainly help accomplish these goals and more.

 

  • Every estate size deserves a plan. No matter if your estate is large, small or anywhere in between, you should absolutely engage in planning with a professional. Most people can benefit from foundational estate planning. Most families have real estate to protect either by deed or trust. Most families can benefit regardless of the size of the estate by engaging in proactive estate and elder law planning.
 
Can we help you and your family with your estate and elder law planning needs? Learn more by calling: 704-749-9244 or online at: mcelderlaw.com/estateplanning.
 
Greg McIntyre JD, MBA
Elder Law Attorney
written by:
 
Greg McIntyre
Elder Law Attorney
704-749-9244
greg@mcelderlaw.com

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