Estate Planning

No one wants to think about dying, much less planning for the undesirable event.  Unfortunately many individuals pass away without having had a will prepared. The result in many instances is the individual’s estate is disbursed to unintended beneficiaries.

If an individual dies in Virginia without a will the individuals estate does not go to the state as many people believe, but is disbursed accordance with the state’s “intestate statutes.”  The result may or may not be what the deceased individual desired.

When we have estate seminars the first question that we pose is “how do you want your assets distributed upon your death?” 

We quickly offer the following answer: “you want your assets to go to those that you designate,” or another way of saying the same thing is: “you don’t want your assets going to those that you have not designated.” For instance, you do not want your assets to be given to the IRS if you can legally avoid it. 

Secondly, you do not want your assets going to attorneys, commercial executors, commissioners, etc. if it is not necessary. Simply stated you would like your assets to go to the intended beneficiaries (most likely your loved ones) in the most cost effective and efficient way.

One of the big benefits of pre-death planning is the ability to name your heirs, specify the share of your estate they will receive and dictate the manner and timing at which the heirs get their shares.  Generally speaking this part of estate planning is done with either a will or a trust.

The bottom line is if you presently do not have a will or trust it’s time to stop procrastinating. 

Call Paulson & Paulson and make an appointment to discuss
your individual situation and whether a Will or a Revocable Living Trust
best suits your family situation.

Important Issues to Consider in Your Estate Plan:

  • Whether the heirs are to receive equal or unequal shares.  There are several factors that can cause the estate owner to vary the share sized they leave to each other.
  • At what age should the heirs get their share, or should their share be paid in two or three installments at different age milestones, paid out for life, etc.
  • Whether or not to leave specific property to certain heirs, such as the family hone to one child and certain other property to another child.
  • Whether or not to clearly omit or disinherit any heirs.
  • How to deal with situations where a married couple each have different children from former marriages, but they want to create one comprehensive estate plan.  This may require dealing with issues such as one spouse having more children, or one spouse having a larger estate.
  • Dealing with cases where estate owners get married after they have build their own separate estate which they may want their new spouse to benefit from, but then they want the remainder of the estate to go to their heirs and not to their spouse’s heirs.
  • What to do in a case where a child has reckless spending habits or substance abuse problems, and the parents fear that child will quickly misuse the inheritance.
  • How to deal with mentally or physically disabled heirs.
  • Assuring that the heirs will use their share to pay for a college education and do so in a prudent manner.
  • What happens if an heir predeceases the estate owner.
  • How to deal with specific gifts to special heirs, such as grandchildren, nieces and nephews, charities, etc.

If you or a loved one is in need of legal assistance, call Paulson & Paulson, P.L.C. at our Virginia Beach office by dialing (757) 481-6600 or our Arlington office by dialing (571) 970-3317 or send us an email by clicking the button below.