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Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson, PLLC

Planning for Your Estate at Every Stage of Life

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: October 8, 2013

No matter what stage of life you’re in, you can plan for where you are. There’s no rule in Washington that says you need to be worth a certain amount before you can make plans for your estate.

The truth is, even someone who’s single and just left home has something to lose if the worst happens. Be prepared with a plan at every stage of life with these simple tips:

  • Just left home. You don’t live with your parents any more. Congratulations! Now sign a health care proxy and a living will. Why? Because even if you have nothing, you still have your health. And if that is taken away from you, you need someone who can step in and make health care decisions for you. Living wills don’t cover assets—they cover medical care decisions and who will be calling the shots when you can’t.
  • Single and Broke. You may not think you have any assets to pass on as a young adult. But if you work full-time and have a 401k or life insurance, you signed documents that named a beneficiary when you signed up. If you want your other assets to go to that same beneficiary if the event of your death, you need a basic living will or the state will decide who gets everything.
  • Just Married. In most states, your parents will share your assets with your spouse if you didn’t have children. In other states, siblings and other relatives could get a go at your stuff. it depends on whether your have acquired any assets together. Just because you are married does not mean that your spouse gets everything when you pass away. A few minutes and a simple plan will make sure that your wishes and intentions are accomplished.
  • With Child. If you have children, you need a designation that names a guardian for your children. There are 2 components you must take care of: 1. Who will take care of your child and 2. How will take care of the child’s finances for them. It may also be a good idea to have life insurance to help the guardian raise your child. Don’t assume that all your assets automatically go to your children, either.
  • Widowed. After your spouse dies, you should revise your will and beneficiaries. You will also need to file a federal estate tax return nine months after the death to add any unused exemptions of their most recently deceased spouse to their own. You should also name new beneficiaries for any retirement assets you inherited from a spouse. Otherwise your heirs could lose tax benefits associated with those assets.

Over the past 32 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped more than 800 clients prepare and utilize simple and effective planning techniques to protect them and their families in order to avoid probate, save estate taxes, save money and save added emotional burden that comes from long term illness and/or death of a family member.

We will counsel you through the process to prepare a specific arrangement to accomplish your purpose and aim. With a little bit of forethought, you can be confident and have assurance that your family and friends will have the ability handle your property, assets, holdings and belongings in the manor your intended with integrity based on your intention and without involvement or interference of the judicial process.

As your lawyer, we will make the process simple, fast and effective.

Another great benefit is that your decisions and declarations are confidential. No one needs to know your plan until the time is right or if you choose to tell someone. This means that the revocable living trust you prepare is not a matter of public record because you avoid a public disclosure that is required with a formalized judicial proceeding to certify a Will and inventory of assets.

Give us a call to schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help you and your family.


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