When we hear the word assets, we easily assume that it means money and lots of it. An asset can be anything of value that belongs to you, such as your savings, property, and other belongings. In Estate Planning, it is important to consider what assets you have, their value and how you own them. This can greatly impact how they are distributed after you pass away.
At Nelson Elder Care Law, our experienced lawyers are familiar with the different types of assets and ownerships in Woodstock. During our free consultations, one of our attorneys can further explain this and help determine an effective Estate Planning strategy for you and your property.
In Woodstock, the value of an asset is determined by calculating its worth and then subtracting a certain amount to account for your debts. This is different from the market value of an asset, which is calculated by determining what the value was at the time of the owner’s passing.
This is an important determination, and it is even more important to work with a skilled attorney to accurately calculate the value of your assets. If there is an increase in value between when you pass away and when your property is distributed, it could result in additional tax requirements for your heirs.
Marshaling is the process of locating and identifying assets (cash, investments, property, etc.) in order to have a complete inventory. This complete list is necessary for Probate, a legal process that validates your Will and allows your assets to be distributed according to your wishes.
Typically, your personal representative will be in charge of marshaling assets. They will check different statements, files, and reports to ensure they have located everything. The requirements for this type of record-keeping in Woodstock will require keeping track of various things, including:
If you only have a few accounts and have kept good records, the marshaling phase is fairly straightforward. However, in complex cases, this process can be extremely time-consuming. Factors that can complicate asset marshaling include:
You can simplify the marshaling process ahead of time by keeping thorough and detailed records of your own assets. Our lawyers can also help smooth the process by clarifying the exact steps that need to be taken and helping you take them.
A non-Probate asset is one that transfers to your heirs without going through the Probate process. This includes life insurance policies or retirement accounts with beneficiary designations, as well as jointly owned bank accounts and property.
You may have heard or seen the term POD or TOD before, which stands for payable on death or transferrable on death. A POD or TOD designation allows for someone to receive an asset without having to go through the Probate process. This could describe various financial accounts, such as:
The simplest type of asset ownership is sole ownership, where only one person owns of a piece of property. You can have sole ownership over realty or tangible property such as vehicles, jewelry, and bank accounts.
Another form of ownership is shared ownership in Woodstock. “Tenancy in Common” means that two or more people share ownership. If the property is owned by two people, each owner generally has 50 percent interest. As long as they determine in advance where their interest will go when they pass away, the property may be able to avoid Probate.
Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship may sound complicated but isn’t. It allows for two people to own property and states that whoever lives the longest will receive 100 percent of the property without having to go through Probate.
It is important to determine which of these forms of ownership is best as a pre-planning tool for your situation. There can be significant tax impacts for certain types of ownership, so we highly recommend speaking with tax professionals and our team of experienced attorneys.
It is important to know whether you have shared or sole ownership of your assets, as this can impact how they will be passed on. The specific types of assets and how they were owned can determine whether your family will need to go through the Probate process and how long the marshaling phase will take.
These legal concepts can be difficult to fully understand without help from an experienced lawyer. Contact Nelson Elder Care Law to learn more about assets and ownerships in Woodstock. We look forward to speaking with you during our free consultation.
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