A recent client consultation touched on the “whys” of estate planning and business planning. As in, what do most people want to accomplish when they come in to our offices?
Here is my unofficial “top five” list.
1. Incapacity planning for an aging loved (including the client him or herself) with powers of attorney and trusts.
2. To protect their minor and young children from bad decisions in the event of an untimely death of the parents. A properly nominated guardian and a revocable trust can benefit your children, but with proper planning not be available to the child’s creditor’s if they owe someone money – like their ex-spouse, their college, their business partner, or the bank that lent them money.
3. For business planning. While not “estate planning” in the traditional sense New Hampshire is a small business economy. The home, IRAs and 401Ks and potentially a business are typically the largest estate assets. Business owners must plan for this significant asset just as they would their home or 401K. For example, when death, disability, divorce or disagreement among the owners occurs, failure to plan becomes very costly. Surviving spouses become accidental partners who may – or may not – contribute to the smooth operation of the business. What if one of the partners simply wants out? How do you value the business, and his or her stake in it? How is the buyout paid for? What rights do minority owners have in a sale of the business?
4. To avoid the expense and delay of a Probate Court proceeding. Probate is a labor intensive and sometimes complicated process. We serve as counsel to the Executor or Administrator to ensure they stay out of trouble with creditors, other family members and comply with NH law.
5. Asset protection/Elder law concerns/Medicaid Planning/Adult Guardianships. Most estate-planning trusts are “revocable” trusts, which you retain complete control over. But clients, in appropriate circumstances, may want to create an “irrevocable” trust, where control over trust assets are largely relinquished – but the payoff is that if drafted properly and well in advance of a potential creditor claim, the assets in the trust are off-limits. Adult guardianships, life care and accommodations agreements between aging parents and children/other family members is another growing area.
If you’re interested in talking with the attorneys at Welts, White & Fontaine PC about estate planning, including wills and trusts, business buy sell agreements, and adult guardianships please contact us by clicking here or by calling (603) 883-0797. Welts, White & Fontaine is one of Nashua’s largest, multi-practice law firms and serves the legal needs of both individuals and businesses in towns such as Amherst, Milford, Hudson, Brookline, Windham, Hollis, Merrimack, Litchfield, Bedford, Londonderry, Pelham, and, of course, Nashua.
Author: John Polgrean
This blog is intended for informational use only. The information contained herein should not be construed as offering legal advice or a legal opinion.