Blog   Tagged ‘estate’

Estate planning and how to avoid probate

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probate and wills

In a recent blog post, we discussed what might happen if you pass away without a will and what might happen with a will. When you pass away owning property in your sole name (regardless of if you have a will or not), your assets might need to go through probate in order for your heirs to inherit your property. Having a will does not avoid probate—it just determines who will receive your property. If you die owning property in your sole name without a will, your estate still passes through probate—but who receives your property will typically be determined under the laws of the state where your primary residence is at your date of death (the “intestacy laws”).

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Probate is a court process to provide for an organized way of winding up a deceased person’s affairs. During this process, a personal representative or executor is appointed by the Probate Court to supervise the collection of your probate assets, payment of your final bills and taxes, and distribution of your assets according to either your will or the intestacy laws. This may or may not be what you intend and might be more expensive than if you made other plans in advance.

Avoiding Probate

There are ways to distribute your property at your death according to your wishes without going through probate. While the techniques might vary from state to state, these typically include:

  • titling property jointly with another (“joint tenants with rights of survivorship”)
  • creating a beneficiary deed for real estate
  • adding a “transfer on death” or “pay on death” designation to assets, such as bank or investment accounts, or by beneficiary designation for assets such as your retirement plan, IRA or life insurance
  • creating a “revocable” or “living” trust and retitling your assets in the name of your trust

The trustee holds the legal title to the property owned in the revocable trust, not you as owner. The trust property is held by the trustee for your benefit during your lifetime.  You can choose to serve as your own trustee as long as you are able. At your death, the property held in the trust is distributed by the successor trustee of the trust to those family members, friends or charities you name in your trust agreement, similar to the instructions you can leave in your will.

A Living Trust

There are many advantages to creating a living trust:

  • Control: You can be your own trustee during your lifetime and then you name a successor trustee (such as a bank) to serve after you cannot or do not wish to serve.
  • Flexibility: You can typically change the terms of the trust at any time while you are living. If you become disabled, your successor trustee can step in and pay your bills, manage your investments and allow you to avoid “living probate” where otherwise a court appointed conservator might be needed to manage your affairs. You can create trusts for your minor children or grandchildren to be created after your death, hold assets in further trust for disabled or disadvantaged beneficiaries and even create trusts for charities.
  • Privacy: The terms of the trust and its assets and values are typically private, unlike a probate proceeding, which is a public matter where your will (if any) and list of assets are filed with the court and open to inspection by anyone.

Your living trust would be part of your overall estate plan, which would likely include a “pour over will” (just in case assets weren’t retitled into your trust’s name at your death), powers of attorney for financial and healthcare decisions and a living will.

 

Be sure to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss what estate plan is right for you under the circumstances.  We also recommend discussing your options with a wealth advisor who can assist you with your financial goals, working together with your attorney and other trusted advisors.

 

 

UMB is not providing you with any legal or tax advice.  You need to consult with your own legal and tax advisors to determine what estate plan is best for you and how the laws of the state governing your estate might affect you given your specific circumstances.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Ms. Teson is a Senior Vice President and Private Wealth Management’s Senior Legal Counsel at UMB Bank. She is responsible for managing Private Wealth Management’s Legal, Fiduciary Tax and Real Estate and Unique Asset teams. She joined UMB in 1992 and has been a licensed attorney for 32 years. She is also a Certified Financial Planner.



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UMB Insights: Fine Art Services

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Are you an art collector? Or do you have one piece in your home you take great pride in? Find out from the managing director of UMB Fine Art Services how this company focus began more than 100 years ago with our CEO’s great grandmother, Charlotte Kemper, and her passion for culture and art. Jan also offers advice on how to protect and utilize your art and collectibles.

Read more about the art of fine art management.

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Jan Leonard is senior vice president and managing director for charitable trusts, private foundations and fine art services. She joined UMB in 2003 and has more than 25 years of experience in the management of private and public organizations. Leonard earned a bachelor’s degree from Arkansas Tech University and a master’s degree in business administration from Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kan. She is also a graduate of the Cannon School of Foundation Management.



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Benefits of a will

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A will allows you to protect and distribute your property owned by you at your death* through a written legal document. By detailing who should inherit what, you try to ensure that your possessions are distributed by your wishes, rather than state laws.  Remember, having a will does not mean that your estate will avoid probate.
Benefits of Having a Will

*Your will only affects property owned by you at your death titled in your sole name. It typically does not affect property which is owned as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, which passes by beneficiary deed or designation, including “Pay on Death” or “Transfer on Death,” or which is owned by a trust.

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UMB is not providing you with any legal or tax advice.  You need to consult with your own legal and tax advisors to determine what estate plan is best for you and how the laws of the state governing your estate might affect you given your specific circumstances.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Ms. Teson is a Senior Vice President and Private Wealth Management’s Senior Legal Counsel at UMB Bank. She is responsible for managing Private Wealth Management’s Legal, Fiduciary Tax and Real Estate and Unique Asset teams. She joined UMB in 1992 and has been a licensed attorney for 32 years. She is also a Certified Financial Planner.



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The art of fine art management

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Have you ever watched Antiques Roadshow? This popular public television show shares interesting stories of people happily discovering their personal treasures are actually quite valuable (or sometimes not!). Imagine learning that a famous designer of the late 1800’s made your great-grandmother’s favorite lamp or a rare piece of pottery you purchased on vacation is actually a sought-after piece. Fortunately, you don’t have to appear on Antiques Roadshow to learn the value of your own pieces or how to protect and possibly increase their value. There are other ways that are more easily accessible.

The Red Couch Marie Mason“The Red Couch”
Acrylic on canvas
Marie Mason

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Many people spend their lives collecting items that not only bring them personal enjoyment, but may significantly increase in value over time. Whether it’s fine artwork, collectibles (baseball cards), memorabilia (original Beatles or Elvis merchandise) or rare objects (antiques), you should consider these items important personal assets. Much like stocks and bonds, they are an important part of a full estate plan. But people don’t always think of them in this way.

By working with trusted professionals, you can ensure that your valuable items will get the attention they need during your lifetime and beyond.

So, what steps should you take to preserve and protect your fine art or collectibles?

  • Identify and protect

    Find a fine art management expert who can help you identify items that should receive additional attention to help preserve, and in some cases, maximize their worth. This person can also provide counsel on valuation (or appraisal), insurance, storage and other very specialized services that may be important in maintaining the object’s value.

  • Organize and document

    Proper documentation and cataloguing is critical. An experienced professional can help record the history and provide a comprehensive inventory of all pieces, an important aspect in maintaining their value. In the same way a museum inventories their collection, an expert can provide the same level of service and system support for your fine objects. Your record can then be updated as pieces are added or removed so the inventory is always complete. A detailed account of each item, including where and how each piece was acquired, can make a significant difference in value, plus, it’s a fun history lesson for you and your heirs.

  • Plan for the unexpected

    It’s important that your estate plans include details of how you want these assets distributed. Will they be gifted to a museum, a family member or a non-profit? Will these objects be liquidated so the funds can be passed on to relatives, loved ones or charitable organizations? Who will you trust to handle the actual distribution? These processes can be complicated and confusing. Your fine art management expert can help address and carry out these plans.

It’s never too early to get started on protecting your valued unique assets. Owners have much to gain by educating themselves about the care and protection of their personal treasures. Establishing a thoughtful, well-planned legacy ensures beloved items will be expertly managed both now and in the future.

 Flaming Tulip Janet Kummerlein“Flaming Tulip”
Acrylic on canvas
Janet Kummerlein

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Jan Leonard is senior vice president and managing director for charitable trusts, private foundations and fine art services. She joined UMB in 2003 and has more than 25 years of experience in the management of private and public organizations. Leonard earned a bachelor’s degree from Arkansas Tech University and a master’s degree in business administration from Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kan. She is also a graduate of the Cannon School of Foundation Management.



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