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Estate Planning

At Terry Lockridge & Dunn, our estate planning advisors have over 30 years of experience designing estate plans that are suited to the individual needs of each client – from the young family to the seasoned professional. Our estate planning and business succession professionals assist clients with preparing, developing and executing secure estate plans.

We understand it takes time and effort to build an estate and we want to make sure our clients can enjoy the results of their hard work. That is why our approach is about you. We don’t try to fit your estate plan into a mold; rather, we design the plan around you and your unique financial and family circumstances. Let our 30 years of experience help you and your loved ones plan for the future.

Our estate planning process helps you achieve your objectives: protection and distribution of assets, guardianship of children and charitable contributions.

What is estate planning and who needs it? It is the process of arranging for the orderly management and disposition of your financial assets and personal affairs in the event of death. It is also used in the event of mental or physical incapacity during your life. We understand many people think estate planning is just for the “wealthy.” However, anyone with assets (life insurance included) who is concerned about the distribution of them upon death or disability is in need of estate planning. In addition, if you have minor children, you want to make sure guardianship issues have been addressed in your estate plan. Considering the flux of events: changes in your financial situation, place of residence, family, health, changing tax laws, any estate plan should be revisited regularly.

I have a will. Isn’t that all I need? When was the last time your will was reviewed? Think of the changes that have happened in your life and your family since then. Also, your will is only one piece of the estate planning process. Even the most meticulously crafted will is not going to be effective if it is not coordinated with the other pieces of your estate plan such as asset titling, beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts and annuities and beneficiary designations on your life insurance policies.

I’m not sure if my parents have an estate plan – this concerns me. It should. You may very well be involved in assisting your parents with these issues, and as difficult as it may be to broach the issue with them now, it is in everyone’s best interest to make sure planning is in place.

What is a trust? A trust is a legal entity created by a document generally called a “trust agreement.” The trust agreement has three primary parties:
1) Grantor – this party creates the trust and generally names the trustee and the beneficiary(ies) and contributes assets into the trust.
2) Trustee – this party has the fiduciary responsibility to manage the assets of the trust and to make distributions to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust agreement.
3) Beneficiary – this party enjoys the income and/or assets of the trust based upon the conditions set out in the trust agreement.

Example: Grandparent (grantor) creates a trust to pay college expenses for grandchild (beneficiary), and names the parent of the grandchild as trustee.

What is the purpose of a trust? A trust is generally used when a grantor wants to make a gift to someone (or to a charity) but does not want to make an outright transfer of the assets to that person (or charity). The trust separates the legal ownership of the assets from the beneficial ownership of the assets. The grantor can create almost any provisions they want in the trust agreement. For example, the agreement can provide for the beneficiary to receive the income from the trust’s assets each year, but is not to receive the trust assets until a certain age. Trusts are used for such purposes as: management of assets, transfers of assets to children or grandchildren, special needs individuals, providing for a surviving spouse, protection from creditors, charitable transfers and estate tax savings.

For more information on Estate Planning, contact Mike Mesch. He can be reached in Cedar Rapids at (319) 364-2945 or Iowa City at (319) 339-4884. Additionally, feel free to use our Contact Us online form.

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