Estate planning is about making choices that affect the future. While none of us can control important future events, such as our deaths, we can take steps that will protect our assets and ultimately make things easier for our families.
Good estate planning leaves important decisions about your property in your hands, and it can prevent unnecessary losses and taxes, as well as possible conflicts among your loved ones.
Based in Anchorage, I also offer estate planning services throughout the Mat-Su Valley and Kenai Peninsula, and travel when needed elsewhere in Alaska.
As an estate planning lawyer with strong experience in Alaska law, I work with clients to help them decide how their assets will be distributed after their death and determine who will act on their behalf if they become incapacitated. In developing personalized estate strategies that meet my clients' specific needs, I draft and review estate planning documents, including:
When done properly, wills and trusts are powerful tools. They offer a chance for you to divide your assets as you see fit and make critical health care decisions now — instead of allowing strangers to do so later. As part of a coordinated estate plan, wills and trusts allow you to maintain control of your estate even after your death and make sure that family needs and specific expenses are taken care of.
Many clients ask about providing for their churches or particular charities, in addition to providing for their loved ones. A charitable remainder trust (CRT) is a specific kind of irrevocable trust that I often use in my practice, which can achieve these goals while also reducing estate tax liability. A CRT is designed to generate income for your beneficiaries and contribute to a charitable cause. That way you can provide income for a beneficiary while also eventually helping out a good cause.
You contribute assets to a CRT that a chosen beneficiary can use as a stream of income for a period of time. Placing assets in the charitable remainder trust reduces your estate tax liability. The CRT pays out annuities to your beneficiary for either a set term length not to exceed 20 years or for the life of the beneficiaries. You can decide whether the annuities will be paid out annually, semi-annually, quarterly or monthly. However, the total payout for each year must be at least 5% of the account’s assets, but no more than 50%. When the beneficiary’s term ends, the remainder of the trust’s assets are donated to the charity or charities of your choice. These charities must be IRS-approved to qualify for your CRT donation.
Contact me online or call my Anchorage office at 907-306-9166 to discuss your estate planning goals and how I can help.