何毓琦的个人博客分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/何毓琦 哈佛(1961-2001) 清华(2001-date)

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Your Will, Estate Plan, and Trusts in a Nutshell

已有 1971 次阅读 2019-9-23 18:36 |个人分类:生活点滴|系统分类:海外观察

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I recently went to a seminar about the title of this blog article. This article is primarily for the benefit of my North America Chinese readers many of whom believe that talking about will and inheritance are unlucky or are uninformed about the complex legal issues when you die.

·       Everyone has a will. Even though you never written one, the state has a standard one for you in case you die without one (called die “intestate”) which may not be what you want.

·       Other pitfalls you may not be aware of:

o  If you or your spouse are not US citizen, you may not be entitled to the large tax exemption available which can be costly.

o  If you own a house, have pension and life insurance, then your estate can easily be more than one million dollars in which there can be large estate taxes when you die in Massachusetts

·       Even if you have a will, your estate must go through the probate process which can be long delayed, totally public, and very expansive. And if you own properties in other states (e.g. vacation home), then you need to go through the probate process in each state.

·       Living trusts are legal documents you prepare ahead of time to avoid the probate process, to save cost and taxes, and to carry out your detail wishes.

·       Examples of detail wishes: 1. one of your child is uniformed or irresponsible with money. While you may wish to leave him/her with a share of your estate, you may not want him/her to have total control of the money immediately. 2. The marriage of one of your child may not survive long and you do not want the money to go to your son/daughter-in-law when a divorce becomes a fact.

·       For these and other reasons (e.g. you had a divorce and/or aging parents), you need an Estate plan involving will and trusts. The estate plan area is a complex tax issue. You need professional help and not a DIY job. The cost is typically a few thousand dollars where as the probate cost without an estate plan can be in hundred thousand dollars plus delays.




http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-1565-1199181.html

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