According to a 2017 study, only one-third of Americans have a living will. This is in spite of the fact that all 50 states have recognized the validity of such a document since 1992. A living will allows an individual to dictate the types of treatment that he or she would like to have. The document generally goes into effect when a person is mentally incapacitated for any reason.
Oregon residents and others who use beneficiary designations should take steps to ensure that they don't derail other parts of an estate plan. While taking assets out of an estate might avoid the need to go through probate, it may also leave insufficient funds to pay taxes or make gifts. If a trust is being used to save money on taxes, it is important for the trust to be named the beneficiary of an asset as opposed to an individual.
It isn't uncommon for Oregon residents to have both a will and a trust as part of their estate plan. Typically, the majority of assets will be controlled by either a will or a trust. By putting assets in a trust, it may be possible for an estate to avoid going through probate. This can be beneficial for those who want to protect their privacy or minimize the chances of someone challenging some or all of an estate plan.
Most people in Oregon don't like to think about their mortality, which is why they may procrastinate when it comes to making an estate plan. In other cases, individuals might put off creating such a plan because they don't think that they are going to die or get sick anytime soon. However, it is generally in a person's best interest to do so as soon as possible as it could help protect them and their heirs.
For those Oregon residents who have a mind towards and plan for the future, retirement savings and estate planning are two essential components. An IRA is a popular choice to save and grow retirement funds. The funds designated for the IRA are pre-tax dollars, which saves on present tax, allows the invested money to grow, and defers the tax until the money is withdrawn in retirement, typically at a lower tax rate. A trust provides a way to control one's assets during life, distribute to beneficiaries after death, and potentially do so without the need for probate.
Oregon residents who are developing their estate plans should know that the inclusion of a trust could be beneficial to their plans. A trust is a legal agreement between a settlor and a trustee; the agreement is for the trustee to receive, protect and manage the assets that the settlor delivers. The trustee also agrees to administer the assets in adherence to the trust's provisions and to distribute the principal and income of the trust as directed by the trust's instructions and only in benefit of the parties indicated in the trust.
Some people in Oregon may want to use a durable financial power of attorney as part of their estate plan. This document appoints someone to manage a person's finances if that person becomes incapacitated.
Oregon is one of several states that has adopted the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, but this does not mean that a person still does not need to take steps to deal with digital assets as part of an estate plan. Digital assets may include email, photographs, subscriptions, memberships, web sites, social media accounts and more.
Hesitancy, misconceptions and sometimes even a bit of fear.