The need to protect the family grows stronger every time a catastrophic event occurs. Whether it's a natural disaster or manmade event, protecting the family takes precedence over everything. Doing a little research and consulting with an attorney can make protecting the family's interest a lot easier.
A Will is a legal document prepared with or without an attorney bequeathing the last wishes of the person who made the Will. This is a legal and binding agreement to honor the requests of an individual regarding his personal assets and Estate of the person upon his death. A Will is important to have because this document will make clear how and where the assets are to be distributed. This is especially helpful if the person has more than one child or spouse. In certain states, common law marriages are not honored, so without a Will the assets are then put into Probate, a procedure set up by the court, to settle the estate of the deceased. Wills are designed to protect the interests of the testator (the person who made the Will); this will help curtail attempts to defraud an estate.
A Trust is similar to a Will in the fact that it is a legal document set up to protect the interests of the deceased. If the person was part of a common law marriage, having a Trust can help to bypass the Probate court system in the distribution of the Estate. Also, Trusts are advantageous in providing tax breaks on the inheritor from the tax inheritance laws. The inheritor can be taxed up to 50% on the Estate, which is why some people are opting for offshore asset protection as well. A Trust is advisable if the testator would like to give to a charity.
When it comes to Wills it is best to legitimize children born out of wedlock to ensure that their interests are protected legally. The court system will always favor the interests of the legalized heir over the “love child” when it comes to the Estate of the testator.
There are legal offshore asset protection systems in various countries designed to protect assets from excessive taxation and for purposes of hiding assets. The laws of these countries are designed to be very confidential in safeguarding assets. Scams are ever-present; beware of them, and protect your interests and the family's by hiring an attorney and thoroughly researching the options available.