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Do Not Give Your Children Everything Now

Some older people like to give everything to their children, while the parents are still alive. This is usually not a very good idea.

Many parents know that when they pass away without an estate plan, everything they own will likely go to their children. That is likely to be what the parent wants to happen anyway. However, before the children inherit the estate, it must to go through the probate process. That can be expensive and time-consuming in many states.

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The most obvious problem with doing something like this, is that when ownership of something is transferred, the new owner has full legal rights to control that something. Once it becomes the child's property, the child gets to make all the decisions concerning that property and they do not have to follow the wishes of the parent. It also means that if the child owes money to someone, the property can be subject to the claims of the creditor. Finally, there are all kinds of potential tax concerns, when giving property to another person.

You do not need to give everything away now to avoid probate. You can go to an estate planning attorney to get a trust, so your estate will avoid probate and all the drawbacks of transferring ownership, while you are alive.

Reference: Times Herald-Record (May 10, 2018) "Best not to transfer assets to children while parent still alive."

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