The main difference between a revocable trust and an irrevocable trust is the amount of control the settlor (the person establishing the trust) retains after the trust is created. When you establish a revocable trust, you keep the power to make changes to it, or to completely do away with it and take back the trust property, at any time. This gives you a lot of flexibility, but because you retain full control over the trust, for financial purposes, you’re treated like you still own the trust … [Read more...] about What's the Difference Between A Revocable and Irrevocable Trust?
Wills and Trusts
So, your estate planning documents are all drawn up and signed, and you’re wondering where the best place to keep them is. The most important thing is to keep them in a place where they’ll be safe and where your close family or your executor or trustee can get to them quickly should the need arise. Your first option is one that a lot of people use: a safe deposit box. This will keep your documents safe, but it might not make them as accessible as they need to be. If the box is in your name … [Read more...] about Where Should You Keep Your Estate Planning Documents?
A Reciprocal Will is the go-to estate planning document for most married couples. Based on the idea that a married couple will likely have the same wishes for their estate, their Wills are created to “mirror” each other so that no matter which spouse dies first, the estate is handled in essentially the same way. There are of course, instances where Reciprocal Wills may vary slightly. While both you and your spouse will name each other as executors and primary beneficiaries, you may have … [Read more...] about What is a Reciprocal Will?
When someone dies, there are often many loose ends to tie up. Creditors need to be paid, existing real estate must be dealt with, and the estate needs to be organized. Probate is the legal process of sorting out a person’s estate upon death under court supervision. And while probate will certainly get the job done, there are usually better ways to do it. Why Avoid Probate? One of the main reasons many people want to steer clear of probate court is because it can be a long and drawn-out … [Read more...] about How To Avoid Probate
Good estate planning isn’t just about distributing your assets after you’re gone – it’s also about creating a plan to protect you and your loved ones if you should become disabled or incapacitated. And while a living trust will take care of those assets in the event of a disability, you need a living will to protect your health and well-being. Also known as a health care directive, a living will is a legal document that dictates how you want to be treated medically if you are no longer … [Read more...] about The Importance of A Living Will
If you’ve done any research about estate planning, then you’ve probably seen the word “trust” pop up quite often. And for good reason. Trusts are an essential component of estate planning and chances are, you should have one in your plan as well. What kind of trust you need however, isn’t so cut and dry. There are basically two methods of creating a trust: The testamentary trust is created after you die in accordance with instructions you leave in your Will. This type of trust is often … [Read more...] about Q&A: What's the difference between a testamentary trust and a living trust?
Spend even just a little time planning your estate and you’ll quickly realize that there are a number of different ways to protect your estate and provide for those you love. A living trust, for example, can protect your assets from probate and even minimize the amount of estate taxes your heirs will pay after you’re gone. A living will can ensure that your preferences on health care matters are honored and if you have pets, you can even create a pet trust to make sure they enjoy a happy, … [Read more...] about Should You Have A Special Needs Trust?
Simply put, the executor of an estate (or Will) is the person responsible for seeing that the wishes of the deceased are carried out. To ensure that your wishes are in fact, honored, you should choose someone who is dependable, responsible, and available to be your executor. The responsibilities of the executor can vary depending on the wishes of the deceased, but some of the most common duties include: Locating and protecting the assets, determining “who gets what” and making sure the … [Read more...] about What Is An Executor?
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a document that gives legal authorization for someone to act on your behalf. There are different types of powers of attorney, each of which you would want to use in different situations. There are three main types of power of attorney and together they are called the ‘Guardian Trio’. These are: (1) power of attorney for finances, (2) power of attorney for health care, and (3) power of attorney for living trusts. Power of Attorney for Finances There are … [Read more...] about What is a Power of Attorney?
As the rate of divorce and remarriage has increased over the years, blended families have become the norm. One or both spouses may have children from previous marriages, creating a variety of living arrangements in the family home. And if you think that managing a blended family can be challenging to the typical family “routine”, imagine what it does to a typical estate plan. In fact, blended families can present some pretty unique challenges to the estate planning process, the most common … [Read more...] about Estate Planning Tips for Blended Families