Revocable Living Trusts are used to avoid probate (court supervised estate administration) at death, and to reduce the time delay and costs involved in transferring assets to the trust beneficiaries. But if you set up a revocable living trust, does that require a change to your income taxes? Will you need to file a separate income Read more
What happens to your pets when something happens to you? Many people never think about this, as they presume they will outlive their dog or cat. But what if you’re the one who becomes unable to care for your pet, because of illness or Alzheimer’s or an accident. Or what would happen if you die Read more
When you get to the basics, everybody… whether you’re single, widowed, divorced, or a married couple or unmarried couple…has the same three main reasons for doing estate planning. Inheritance You’ve worked hard to save and accumulate your lifetime savings, and you want your intended heirs or charities to benefit from your efforts. These are decisions you want to Read more
Your medical directives need to be part of your estate plan. Sometimes called advance medical directives, this could include several documents, mainly as follows: This term may encompass a number of different documents, including a health care proxy, a durable power of attorney for health care, a living will, and medical instructions. The exact document Read more
Your estate planning should accomplish three purposes: protect yourself; protect your family; and give you peace of mind. How you do that varies, so we’ve given you some fundamentals to get started.
Estate planning is more than just a will, since you should plan for possible incapacity as well as death. You at least need to do this:
- Prepare a will, naming who, after your death, will administer your estate to gather your assets, pay your bills, and distribute what’s left to the people you name.
- Have a financial power of attorney, naming someone to make financial decisions for you during your lifetime in case you become incapacitated due to illness, disease or accident, and to give that person the powers they will need to make sure that you are properly cared for and your assets can be used for your benefit and the benefit of your loved ones.
- Give medical instructions, and name an agent for health care through a Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will.
Beyond these basics, many people (but not everyone) should to consider Living Trust planning if their objectives include avoiding the expense, delays and red tape of a court supervised probate estate administration. Different types of trusts may be appropriate to accomplish particular objectives, such as preserving assets against future long-term care costs and Alzheimer’s expenses (through long-term health care estate planning), or protecting assets for beneficiaries who aren’t good at managing money or have divorce, creditor or lawsuit worries, or to build wealth (through grandchildren’s trusts, or IRA Beneficiary Trusts).
Knowing typical estate planning terms and basic concepts and reasons for particular types of planning can help you to understand what will be the right plan for you.