Posts Tagged ‘living trust’
Wednesday, October 17th, 2012
A will is a vital estate planning document, and allows you to distribute your assets and property according to your wishes. However, there are several items that should NOT be included in a will:
Property held in a living trust or joint tenancy – property deeded to a living trust cannot be willed to someone else, and a will cannot change the right of survivorship in joint tenancy, which passes to the joint tenant by law.
Accounts with designated beneficiaries – financial accounts and life insurance proceeds go to beneficiaries who are designated by you via a designated beneficiary form, and cannot be given to someone else through a will.
Contingency gifts – leaving assets that are contingent on the beneficiary performing a duty or act (like marrying or attending college) is not always legal. Generally speaking, you cannot “manage from the grave” by making an inheritance contingent on someone getting married, changing their religion, etc.
Provisions for those with special needs – this should be done via a special needs trust.
Provisions for pets – pets do not have the legal ability to own property, so consider establishing a pet trust to care for your pet(s).
Funeral instructions – since a will may not be read until after the funeral, leave instructions for your funeral arrangements in a letter of instruction or discuss your wishes with loved ones.
Friday, September 21st, 2012
If you or a family member are one of the millions of Americans facing a diagnosis of some type of dementia, it is critical that you have the essential estate planning documents in place that will protect you and your loved ones. And the earlier that planning is done once a diagnosis has been made, the better protected you will be against the financial and emotional burdens of mental incapacity.
The essential documents you need include:
- Advance Medical Directive – this legal document enables you to name someone who can make health care decisions for you in case you become unable to make them for yourself. Without an advance medical directive, your family will have to endure the hardship of a court proceeding to establish a guardian for you.
- Living Will — a living will allows you to specify the types of treatment you do – or do not – want in case of a terminal illness or a persistent vegetative state.
- Financial Power of Attorney – this legal document allows you to appoint someone to manage your finances in case of incapacity.
- Living Trust — establishing a revocable living trust allows you to appoint a successor trustee to act in case of incapacity.
These documents must comply with state law as well as with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). It is crucial for you to enlist the help of a Personal Family Lawyer® to create these documents while you or a loved one is still mentally competent.
If you’d like to learn more about important legal protections for those facing a progressive illness or have other estate planning questions, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for a Family Wealth Planning Session, but because this planning is so important, I’ve made space for the next two people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call today and mention this article.
Monday, April 19th, 2010
Been thinking a lot lately about the concept of a “trusted advisor” because I keep getting people in front of me who needed a trusted advisor, but something bad happened and now it’s too late.
I recently met with a family who had been burned. Big time. They knew that, as a young family with two small kids and a Stay-At-Home mom, they needed life insurance. Problem was, they didn’t know anything about life insurance or what they really needed. The person they turned to sold them life insurance that had a small death benefit and a huge premium. It was totally wrong for their needs. They sunk about $15,000 in to this life insurance and then had to stop, because they couldn’t make the huge monthly payments. (The dirty little secret? The kind of insurance he sold them gives the biggest commission to the insurance salesperson. He had to know that he was selling them the exact wrong thing… but he didn’t care, because he got a bigger paycheck out of it).
So that $15,000… gone. And now they have no life insurance at all, which is really scary.
Now they know they need an estate plan… but they have two obstacles. First, they have “trust” issues… they are scared to put their faith in a professional again, only to be sold a piece of cr*p that isn’t right for them by someone just out to take their money. Second, they can’t really afford it. They are living paycheck to paycheck and they spent most of their life savings on this bogus insurance.
What to do?
Well, first off, every family needs a trusted advisor that they can turn to, to get their legal and financial questions answered. Yes, that means you too! Luckily, these people have found me. And they can get to know me, so they can get comfortable that I’m the “real deal” before they put their faith in me. Second, well, because I am the real deal, I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. I’m in this for the long-haul with my clients. And I know this planning is super important – more than you even know- and so we work with families to make it happen, even when you think you can’t afford it. Call me and we can talk more about it.
Southern California Probate Attorney / Estate Planning Lawyer / Wills & Living Trusts Law Firm
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