Determining who receives your assets after your death is difficult enough, and that is before the paperwork gets involved. One of the best tools in this planning process is a living trust, which can help ensure that your assets go to your intended beneficiaries as quickly as possible with little fuss.
Nobody likes to think about needing a living will. For the majority of us, the idea of being medically incapacitated is terrifying. However, having a living will on hand is extremely important.
Since there is so much terminology involved with trusts, it is easy to become confused. Many trusts refer to "grantors" and “settlors” and "trustors," and you may wonder what role these play in your estate planning. The good news is that the basics are very simple: these are actually interchangeable terms. Essentially, these terms refer to the entity or person who created the trust. In essence, the person who holds this role makes all the decisions regarding the trust, including what goes into the trust, who the beneficiaries of the trust are and how the law will disseminate any inheritance from the trust.
One of the top concerns when going through the estate planning process for older generations is to ensure their heirs avoid probate. Probate can be extremely expensive and ties up assets that heirs can't access. Learn how a nasty divorce can turn a probate process into a nightmare.
Many people believe that it is a smart idea to add their children on the deed to their home for inheritance purposes. Generally, the reasons for this are honest in nature. In the majority of cases, people want to help their heirs avoid probate or inheritance tax and think adding the child’s name to the deed is a form of asset protection. Sometimes they may also want to put their child’s name on a house deed to prevent the sale of the home to pay for assisted living expenses.
There are few things more destructive to family relationships than dealing with disputes after a loved one’s death. Dealing with potential high-value assets along with grief can be overwhelming and ruin a family. Additionally, intense strife over a will or trust may result in some or all of your intended beneficiaries attempting to abandon your estate plan.
The most common choice you have when setting up an estate plan is the choice between a will and a living trust. A will is always a one-way ticket to probate unless your estate falls below a minimum threshold of value. In many states, the minimum threshold is about $50,000. In California, that threshold is $165,250.
Traditionally when we think about the administration of a decedent’s estate, we envision a process that focuses on the individual’s tangible personal property and belongings, financial assets, business interests, and real estate.
Making allocations for loved ones with special needs requires special care. Unlike other beneficiaries of your estate, your loved ones with special needs cannot inherit money directly. Doing so could put their Medicaid benefits at risk. If you wish to provide for an individual with special needs, it is vital you adhere to specific estate planning strategies.
If you are going through the estate planning process, you may find it confusing. There are several options available to you, so this is natural. Many people wonder whether they should have a will, or trust, or both.