Treasury Regulations Permit Naming Trusts as (Designated) Beneficiaries of Retirement Accounts While often viewed as a "gray" area, the reality is that a trust can absolutely become eligible for designated beneficiary treatment, qualifying as a "see-through" trust where the post-death RMDs are calculated based on the life expectancy of the oldest of the trust's underlying beneficiaries. In … [Read more...] about Naming Trusts as Designated Beneficiaries of Retirement Accounts
How Do Life Insurance and Qualified Retirement Plans Fit In? The most important aspect of owning a Revocable Living Trust is ensuring that your assets are titled in the name of the Trust and therefore owned by the Trust. There is an exception to this rule, that involves Qualified Retirement Plans (QRP’s), which include your IRA, 401(k), SEP, Keogh, 403(b) and even ROTH IRA’s. None of these … [Read more...] about Funding a Living Trust
When someone dies, one of the first questions that close relatives usually have is whether they are personally responsible to pay the credit card bills of the decedent. They may even start getting telephone calls from creditors asking them to pay outstanding balances. Close relatives may also want to know: Who is responsible for paying the mortgage of the decedent? If they are entitled to … [Read more...] about Can a Creditor Go After Non-Probate Assets?
After practicing estate planning for almost 20 years, I've learned that having estate-planning documents doesn't always mean the estate planning goals are being accomplished. Usually, this is a result of not clarifying objectives before legal documents are drafted, or failing to review and update legal documents when significant life changes occur. As a primer for Financial Planners seeking to … [Read more...] about What Financial Advisors Should Look for When Reviewing Client(s) Living Trusts
A special needs trust or a supplemental needs trust can be established to help a disabled individual who is receiving assistance from the government -- or is eligible to receive it. Disabled people, who cannot support themselves and rely on government assistance, are not allowed to have more than a certain amount of personal assets, so family members can't just give them money to pay for just … [Read more...] about Special Needs Trust: What Expenses Can They Pay For?
Safeguard and Periodically Review Your Estate Plan. No Estate Plan is ever finalized. Tax laws, economic conditions, estate exclusions, account values and inflation constantly change which affects the way they are implemented. Material events that suggest it is time for a review of your Estate Plan include: Funding your Trust – especially if opening new accounts or moving to a new … [Read more...] about When to Review Trusts and Other Estate Plans
A helpful checklist on how to settle a Living Trust Estate. Most of us have an estate, a legacy we leave to our families. We also have a choice over how that legacy will be passed on. If we choose to do nothing, we are choosing to allow the State to administer our estate and to determine who receives our legacy. An average probate can cost 5 to 10 percent of the gross estate. Avoid probate by … [Read more...] about A Checklist for Settling a Living Trust Estate
Have you tried doing your own physical exam lately? I mean, going to a doctor can be such a waste of time, not to mention the cost. It can be so much better to try to save money and just complete the necessary tests and lab work by yourself. Possibly, you have performed surgery on yourself? Maybe you have extracted your own tooth or filled an annoying cavity all without the assistance of a … [Read more...] about The Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Living Trusts
Some common myths about doing your own Estate Plan. MYTH: I have chosen a godparent for my children, so it is not necessary for me to nominate a legal guardian for them in case something happens to me. FACT: Traditionally, the role of a godparent is to faithfully assist the godchildren in leading a spiritual and moral life. It is not a nomination or appointment to become the child's … [Read more...] about Common Myths About Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning
Many believe that credit card debt dies along with you. That is not exactly true. So what does happen to credit card debt after you pass away? There is no simple answer to this question. And the complete answer depends on a number of variables such as who else is on your account, whether you have a living trust, and what state you live in. When you die, your estate is required to pay any … [Read more...] about Does Credit Card Debt Live Beyond Your Lifetime?