Protecting so much more than just your stuff
An AmeriEstate Living Trust helps you achieve many estate-planning and personal goals during your lifetime. It goes well beyond just passing on your assets after your death.
One of the top purposes of a living trust is to prevent your heirs from the pain of probate court. But did you know that an AmeriEstate Living Trust protects you and your estate while you are still alive?
Many people think that a Will is sufficient in lieu of a Trust. But that is just not true. A Will can only deal with what happens after you die. An AmeriEstate Living Trust will be what you and your family need while you are still alive.
1. Planning for Incapacity
When you cannot make decisions that affect both your healthcare and your financial assets, you are considered incapacitated. Incapacity can come from an everyday injury such as a car accident or may be the result of a medical-related issue such as stroke, heart attack or cancer. Incapacity can be temporary or permanent.
If you become incapacitated and have not planned ahead, the probate court might have to get involved to decide who will act for you. They might pick your spouse, or someone else. The point is that it will no longer be your choice. Regardless, it is a public process that is difficult, expensive and time consuming. Planning ahead not only saves you thousands of dollars, it can protect you from probate court while you are still alive.
2. Planning for Mental Illness
Mental disability is a form of incapacity that is considered permanent. It can include diagnoses such as Alzheimer’s, other forms of Dementia, Parkinson’s and a variety of mental diseases. An AmeriEstate Living Trust has the ability for you to plan for possibility of such a circumstance.
Our Living Trust Portfolio allows you to specify how your mental incapacity should be determined, how you would want to be taken care of if you become disabled, and who will manage your property as your chosen trustee. This will keep you and your property outside of a court-supervised guardianship or conservatorship. Planning ahead not only saves you thousands of dollars, but it also allows you and your family remains in control of our hard-earned assets.
3. Planning for Care of Minor Children
If you have children under the age of 18, you absolutely need an AmeriEstate Living Trust. Should something happen to you and your spouse, you will need to have a superior legal document that states your wishes and allows your assets to be available to take care of your children if you cannot.
Minor children cannot inherit anything. Therefore, your estate will be unavailable to them while it is subject to probate court. Once the probate process is complete, the court (not you) will appoint the approved guardian and the court will appoint the approved trustee. This process is expensive and public. But more importantly, it is time consuming, leaving your children without resources.
Once your children reach the age of 18, they will inherit everything, and they will inherit it all at once. That is a lot of responsibility for any 18 year old. An AmeriEstate Living Trust allows you to keep their inheritance in the Trust Fund and determine the specific milestones that you would want them to receive it. A much better plan!
4. Keeping Your Estate and Assets Private
An AmeriEstate Living Trust protects your confidentiality so that your health status, private assets and confidential records remain “for your eyes only” forever. It also protects your family from prior creditors and unscrupulous solicitors.
Probate is a court process that requires the filing of all applicable personal documents with the local probate court. This makes each probate case subject to the public record system so that anyone can read them. Information including your Last Will and Testament, a detailed list of your beneficiaries and assets, and a breakdown of who's getting what and how and when they're getting it can be obtained by anyone. There are actually people out there that scour these records and target people for their inheritance and other financial incentives.
5. Avoiding Probate Court
An AmeriEstate Living Trust allows you to remain in control of your assets and decide what happens to them if you become incapacitated or once you pass away. Otherwise, without a Trust, your estate must be litigated in probate court. Probate court is costly, public, stressful and time consuming. It is a forum that allows your children and other family members to fight over your estate and what should happen to everything you own. In the end, it will cost an average of 5-10% of your estate’s total value and will not include any of your input or wishes.
However, assets that are held in your AmeriEstate Living Trust are property of the trust itself with you as the “trustee” that manages that property. You still own your assets, however when you pass away, your AmeriEstate Living Trust is still “alive” to manage your assets per your predetermined wishes. This means that they can be held or distributed without ever going through probate court.
6. Protect your business from lawsuits
An AmeriEstate Living Trust can protect your business if you become incapacitated or pass away. It will give your business the ability to continue in your absence. In fact, without a Trust, you could be putting your business at risk. Creditors can come after your business assets to satisfy your personal debts. In some cases, this can cause a business to shut down for lack of operating capital.
With an AmeriEstate Living Trust, business assets are protected from your personal creditors. Plus, you can create a plan for how your business will survive your absence and how it will continue to grow without you there, whether that be temporary or permanent. Plus, an AmeriEstate Living Trust protects your business from having to go through probate.
With our help, you can also put together a succession plan for your business. It will allow you to create a clear path ahead for someone of your choice to succeed you and run your company with a vision that you establish and communicate in your AmeriEstate Living Trust.
Contact us for more information on the Trust Administration services we provide