Your last Will and Testament is essentially your instructions to the Probate Court as to how you would like your estate distributed. When you die and your will is submitted to the court, a probate case is opened. As with any legal case brought before the court, it becomes a matter of public record. Most families don’t choose to share their personal and financial matters with the world while … [Read more...] about Are All Wills a Matter of Public Record?
This seems to be a very common question. Many clients assume that they, are and ask how they are supposed to go about recording them. The answer in fact is the opposite. Living Trusts are not required to be recorded, are not designed to be recorded and in nearly all circumstances should not be recorded. One of the benefits of having a living trust is to ensure privacy by avoiding the public … [Read more...] about Is a Living Trust a Public Record?
Most, but not all grantor trusts are revocable, but all revocable living trusts are grantor trusts. Generally speaking, a grantor trust status does not hinge on whether a trust is revocable or irrevocable, but whether the grantor is responsible, in whole or in part for taxes on the income produced by the trust assets. There are a number of myriad features of grantor trusts, but this is its … [Read more...] about Are All Grantor Trusts Revocable?
One of the defining features of an Irrevocable Trust is that it cannot be amended, either at it’s outset, or at the occurrence of a specified event, such as the death of the Grantor. Sometimes an irrevocable trust contains the ability for it to be modified through the use of a power of appointment. A power of appointment is a specific power granted usually to a surviving spouse or a … [Read more...] about Can An Irrevocable Trust Be Amended?
Only a Trust Avoids the Probate Process In California, a probate process will need to be initiated in order to administer the estate if the decedent passed with no estate planning at all or only a Will. Probate is a Court-Supervised process that involves a 6-9 month minimum process (more often 15 months or more) in order to properly transfer assets from a decent to beneficiaries. Please … [Read more...] about Administering an Estate through Probate With or Without a Will
There is always a temptation to just sell off assets that you've accumulated and take the cash. But that generally results in a tax bill. There may be a way to profit more from those assets by giving them away. By setting up a charitable remainder trust (CRT), you might be able to transform a tax liability into a tax break, receive a steady source of income for the rest of your life, and … [Read more...] about Is This Your Situation: Worried about Taxes on an Asset Sale?
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