You have to choose a vehicle of asset transfer. Many people use a last will as we all know, but will lawyers often tell clients that revocable living trusts can sometimes be a better alternative. This is largely because of the fact that these trusts facilitate the distribution of financial assets outside of probate.
The transfer of probate property can take quite a bit of time as the legal process plays itself out. Expenses can add up during probate as well, reducing the inheritances that your heirs will receive. There is also a loss of privacy, because the general public can access probate records to find out how the assets were distributed to the heirs. This information can cause hard feelings among interested parties
To avoid these pitfalls, will lawyers will usually recommend a revocable living trust instead of a last will. Some people hear the word “trust” and they get nervous, because they want to be able to access their assets while they are still living. You do not have to worry about losing control of your resources if you establish a revocable living trust as the centerpiece of your estate plan. As the name indicates, you can revoke or dissolve the trust at any time and direct personal ownership of the assets that you conveyed into the living trust.
The trustee is the person or entity that administers the trust, and the beneficiaries can receive distributions from it. While you are alive and well, you can act as the trustee and the beneficiary, see you have control on that level as well. In the trust declaration, you name a successor trustee to handle the trust administration duties after you are gone, and you name your heirs as successor beneficiaries. After your passing, the trustee would follow the instructions that you leave behind in the trust declaration and distribute assets to the beneficiaries. The probate court would not be involved at all.
Without question, the process of estate planning has a huge financial component. At the same time, you should address end-of-life issues when you are devising your plan. This is done through the inclusion of incapacity planning documents.
Many people aren’t too concerned about incapacity planning, because they think that it is unlikely that they will ever be unable to make sound decision for themselves. If you feel this way you should understand some of the facts.
The United States Census Bureau tells us that the segment of the population that was between 85 and 94 years of age grew faster than any other between the years 2000 and 2010.
People are living longer than ever, and once you join the ranks of the “oldest old” the prospect of becoming incapacitated is a very real one. According to the Alzheimer’s Association approximately 45 percent of people who have reached the age of 85 are challenged by Alzheimer’s disease.
One step that you could take to prepare yourself for the possibility of future incapacity would be to execute a springing durable power of attorney.
If interested parties were to feel as though you were unable to make your own sound financial decisions the court could be petitioned to appoint a guardian or conservator to act in your behalf.
By executing a springing durable power of attorney you take control. You name an attorney-in-fact, and this agent would be empowered to handle your financial decisions in the event of your incapacitation.
Because it is “springing” and “durable” this power of attorney only becomes effective upon the incapacitation of the grantor. Along with this document, you could add a durable power of attorney for health care decision making and a living will. This type of will has nothing to do with financial asset transfers. With a living will, you state your preferences with regard to the utilization of artificial life sustaining measures like feeding tubes and artificial respiration.
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Our will lawyers hold seminars on ongoing basis. You should definitely attend one of these information sessions if you want to learn more about wills, trusts, incapacity planning, and other important topics. You can visit our seminar page to see the dates and obtain registration information.