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Estate Planning

I Have an Irrevocable Trust, Now What?

I Have an Irrevocable Trust, Now What?

Commonly, clients will create a trust to protect certain assets in case they need to apply for government benefits as they get older and require assistance with their daily activities. While certain provisions of this type of trust will be consistent from client to client, not all trusts are the same. Understanding your trust is the first step to successfully achieving your estate planning goals.  The drafting process of the trust document is vital because it outlines the rules of the...more »

Gifting to Minors

Gifting to Minors

Question: I want to designate my grandchildren as the beneficiaries of my retirement accounts and life insurance policies. Currently, they are ages 4 and 6. Is this possible? Can I simply complete a new designated beneficiary form with my financial institutions? Answer: You can absolutely designate minor children to receive money under retirement accounts and life insurance policies. However, you NEVER want to designate that the child receive those monies outright. In other words, you would not...more »

Estate Planning for Teachers

Estate Planning for Teachers

Q: I am a teacher and currently off for summer break.  Now that I have time to myself, what should I be thinking about over the summer regarding my estate plan? What about retirement? What actions should I be taking? A: Summer is the best time to check items off your “to-do” list that get pushed off during the busy school year.  You just spent the last ten months teaching and giving everything you have to your students.  It is now time to do something for yourself,...more »

College Age Children and Estate Planning Documents

College Age Children and Estate Planning Documents

Question: My son is 18 and is leaving for his first year of college in September. Someone told me that there were some legal documents I should have in place before he leaves. This is the first that I have heard of this, as his school did not say anything. Is my friend correct? Answer: Yes, your friend is correct. With so many other things to worry about during this stage, it may be overwhelming to begin to consider the legal implications of your child reaching "adulthood." Yes, that's right,...more »

Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts for Assisted Living

Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts for Assisted Living

Question: About six years ago my parents signed two trusts: a revocable trust and an irrevocable trust. They transferred about $150,000.00 into the revocable trust and their house into the irrevocable trust They sold their home about three years and deposited $400,000.00 into the irrevocable trust. My dad passed away and my mom is at an assisted living.  I went to the bank and I was told that I do not have access to the revocable trust because I am not the Trustee but I am the Trustee of...more »

The Secure Act

The Secure Act

Question: What is the SECURE ACT and how might it affect my retirement benefits? Answer: the SECURE ACT is a proposed law that has been passed by the United States House of Representatives and is expected to pass in the United States Senate. Once passed in the Senate, it will be sent to the President for signature where it will become law. If passed, the Secure Act will change some of the rules for retirement plans and how we save for retirement. Some of the changes are positive to the retiree...more »

Consenting to the Probate of a Will

Consenting to the Probate of a Will

Q: My mother recently passed away and I received something in the mail called a “Waiver of Process; Consent to Probate”, what does this document mean? A: You received this document because the Executor is trying to “probate” your mother’s Will.  Probating a Will means that the Executor is submitting a petition to Court and asking that the Court issue “letters testamentary” which allow the Executor to act.  Most people think that upon death,...more »

Assets in a Trust

Assets in a Trust

Q:   Why would I need to put my house into an irrevocable trust? A:   There are many different types of irrevocable trusts.  One of the common types of trusts an individual can create is an irrevocable trust for Medicaid asset protection purposes.  As with any trust document, this type of trust can be written in many different ways.  Most often, the creator of the trust is allowed to receive all income generated from assets that are placed into the trust, but...more »

Do I Need to Redo My Will?

Do I Need to Redo My Will?

Question:  Its been fifteen years since we signed our will.  Although our children are now grown, we still want them to get everything.  Is there any reason to re do it? Answer: Great question and one that we are asked often.  While it may be the case that the will is sufficient, there are a number of reasons that at a minimum you should consult with an attorney, have it reviewed and see whether there is any additional estate planning that you should consider.  While a...more »

Estate Planning for the Blended Family

Estate Planning for the Blended Family

We live in a modern world where blended families are becoming more and more common.  A blended family is one made up of two spouses where at least one spouse has children from a previous marriage or relationship.  Blended families can also include two spouses, their children, and grandchildren from multiple relationships.  Because of the complexity involved in a blended family, proper estate planning is essential to ensure a client’s goals are met. Spouses used to create...more »

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