There is no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all estate plan that is right for everyone. Each situation is different, so your plan should be custom crafted to suit your needs.
As a layperson, there is no reason why you would know how to proceed in every instance, and this is fully understandable. When you work with our firm to establish a plan, we will gain an understanding of your situation and give you the appropriate recommendations.
The ideal estate plan centerpiece for the widest range of people is the legal device called a revocable living trust. As the name would indicate, if you ever want to dissolve the trust and take back direct personal possession of the property, you are free to do so at any time.
There are many advantages to be gained if you choose a living trust. One of them is the avoidance of probate. This is an expensive and time-consuming legal process that takes place under the supervision of a court.
No inheritances can be received during probate, and anyone that is interested can obtain probate records to find out how your assets were distributed. The loss of privacy is generally disconcerting, and this information can cause hard feelings among people that were close to you.
With a living trust, the trustee that you name in the document would have the ability to transfer assets to the beneficiaries outside of probate. The estate of administration process would be streamlined, and this is another major advantage.
Plus, you could name a disability trustee to manage the trust in the event of your incapacity. You can also include spendthrift protections if you have concerns about the money management capabilities of a loved one.
Specialized Planning Solutions
There is an ideal estate planning solution that can be implemented to address any circumstance, and special needs planning is a case in point.
Many people with disabilities rely on Medicaid as a source of health insurance, and they receive Supplemental Security Income to help make ends meet. These are need-based government benefits, so a person cannot qualify if they are in possession of significant resources.
Once eligibility has been granted, it can be revoked if a benefit recipient was to come into money for some reason.
With this in mind, what can you do if you want to provide for a loved one with special needs that is relying on these programs? These situations can be handled effectively through the utilization of supplemental needs trusts.
To implement this strategy, you would fund the trust and name a trustee to act as the administrator. Under program rules, the trustee would be permitted to use assets in the trust to make the beneficiary more comfortable in many ways. As long as everything is done correctly, benefit eligibility would not be negatively impacted.
This is just one of numerous different scenarios that are somewhat out of the ordinary. Regardless of the situation, we can recommend the ideal course of action.
People often think of estate planning as a process that revolves around the events that will take place after you are gone. This is certainly at the core of the matter, but you should also address eventualities that you may face toward the end of your life. This includes planning to avoid a living probate, conservatorship, or guardianship proceeding.
An incapacity plan will include documents called advance directives for health care, and one of them is a living will. With this type of will, you state your preferences with regard to the use of life-sustaining measures like resuscitation, mechanical respiration, feeding tubes, and artificial hydration.
A durable power of attorney for health care can be added to name someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if it ever becomes necessary. These would be decisions that are not related to the utilization of life support.
Another document that should be added is a durable power of attorney for property. Even if you have a trust with a disability trustee, this document would allow the agent of your choosing to manage property that is not in the trust.
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Now is the time for action if you are going through life without an estate plan. You can request a consultation appointment if you send us a message, and we can be reached by phone at 843-815-8580.