Disadvantages of Using an Irrevocable Trust

Maura was puzzled. She and her husband were finally thinking of putting together an estate plan. They had done some online research and stumbled across articles about irrevocable and revocable trusts. The irrevocable trust seemed to offer the kind of asset protection they wanted. However, she knew there had to be disadvantages to using any estate planning tool. What is an irrevocable trust? Every trust has at least Read More

How to Choose the Right Trust

Estate plans should include a Last Will and Testament, a durable power of attorney, and a medical power of attorney. Some people also prepare other documents, like a Living Will or a trust. But, when you start working on your estate plan, how will you know which trust is right for you? Consider Your Goals People who set out to develop an estate plan usually have goals in mind. Take some time to think about what you Read More

When Are Staged Withdrawal Rights a Bad Idea?

Mary wanted her children to benefit from the comfortable net worth she had built. Fortunately for them, she consulted with an estate planning attorney. She considered setting up trust funds for her children but was unsure how to handle the payouts:  outright or through staged withdrawal rights? First, What Does ‘Staged Withdrawal Rights’ Mean? Trust assets are disbursed to beneficiaries at some point. When a trust Read More

Pet Trusts: Providing for Man’s Best Friend (and Cats, Too)

Ella C. lived a long life, blessed by her family and her beloved pets. At the time of her death, two pets lived with her: Lucy, her 10-year-old Labrador Retriever, and Thor, a 2-year old Russian Blue cat. Her children knew their mother loved and pampered the animals, but they had no idea what to do with the pets after she was gone. Her estate planning made no mention of the animals, so the family did the best they Read More

Qualities to Look for in a Trustee

Edward N. faced a dilemma while preparing his estate plan. He needed to name someone to serve as trustee of his family trust. Fortunately, he had several close friends and family members who might be suitable. However, he had trouble choosing one over another. Edward wondered what qualities his trustee should possess. The first thing Edward learned is that a trustee’s duties vary. The trust document used to Read More

4 Common Estate Planning Errors and How to Avoid Them

Some mistakes don’t show up right away. When people make estate planning errors, they may never know what they did. Their loved ones will find out, though. But, there are ways to prevent errors that may cause your family unnecessary grief. It just takes some careful planning and communication. Lost Assets Martha did not trust banks. Instead of depositing her money into a checking or savings account, she hid it in Read More

Know the Facts Before You Say Yes: Agreeing to Serve as Trustee

When a friend or loved one asks us to do something, we often say yes without giving the request any deep thought. But some requests carry with them responsibility and even potential liability, like being named an agent in a durable power of attorney or the trustee to a trust. If you’re thinking of agreeing to serve as trustee, there are some important factors to consider. The trust document is a legal document Read More

What Happens to a Trust After Death?

Trusts are a common, yet diverse, estate planning tool. There are trusts for different purposes, with different terms and provisions. Some trusts, called testamentary trusts, are created by the settlor’s Will after his or her death. But many trusts are established during the lifetime of the settlor. When you consider establishing a trust, it’s important to know what happens to a trust after the death of the Read More

How and When to Revoke Estate Planning Documents

People may want to revoke their estate planning documents for a number of reasons. Perhaps you’ve become estranged from the friend or family member you named as your personal representative or agent. Or you’ve decided to give your estate assets to a new set of beneficiaries and want the change to happen now. Knowing how and when to revoke estate planning documents can save you some time and stress. How to Revoke Read More

Do You Need a Trust Protector?

Trusts have been a powerful, yet evolving, estate planning tool for a long time. As trusts have changed, the need for extra protection and a way to modify trusts became apparent. Trust protectors, sometimes also known as Trust Advisors, may meet both needs. Just as it’s important to understand the type of trust that is appropriate for you, it’s also critical to make sure you have the right people working on Read More