Funding your Trust is critical to having a successful outcome to your estate plan. Goals of a Trust When an individual implements their estate plan, they usually have one or more goals they are looking to accomplish. For example, a…
Kelly is 24 years old. She is on the autism spectrum and is receiving SSI. She is doing her best to be independent, but the monthly stipend is limited and it is difficult to live on her own with minimal…
Recently I received a call from a long-time client in a complete panic. She had been talking to her friend about the planning that they each implemented and the friend insisted that the client established the wrong trust for her…
Often times when clients make an appointment with our law firm, they have a very specific estate planning concern or issue. They may have a particular focus in mind, such as updating a will or avoiding probate. With a plethora of details to consider, it is often challenging for individuals to adequately address all aspects of their personal “big picture”, i.e. their complete estate.
People often wish to leave money to charities. This blog contains real-world scenarios in which individuals leave assets to charities:
Example #1: Tom has no children and no living relatives. His net worth is about 10 million dollars. Realizing his estate would be taxable, he wanted to strategically make a bequest to his alma mater, the church that he attends, and a hospital that he credits with saving his life.
He contacted his alma mater to inform them of his intentions. He signed a letter of intent specifying the dollar amount of the gift he intended to leave. As a result, the college named an endowment after him, with the funds to be used to create a scholarship.
He spoke with the pastor at his church about his intentions, and he was able to hear about the good work that the church will be able to do as a result of his gift.
A question clients often ask is, “What happens to my assets when I die?”
The answer to that popular question depends on what you do while you are alive.
When you die, your assets are essentially bulked into two general categories: (1) Non-Probate Assets; and (2) Probate Assets.
In order to determine if something is a non-probate or probate asset, you must look at the way in which the asset is owned.
Recently, we resolved a case regarding a Medicaid nursing home application for a 62-year-old woman, Jane, who suffered a severe stroke in 2011. A healthy woman otherwise, Jane had no health issues prior to suffering the stroke. Unfortunately, she also had no advance directives (health care proxy or durable power of attorney).
It is important to understand the ownership of assets such as bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts, CDs and life insurance policies.
When a new client meets with an estate planning attorney, the first few questions the attorney will ask are:
- What type of accounts are owned?
- Are they owned individually or jointly?
- Is there a beneficiary?