A Will comes into play only after you die, but a living trust can actually start benefiting you while you are still alive. A living trust is a trust established during your lifetime. Some are revocable & some are irrevocable, both of which allows for you to make varying degrees of changes, depending on your goals. You will transfer substantially all of your property into your living trust during your lifetime, and any omitted assets can be transferred into the trust at the time of death through the use of a simple Pour-over Will. You should always make a Pour-over Will at the time that you establish your trust.
A living trust will be used as the mechanism to manage your property before and after your death, as well as provide how those assets, and the income earned by the trust, are distributed after your death. If you should become incapacitated or disabled, the trust is in place to manage your financial affairs, usually by a successor trustee, if you were serving as trustee. A living trust is not subject to probate, and therefore, all provisions of the trust will remain private.
The "Right" Type of Trust Can Protect Assets from being Lost to Long Term Care
One of the biggest threats to your estate is the risk of a chronic long term care event destroying your estate at a rate of $7,000/month or more. With the help of a Certified Elder Law Attorney, the right estate plan can be developed with the right type of asset protection trust that will protect you & your estate from this very real risk. 50% of all folks over 65 will need long term care in their lifetimes.
Trusts Can Avoid Family Squabbles & Litigation Regarding An Estate Because They Help Clients Avoid Probate.
Quite simply put, people fight about money after someone passes. Probate provides the forum from which heirs can contest your wishes (in your will). Utilizing Trust planning avoids probate - and the fight. When combined with the use of an "in terrorem" clause (which says "if you argue about what I have done, you get nothing") we can avoid family infighting.
If you don’t have a plan, your state has one for you, but you probably won’t like it.
At disability: If your name is on the title of your assets and you can’t conduct business due to mental or physical incapacity, only a court appointee can sign for you. The court, not your family, will control how your assets are used to care for you through a conservatorship or guardianship (depending on the term used in your state). It can become expensive and time consuming, it is open to the public, and it can be difficult to end even if you recover. The State also has a plan for you to spend down all of your assets on long term care if you need it.
At your death: If you die without an intentional estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to the probate laws in your state. In many states, if you are married and have children, your spouse and children will each receive a share. That means your spouse could receive only a fraction of your estate, which may not be enough to live on. If you have minor children, the court will control their inheritance. If both parents die (i.e., in a car accident), the court will appoint a guardian without knowing whom you would have chosen.
If You Are Worried About Long Term Care Destroying Your Estate, We Encourage You to Learn About Long Term Care & Medicaid by Downloading One or All of Our Nine FREE Downloadable Medicaid Modules:
Module 1: Medicaid Basic Eligibility Rules
Module 2: Medicaid Income Rules
Module 3: Medicaid Asset Rules
Module 4: Medicaid Estate Recovery Liens
Module 5: Burial Allowances & Life Insurance Rules
Module 6: Medicaid Asset Transfer Rules & Penalties
Module 7: Crisis Case Examples of How We Help Families
Module 8: Pre-Planning Examples: How to Plan Ahead
Module 9: What is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) & Why Do I Need One?
Once you've learned the basics you might consider attending a free workshop, or taking advantage of a free asset protection consultation. Additionally, we offer you the ability to have us do a free asset protection analysis before you come in simply by submitting your information.