Planning Ahead

Families are becoming increasingly knowledgeable and sophisticated about estate planning. The use of revocable and irrevocable trusts is on the rise, as families are understanding the need to have an estate plan to avoid probate and family turmoil. However, having executed trust documents alone is not enough. In order to receive the benefits of the trust, including avoiding probate, a trust must be funded.  

Today, I want to address some myths about estate planning, probate, and end of life issues. Some have been mentioned before but here are my Great Eight (in reverse order):

Tax laws allow you to build a retirement nest egg in special tax-deferred accounts. The law allows you to prepare written instructions regarding medical treatment in case you become incapacitated. It allows you to appoint someone to make decisions for you if it ever becomes necessary. And it allows you to decide who will inherit your property someday. But the right to have your wishes carried out later is worthless unless you act now - while you still can.

What exactly is a revocable living trust? Should everyone have one? What does it cost to make one and how do they work? 

A revocable living trust is a trust you create during your lifetime to hold and manage your assets. A “trustee” controls the assets in the trust. Often, the person creating the trust is the trustee. When the trust estate is large and complicated, a bank or financial institution may be the trustee. The trust is revocable because you retain the power to modify it or end it during your lifetime.

Almost everyone over the age of 55 has thought about the need for long term care insurance, and most of us have questions.  Are there underwriting requirements?  Is it a good investment?  How much does it cost?  Can my premiums go up? Does it pay all long term care expenses?  What happens to me if I can’t afford it?  In this article, we will explore all those issues as well as possible alternatives to long term care insurance.

It is not too late to save for retirement. Consider depositing your earnings (up to $5,000 in 2006) into a tax-deferred Individual Retirement Account (IRA) up to age 70-1/2. As part of a “catch-up” plan, you generally can set aside more if you are 50 or older. (IRC § 219(b)(1)(A) and 219(b)(5)(A)).

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.