Planning Ahead

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.

Your mother always prided herself on her ability to take care of herself and her home. Now, you are seeing changes. Bills not being paid. Clutter in a formerly immaculate home. It may be time to have that difficult conversation. But where do you start, and what assistance does the law provide?

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)).

A living will is used to express your wishes regarding end of life decisions. If you are in an accident or are terminally ill and unable to make your own decisions, such as a persistent vegetative state or coma, this document will indicate your wishes regarding your care. A living will can be used to keep you alive using machines or allow your family or guardian to terminate life sustaining care. Without a document stating your wishes your family or guardian would make the tough decisions for you. Often family members do not agree with how to handle this tough situation and in that case it is taken to court for them to decide.

A health care power of attorney, also known as a health care proxy or an advance health care directive, is a legal document that specifies a person to oversee the medical care of a person if they become incapacitated from an illness and are no longer able to communicate. This surrogate-decision maker is referred to as an agent, and is able to make decisions regarding the health of that person.

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.