A trust can be an invaluable addition to any estate plan; however, a trust is only as valuable as the grantor makes it. For this reason, you should use care when making important decisions relating to the trust, such as who you decide to appoint as trustee. Although you may initially lean toward appointing a family member, an independent trustee may be a better choice. People often consider appointing a spouse or adult child as trustee because it seems the easy, logical choice. Only a family … [Read more...] about Choosing a Trustee – Why an Independent Trustee May Be Your Best Choice
People often come into estate planning attorneys' offices knowing that they would like to get a Living Trust. These are popular instruments for estate planning because they often have tax and probate-avoidance advantages. However, what people do not always know is that not all Living Trusts are exactly the same. The "Living" in the title does not tell you as much as some people think. First, there are two basic categories of Trusts: Living and Testamentary. All these categories tell you is when … [Read more...] about Different Types of Living Trusts
It is obvious that different cultures have different ways of doing things and different ways of looking at the world. These differences often lead to radically different ways of thinking and reasoning about what is right. They also lead to entirely different ways of handling legal affairs. Consider, for example, how our estate laws would look if we did not have Trusts. Some cultures do not have Trusts, at least that is an argument that is currently playing itself out in Hong Kong's courts. … [Read more...] about Chinese Trusts?
No one knows that life isn't fair more than people who have faced discrimination because of who they are. We have come a long way in this country towards ending this discrimination, but we all know that it continues. LGBTQ couples and individuals are constantly having to fight for their basic rights. Most of the fights today are over the right to get married. However, there is an interesting twist to that fight in a challenge over a New York Will. Frank Mendelbaum passed away a wealthy man … [Read more...] about Fighting Discrimination
Have you considered what to do after you get a Revocable Living Trust? If you are like most people who have estate plans, than you probably do have a Revocable Living Trust. However, you need to have a plan in place for what comes next. Just getting the Trust itself does not do anything unless you follow through with a more complete plan. The first thing you need to do is to fund the Trust. You need to transfer your assets to the Trust. The attorney who drafted the Trust for you probably told … [Read more...] about After Getting a Trust
Do you want to get a Revocable Living Trust? Do you need one? These are two of the most common questions that people ask themselves when they are planning their estates because Revocable Living Trusts are very popular estate planning instruments. The answers to the questions are not a simple matter of asking what other people have done, however. Instead, you need to determine what you want to accomplish with your estate plan first. Then, you can answer the questions. If your primary goal in … [Read more...] about Do You Need a Revocable Living Trust?
You might think you know what you need in your estate plan. You may have even read some information online from some company that wants to sell you forms that they claim are all you need. Before you buy those forms, you should consider a few things first. The law in every state is different. Online companies know that, but their forms barely scratch the surface of accounting for the differences. A form that might be perfect for New York. might be completely invalid in Texas. However, online you … [Read more...] about Good Estate Planning Requires an Attorney
If you’re the parent of a child with special needs, and your child receives government benefits because of his or her disability, then simply leaving an inheritance to your child through your will is not enough to take care of him or her. In fact, planning your estate in this way might do more harm than good. Why? Because, as you know, your child is only allowed to have very limited assets. So, even if you leave him or her a small inheritance, say, $5,000, your child can lose essential … [Read more...] about Have a Child With Special Needs? You Need More Than a Will