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trusts & trust administration Archives

Why it matters that Luke Perry had an estate plan

California residents and others have likely heard about the recent passing of actor Luke Perry. He died on March 4 of a stroke, which is incorrectly believed by some to be a condition that only elderly people are afflicted by. However, Perry had taken steps to create an estate plan prior to the stroke occurring. This allowed family members to decide to end care while in the hospital.

Trust options outstrip scientific advances for afterlife

People in California can make use of the flexibility of trusts to achieve many of their goals for after they pass away. While many people are aware of how trusts can be used to transfer funds to loved ones, support charitable contributions or establish ongoing support over generations, fewer may know that there are even more options that people can access by creating a relevant trust. For example, many people are interested in the idea of being frozen after death in the hopes that scientific technologies will later allow people to revived.

Revocable trusts as part of an estate plan

A revocable trust is not the only kind of estate planning document that California residents need. A will and powers of attorney that appoint people to manage health care decisions and finances if a person is unable to do so are also important. However, a revocable trust is a powerful document that can perform a number of different function as part of an estate plan.

Estate planning can help people in various circumstances

When people in California think about the future, some people think that an estate plan is not necessary. They may think that only extremely wealthy people need to plan to distribute their assets or plan to put it off until an older age. However, people in general can benefit from laying out an estate plan, including young, single and healthy people with relatively small assets. Even though there can be substantial benefits for loved ones and people's own peace of mind, surveys indicate that over 50 percent of adult Americans and 78 percent of millennials do not have basic estate documents like wills or trusts.

Why estate planning is important for everybody

California residents can benefit from estate planning even if they don't consider themselves to be wealthy. Not having an estate plan could leave assets in limbo, and it could cost money currently earmarked for beneficiaries to determine how they should be distributed. One of the first steps to creating an estate plan is to make use of beneficiary designations on assets such as bank accounts or retirement plans.

Trusts provide privacy and do not require probate

Trusts can support many estate planning goals for people in California. A trust creates a legal entity that can accept ownership of various assets that a person chooses to transfer into it. Significant advantages provided by trusts include the private transfer of wealth and avoidance of the public probate process.

How to decide when to tell children about a trust

Parents or grandparents in California and throughout the country generally must tell beneficiaries that they are included in a trust. However, there is no clear guideline as to when they must tell their children or grandchildren about their inheritance. As a general rule, a beneficiary must be given an annual statement by the time he or she reaches age 25. These updates are necessary to ensure that beneficiaries can protect their own interests.

Estate planning when a loved one is addicted

Many people in California have loved ones who are struggling with addictions. People often want to leave behind bequests to their family members, but wonder how to do so in a way that is responsible when the recipient has a substance use disorder. This question is increasingly common, especially as the opioid crisis has spread across the United States. In 2016 alone, over 42,000 people died as a result of opiate use, five times the death rate in 1999. Addiction can lead to difficult relationships and dangerous, even criminal, behavior, but many people love and want to support their addicted loved ones.

Possibilities with second trusts for estate planning purposes

It's not unusual for individuals in California looking to effectively manage their estate to establish a trust for this purpose. But there are times when someone with an existing trust may consider creating a second one. This brings to mind a related question - does a second trust revoke the first one? Generally, the answer is no since a trust is not like will in that a new one will not replace the original or prior one. This is because wills usually contain a clause that states that a new one revokes any prior documents of this nature.

What to know about charitable trusts

California residents who are looking to reduce their tax bill while helping an important cause could do both with a charitable trust. Legally, a charitable trust must focus on helping to solve a problem like reliving poverty or anything else beneficial to the community as a whole. As a general rule, the trustee has a fiduciary duty, which means that the person or entity overseeing it must always act in a beneficiary's best interest.

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