If you haven’t considered using a revocable trust rather than a will as your main estate planning document, you could be making a critical mistake.
A recent MoneyWatch article, “5 reasons you need a trust, not a will,” lists five reasons for using a revocable trust as the primary method for disposing your estate.
1. Pass on assets privately, quickly and efficiently. A revocable trust as a vehicle to distribute your estate allows your beneficiaries some privacy. The trust isn’t filed with the probate court and isn’t a public document (unlike a will). Property transferred into a revocable trust during your lifetime isn’t subject to the expense and delays of probate.
2. Preserve assets for heirs and charities. Changes can be made to your revocable trust anytime. However, when you pass away, the trust becomes irrevocable. The provisions that pertain to the disposition of assets to your heirs and charities will be administered by your trustee under the trust’s terms.
3. Assets that remain in your trust after your death typically aren’t considered marital property. Those assets aren’t subject to division in a settlement if the beneficiary gets divorced. However, in many states, a divorce court may take the beneficiary’s income interest into consideration when determining the division of marital property or support obligations.
4. Retain control over distributions. A trust can contain language that says when distributions of income and principal will be available to beneficiaries, and it can have distributions for specific purposes like education or health care expenses. A trust can also include language for distributions based on attaining specific ages. For example, one-third of the principal is distributed at age 30, half at 35 and the rest at 40.
5. Distribute retirement accounts efficiently. If the trust is the beneficiary of your retirement accounts and if it is written correctly, the trustee can limit withdrawals to the retirement account’s minimum required distributions based on the life expectancy of the oldest beneficiary. This avoids the mistake of a beneficiary liquidating a retirement account and triggering a large income tax obligation.
Speak with an elder law attorney to see if this strategy will work for your specific circumstances.
Reference: MoneyWatch (September 17, 2015) “5 reasons you need a trust, not a will”
“On the threshold of retirement, we finally decided to quit thinking we could self-prepare the requisite documents. We had previously had only a very simple will. We needed the necessary legal (including updated will) & health care docs but didn’t want to deal with the time & complication of legalese. Cindy made the process relatively painless. She took the time to explain and answer questions without trying to upsell services. We were done in 2 meetings plus the reading of emailed drafts. In addition to preparing the documents, Nelson Eldercare will be there when our adult children need advice on executing the plans we’ve put in place.So glad it’s behind us and would recommend Cindy and her helpful staff.”
Cindy and her company treat their clients like family. Nelson’s offers clear, direct, and honest guidance in planning for your families security and future. No one wants to actively sit down and make these decisions, but Nelson’s makes this process seamless. I was so impressed with their willingness to answer all questions big or small. So glad I made the decision have them help my mom and dad and now me. You can’t go wrong with Nelson’s Elder Care Law.
The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!
I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.
Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.