Can I Prevent My Children From Fighting Over My Personal Assets After I Die?

Chances are, you own items of personal property that have monetary and sentimental value, such as jewelry, antiques, art, heirlooms, furniture, and sporting goods that you want a certain child, grandchild, relative, friend, charity, or other organization to receive after your death. Perhaps you are not concerned about the distribution of certain items, but would like harmony in the way distributions are made and want to provide for some orderly way for your belongings to be divided after you are gone to avoid the horror stories that you have heard.  Frequently, experience in your own family about heirs fighting over...Read More

Special Needs Trust – What Can I Do For My Child?

Several clients ask what they can do for a child who qualifies for means-based government assistance due to a disability.  The simple answer is a Special Needs Trust, sometimes referred to as a Supplemental Needs Trust.  The primary purpose of a Special Needs Trust is to shelter assets that will sustain an improved quality of life for the beneficiary, with provisions that maintain the beneficiary’s eligibility for governmental benefits. There are two main types of special needs trusts, a Self-Settled Special Needs Trust and a Third Party Special Needs Trust.  There are several rules that apply to Self-Settled Special Needs...Read More

Corporate Trustee Considerations – Revocable Trust

When creating a trust, there are two basic choices for a trustee: (1) an individual; or (2) a corporate entity.  In our last article, we addressed the individual trustee and factors to consider when choosing an individual trustee.  In this article, we review factors to consider when choosing a corporate trustee. There are three basic types of corporate trustees: (1) Bank Trust Departments.  The bank trust department is the traditional full service corporate trustee with fee schedules for their services as trustee. (2) Brokerage Firm Trust Departments. Most major national brokerage firms have in-house trust departments that combine the continued...Read More

Individual Trustee Considerations – Revocable Trust

When considering an individual trustee for your revocable trust, always consider whether the individual can perform the duties and has the time and integrity to do the job.  Following is a list of factors to consider when deciding upon an individual successor trustee for your revocable trust: 1.  Honestly and integrity. The most important qualification of a trustee is the trustee’s honesty.  A trustee must work to a standard higher than is commonly seen in business today. 2.  Investment experience. The trustee is responsible for all investment decisions of the trust.  The individual trustee must have an appropriate level of...Read More

Estate Planning: … Do I Really Need a Lawyer?

In the world of Do-It-Yourself, does it make sense to retain an attorney to complete your estate planning?  We are all aware of the availability of legal documents on the Internet and the ease with which you can purchase a legal package to complete your own Will and some related documents. I read an article in a reputable business magazine a few years ago in which the writer evaluated five different Will packages she obtained from the Internet or the local office supply.  All of the Will packages were recommended as legal in her state.  After completing the five Will...Read More
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