Revocable Living Trust Attorneys in Valencia and Oxnard
Do You Have the Right Revocable Living Trust Plan?
In the world of living trusts, one size truly does not fit all. An estate
plan for a young family should be completely different than an estate
plan for those in the prime of their life, which incidentally, is totally
different than an estate and elder law plan for seniors. For example,
young families should seriously think about having a Guardian Angel Trust™
set up for their children if the unthinkable occurs and both parents predecease
their kids at a young age.
What is a Guardian Angel Trust™?
With a Guardian Angel Trust™ (“GATs”), parents can designate
guardians, trustees, and protectors for their kids. Having a “panel
of advisors” makes sure that until your youngest child reaches a
certain age, all trust assets are held for the common benefit of all children.
That means that one of your kids may get “more,” but that's
probably what you would've wanted (for instance, you'd likely pay a lot
for one child to receive costly medical treatments, if they needed it)
in certain circumstances. Also, with a GAT, your kids can still access
trust assets for their wellbeing, as well as have the ability to receive
an “advance” on their inheritance for certain reasons, such
as a down payment on a home or help paying for a wedding. Finally, once
your youngest child reaches the target age, the trust is split equally
among all children. From there, parents designate yet another age —
when the children are more mature — to receive the funds outright.
Before the second designated age, however, the trust morphs into an
asset protection trust so divorcing spouses, ex-business partners, a bankruptcy court, and all
other potential creditors or predators, cannot reach the assets in your GAT.
For people in the prime of their lives and their older children, excellent
estate plans tend to focus less on kids’ protection planning and
more on probate avoidance, asset protection, and distributing your estate
in a manner that reduces the potential for conflict among family members.
Drafting such a plan requires an attorney to conduct an in-depth analysis
of personal family dynamics so they can tailor a very specific trust that
addresses family concerns with laser precision.
Estate Planning for Elderly People
When it comes to seniors, experienced elder law attorneys understand that
estate plans are (or should be) totally different. Recently many trust
and tax laws have changed, which makes most estate plans of individuals
over the age of 65 completely out of date. For instance, if you executed
an estate plan before 2013, chances are, your estate plan needs a complete
overhaul for tax, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and VA pension
benefit reasons. How could that be? For starters, death tax laws are much
more liberal than in the past. Today, many couples have an AB-type living
trust plan (a living trust that divides into sub-trusts after the death
of the first spouse), which needlessly causes extra administration as
well as legal and accounting fees when one spouse passes away.
Even if couples (or a single individual) have a “simple” trust,
that trust is most likely focused on the issues surrounding what happens
when the settlor (the person who set up the trust) dies or becomes incapacitated,
which incidentally, is probably a good start for persons under the age
of 65. While the question of what happens when we die is a crucial one
to ask, the more important question seniors should be asking themselves
is what happens if I live? In other words, how am I (and my loved ones)
going to deal with the emotional, physical, and financial burdens of my
aging and long-term care needs?
These are the issues that elder law attorneys face every day. So, what
does a senior-focused estate plan look like? For starters, financial powers
of attorney allow agents to maneuver an estate so a person can qualify
for government benefits such as
VA aid and attendance pension benefits, where appropriate. Estate and elder law attorneys also focus on asset
preservation trusts that not only avoid probate and say who gets what
after you are gone, but also help seniors continue to live in the environment
and conditions that they want in their retirement years while preserving
assets for their loved ones.