Estate Planning FAQs
Estate planning is a process involving the counsel of professional advisors who are familiar with your goals and concerns, your assets and how they are owned, and your family structure. It can involve the services of a variety of professionals, including your lawyer, accountant, financial planner, life insurance advisor, banker and broker. Our services provide all of these in one practice to simplify, expedite and insure your estate plan is customized to fit your needs.
What should I do if I want to use your services?
You will complete a Registration Form and then log-in information will be sent to you by e-mail so you can proceed, and so we can contact you if there are any change sin federal or state law which might affect your trust;
You will login to the system and begin the interview process which will take you screen by screen through the context sensitive question and answer process. You can save your answers and come back at a later time to finish. At the conclusion of the interview, you will have provided all the necessary information to assemble a custom estate plan for your individual situation.
What do I have to do after I create a Living Trust?
You need to make sure that you title appropriate assets in the name of the trust.Once a trust is created and funded, it will continue on until it is revoked or it is distributed pursuant to its terms. There are no on-going costs or fees to establishing a Living Trust; nor are there any separate accounting’s or tax returns required during your lifetime. IRS Regulations provide that a revocable living trust uses the tax identification number — your Social Security Number — of the Grantor as its identification number and no separate tax returns should be filed for the trust. Instructions on how to transfer or title assets into the name of the trust will be provided.
My spouse is not a US citizen, are there any special problems?
Yes. A non-citizen surviving spouse can be required to pay substantial estate taxes at the first death if a proper estate plan is not in place. Depending on the sizeof the estate, it may be necessary to have your Living Trust set up as a “Qualified Domestic Trust” to avoid the payment of any taxes at the first death. The program will create the appropriate trust for you based on the information you provide.
We are not married. Can we have a Joint Living Trust?
You have the option to prepare a Joint Trust along with all of the matching supporting documents for a “Non-traditional Couple”.
What type of Living Trust do we need?
There are a number of different trust types for a married couple; all of which are typified by the result after the first death. The factors which go into determining the correct type of trust are the size of the estate, the tax laws, the underlying ownership of the trust assets and the comfort level the couple has with the degree of control the survivor should have over the trust.
Will a Revocable Living Trust protect my assets should I have to go into a nursing home?
No. Because you maintain complete control over your assets titled in your Living Trust, those assets are considered available for your use should you have to go into a nursing home.
Will a Living Trust save on Estate Taxes?
A living or a testamentary trust may help save on taxes in certain circumstances.The estate and gift tax laws are complex and fluid. Trusts are flexible vehicles that are often used in tax planning. Your individual situation will determine what trust type, if any will help best preserve your assets.
Isn't a Living Trust only for the rich?
No. A Living Trust can help anyone protect his or her family. Any person with an estate large enough to require probate may derive meaningful benefits from a Living Trust.
Is a Living Trust valid in all States?
Yes, a Living Trust is valid in all fifty states, plus the District of Columbia.
How will I know whether I need a Will or a Living Trust?
What’s the difference between having a “Will” and a “Living Trust”?
A last will is a written document that states who you wish to be the guardians for your minor children and how you would like your assets distributed at your death.The last will names an executor to facilitate the management of your assets during the probate process
What should I consider before I begin?
- Who will be the executor of your Last Will
Who will be the successor trustee after you if you draft a trust
Who should be the Guardian for your minor children
Who will make financial decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself
Who will make health care decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself
How you want your end of life medical care handled
If you want to make any anatomical gifts at your death
How you want your estate to be distributed at your death
What happens if I don’t have a plan?
The government’s estate plan is called Intestacy and your assets will be distributed under State law. These statutes almost never match how you would have divided your assets yourself. Documents to appoint an Administrator must be filed with the Probate Court and their approval must be obtained.
Why do I need an estate plan?
A well thought out estate plan ensures that your plans for your medical care, guardianship for minor children, and management and distribution of your assets will be carried out according to your wishes and not left to the State or others to decide.
Let's Get Started
Yes, this is a big project and it can seem overwhelming. But remember why you are doing this: you love your family and you want to do what is best for them. Once your estate plan is in place, you will have the best benefit of all—peace of mind.