Article 114-Estate Planning Series: What Will Your Estate Plan Accomplish For Your Family?

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning, Probate, Trusts

For those who attend my presentations, I offer a free, no obligation estate planning audit.  There are two reasons for the audit.  First, we discuss what is accomplished with their current estate plan.  Second, we discuss whether that plan addresses the issues of concern to them. 

Often these individuals have a trust (not always created by an attorney), but have no idea why.  Perhaps they were told a trust would help them avoid going through “probate”, but they aren’t sure what they are avoiding.

Article 105-Estate Planning Series: Why You Need A Trust

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning, Trusts, Will

There are many situations in which a trust is very effective.   For example, property in a trust need not go through the cost and process of probate when you pass.

Probate is the process which permits property (such as land) owned by a deceased person to be passed on to a beneficiary.  But probate in Idaho can’t address a condo or cabin located in another state.  Those who own a home here, and a second home in Arizona, may want to put both properties into a trust and avoid paying two attorneys in two different states for probate.

Article 103-Estate Planning Series: What is Wrong with Using a Form for my Will or Trust?

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning, Trusts, Will

An effective estate plan should be as simple as possible, so long as it carries out your wishes.  However, some want you to believe that you need only purchase their “form” to have an effective estate plan.  Using this form, you are told, can save money and -- best of all -- the form is valid in all 50 states. 

If the cost of an estate plan is measured only by the cost of the document, that form will likely be cheaper.  After all, it does not attempt to account for your individual circumstances.  However, if cost includes the confidence that your estate will be carried out the way you intend, using a form may be the most expensive method of all.

Article 94-Estate Planning Series: Why We Do What We Do

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning, Trusts, Will

For my columns and presentations, I have two purposes.  First, I try to educate.  Estate planning and elder law have complex strategies and concepts.  But we can cut through much of the mystery if I can help people understand some basic concepts.  That is why, in each presentation, we talk about questions such as:  Do I really need a will?  What is the difference between a will and a trust?  Why would I need a trust?

Article 93-Estate Planning Series: This Is How a Trust Can Help Protect Your Children

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning, Trusts

A properly drafted trust can be an incredibly effective tool to use your resources in a way that will help protect children, even adult children, after you have passed away.  From what risks might they need protection?  I often refer to them as the “complications of life.”   Common examples are the devastating financial effects of debt, bankruptcy, divorce, and addictions. 

Probably the most common concern shared with me is the child who struggles with money.  While we cannot usually protect an adult child from poor choices they may make with their own money, that does not mean the money you pass on to them need be subject to those same poor choices.  It is possible to ensure your money is used to benefit your child rather than to further enable whatever struggles your child may have.

Article 92-Estate Planning Series: This Is How a Trust Can Help Protect Children or Grandchildren With Special Needs

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning, Trusts

There are many reasons I enjoy my work.  Clearly, the first is the clients with whom I have the opportunity to work.  Another significant reason is the opportunity to help clients find solutions where they may have assumed none existed.  Nowhere is this more common than a family with a special needs child or grandchild who is unable to make necessary decisions for him or herself. 

Article 90-Estate Planning Series: This Is How a Trust Can Help Protect Your Family

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning, Trusts

Last column I explained how a trust can help protect your spouse, particularly should s/he have serious health challenges and you are no longer there to ensure your assets are used for his or her care. 

There are also many ways in which a trust can help protect your children from the complications of life they may face.  One of the most stark examples was that of a widowed client.  When we met for her estate planning, she was terribly worried that her estate plan would actually hurt — rather than help — one of her two children.

Article 89-Estate Planning Series: This Is How a Trust Can Help Protect Your Spouse

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning, Trusts

Your family, like all families, must deal with the complications of life.  These are the challenges that come, usually unexpectedly, and throw a wrench in the plans we have for ourselves and our loved ones. 

I recall meeting one man overwhelmed with the challenges of taking care of his wife. She had profound dementia, and he was exhausted.  He could no longer care for her alone.

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