Article 95-Estate Planning Series: The Simple First Step to Peace of Mind

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning

A year ago I wrote about a man who passed suddenly and unexpectedly. 

His assets were not insignificant and he was concerned how they would be used after his death.His first concern was that the money be available to assist his spouse.  However, he also felt it better that someone besides her control how the money be used for her benefit.  This is not an unusual  concern when a spouse is dealing with dementia or some of the mental frailties of age.

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 91-Estate Planning Series: Why Every Spouse Needs to Know About Estate Plan Protections for Blended Families

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning

Even if you are in a solid first marriage, it is important to be aware how blended families can create unique estate planning issues.  Why? Consider the following example.  You pass away before  your spouse and children.  Like most people, you want what you left behind to be available for your spouse, and then ultimately pass to your children.

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.

Article 88-Estate Planning Series: This Is How a Trust Can Protect Your Estate

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

An estate plan is not effective if your assets do not end up with the people you want in the circumstances you want.  However, life’s complications have a way of interfering.  Although a will can ensure your assets go to the people you want to receive them, a trust can help ensure those assets are protected from unintended results. 

Article 87-Estate Planning Series: This Is What a Trust Can Do For You

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

Last column I explained the basic difference between a Will and a trust.  In essence, a Will simply identifies who you want to receive your  assets at your passing.  However, a trust allows much more control over how your assets will be used to address circumstances specific to your family.   More on this to come.

There are many other situations in which a trust is very effective.   For example, those who wish to avoid “probate” can use a trust to hold their assets.  This is especially effective if you own land in more than one state.  A trust can help you avoid paying for probate in two different states.

Article 86-Estate Planning Series: Do I Need a Will or a Trust?

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

Most people understand the basic purpose of a Will.  It is the document most people use to instruct who will receive their assets when they die.  A Will may be sufficient to address the assets that make up the estate of many people.  (However, as I have discussed previously, a Will alone is not sufficient to address all the issues that should be considered as part of an estate plan). 

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