Many of my clients come to me with Trusts that have not been funded or fully funded. What does that mean? It means they had a trust document drawn up by their lawyer in the past, but everything they own is not in the trust. Their house is not in the trust, bank and stock accounts, etc. are not in the trust. They likely did the trust to avoid probate and in fact will not only have probate, but will also have to deal with the trust, who is likely the beneficiary in the Will. What should you do to prevent this? Check out my Determining Your Net Worth hand out and make sure that everything on that worksheet is either in your trust or has beneficiaries (IRA’s, 401Ks cannot be in the trust). Is the house in the trust? Are the timeshares in the trust? What about the cars? In order to have that seamless transition you are expecting when you pass you need to make sure EVERYTHING you own has been included. It doesn’t matter how big or small that account is. The details matter. Learn more about trusts in my hand out – Trusts are they Right for Me?
– Kathryn Bedell, Esq.
Does your neighbor or best friend complain to you that if you don’t have a trust you will regret it? Everyone has heard of the word, but few people truly understand the benefits and drawbacks of trusts, let alone what kind of trust they may have. The truth is that not everyone needs a trust. The answer depends on what state you are a resident of when you die, and other factors including whether you own real estate in more than one state.
Read this handout and you will know more about trusts than that pesky neighbor who thinks you are doing everything wrong…
-Kathryn Bedell, Esq.
Advice from a Seasoned Estate Planning & Probate Attorney
1. Don’t get your estate planning documents online. I estimate that 99% of what I do is not preparing documents, but giving tailored advice for your unique situation.
2. Use online research, but only to educate yourself, as well as to compare and contrast attorneys.
3. Interview lawyers, by telephone or at your first office meeting – shop around and ask for price.
4. Make sure to use a lawyer who only focuses on estate planning.
5. If you are afraid to interview a lawyer, use word of mouth – ask your friends.
– Kathryn Bedell, Esq.