Wills & Trusts
The first difference between a will and a trust is that a will comes into effect only after the individual to whom it belongs has died, where a trust becomes effective the moment it is created and funded. A will directs the beneficiaries thereof as to what they will receive upon the holder’s death and appoints a legal representative to carry out those directions. By contrast, a trust can be used to distribute property before the point of death. A trust is a legal arrangement that indicates that a legal entity or institution, a trustee, holds the title to property for a period of time until it is deemed appropriate for it to be distributed to the rightful parties, or beneficiaries. A second distinction between the two is that when property is willed to another, it must first pass through probate, meaning a court will oversee that the will is carried out properly and is legal. A trust, by contrast, is carried out outside of the courts, saving both time and money.
If a client’s needs involve creating a trust, the purposes or needs for which the trust is to be created must be clearly defined. Each trust is a unique document, generally requiring a “Quid pro Quo” , the surrender of some aspect of ownership (such as the right spend the asset itself but only retaining the interest on the asset) in order to protect the asset from being attached to pay some creditor’s obligation, (such as a Medicaid Lien)
Wills and trusts carry with them both advantages and disadvantages and it is important to consult legal counsel to ensure that you are making the right decision. (Case Studies. Read More)
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A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives one individual, an agent, the power to act on behalf of another person, the principal, in a broad spectrum of legal situations concerning property and finance. The breadth of this authority is determined by the document. A Power of Attorney is typically necessary in the event of a principal’s illness or disability, or when the principal cannot be present to sign necessary legal documents for financial transactions.
As medical sciences have increased the average person’s lifespan, it has become more and more necessary to prepare for a time in life when we face lengthy end-of-life challenges. A healthcare proxy is an individual who has been given the legal power to make medical decisions on behalf of another individual. Advance health care directives allow us to deal with these situations and without such directives, our families may find it necessary to obtain court orders to deal with our medical situations.