We’d like to welcome the newest member to our team, Jonathan Lounds, who is our new Law Clerk. He is currently a law student at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and will be helping with legal research and document preparation.
Whether you need a special needs trust for a person with disabilities, an educational trust for your children, or some other trust, one important question you need to answer is, “who should I pick to be the trustee?” Typically, the choice of the trustee for your particular situation starts with deciding whether to use an individual or a corporate trustee, which is usually a bank or brokerage firm. As a rule of thumb, banks and corporate trustees have pretty substantial fees so using a corporate trustee would be less glamorous for a smaller trust. Generally, I wouldn’t recommend using a corporate trustee unless your trust will have a million or more dollars worth of assets. Continue reading
Many people wanting to have estate planning documents prepared typically think of a Last Will and Testament. However, another potential way in which to plan your estate is through a Trust Agreement. What is a Trust Agreement you may ask? A trust’s primary function is to hold title to property and to provide for management of the property by a trustee. A trust can either be revocable, meaning it can be cancelled or terminated in the future, or irrevocable, meaning it cannot be terminated. Trusts can also be established during a person’s lifetime, which would be called an intervivos trust, or in a will, which is called a testamentary trust. The most common use of a trust is to manage property for the benefit of a minor child, an elderly person, or a person who is physically or mentally impaired. A trust can help avoid a guardianship, along with providing for beneficiaries who, for various different reasons, may lack the ability or knowledge to manage property on his/her own. They can also be created for potential tax or other legal benefits. Although every trust is different depending upon the particular needs of the person, most Trust Agreements share common elements and clauses. Continue reading
Many people wonder whether they should have a last will and testament or a revocable living trust established for estate planning purposes. Every person’s situation is different so what’s best for one person may not be the best for another. Some people just need a will, others will need a trust, and some may require both. In some situations, a living trust can be used as a substitute for a will, and visa versa. However, I wanted to set forth the pro’s and con’s of a will versus a revocable living trust. Continue reading
A durable power of attorney is an invaluable estate planning tool as it can be used to potentially avoid the need to have a guardian of your estate appointed if you become incapacitated. However, care must be provided in drafting a power of attorney since it is capable of being abused. A non-durable power of attorney applies only when the person who executed the power of attorney is of sound body and mind, whereas a durable power of attorney also extends to when someone is physically or mentally incapacitated. Continue reading
One thing I want to point out is that no one is too young or has too few assets to think about having estate planning documents drafted to make sure that you, your family and children are protected. The main 5 documents you may need are a Will, Trust, Living Will, Appointment of Healthcare Representative, and Power of Attorney, which I will briefly talk about in turn. Continue reading