Today’s retirees experience longer lifespans than any previous generation — the average American lives over 78 years, and there are over 2 million Americans who are over 90 years old! This means retirees are facing new threats stemming from uncovered medical and long-term care expenses. Traditional estate planning doesn’t help retirees prepare for these new and challenging retirement conditions, which may even leave a retiree headed for bankruptcy!
Most people know that a will is the document that communicates your desires for property after someone dies. When you die with a Will, you get to designate what gifts you want to make with your property. You also get to pick who you want to handle the wrapping up of your affairs and the making of your designated gifts.
Like a will, a trust outlines how a person’s property and other assets will be managed and distributed when someone dies. It also enables the person creating the trust to designate a family member or a friend to manage his or her assets during his lifetime should he become incapacitated.
To make a trust, the person creating the trust (the grantor) writes a trust document and transfers ownership of selected assets to the trust. The person also names a trustee to manage the trust for a beneficiary’s benefit.
A living trust begins during the grantor’s lifetime. The grantor can appoint himself as the initial trustee so that he can manage the trust property himself. If the grantor names himself or herself as trustee, then the grantor also must appoint a successor trustee to manage the trust and distribute its assets after the grantor becomes incapacitated or dies.
A revocable trust can be amended at any time as long as the grantor has capacity to do so. An irrevocable trust cannot be amended.
Life Point Law’s experienced team of Elder Law attorneys use a unique approach to helping our clients navigate long term planning, including legal, financial, housing and care coordination. Our holistic approach looks at the whole picture of a client’s situation so that they can make a plan to live their retirement years in the way that they desire.