Good Reasons to Plan Your Estate (Part Two)

  1. Protects your assets from being eaten up by long-term care costs. No estate plan is complete without a plan to protect it from having to "spend down" your assets if you need care at home or a nursing home. If you don't qualify for long-term care insurance, due to medical or economic reasons, you should consider setting up trusts to protect your assets from long-term care costs.
  2. Allows you to protect the inheritance from children's divorces, lawsuits and creditors. With middle class people often leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars to their children, doesn't it make sense to protect the inheritance from the high rate of divorce? By leaving assets to your children in an Inheritance Protection Trust, you may not only protect them from a divorce but, in many cases, also from creditors in the event your son or daughter ever gets sued.
  3. Makes sure your estate will pass by blood instead of by marriage. Most estate plans leave the money to the children. So let's say that you have left $250,000 to your son and $250,000 to your daughter. Now if they die (remember this is after you're gone) who inherits from them? In many cases it's your son-in-law or daughter-in-law. Can they get remarried and share your $250,000 with a complete stranger? Sure. Happens all the time. By leaving your assets in a trust for your children, you can give them complete control over their inheritance (so you're not "ruling from the grave") while at the same time providing that, when they die, whatever they didn't spend goes to your grandchildren.
  4. Guarantees you will be protected if you become disabled. An ever-increasing percentage of people today have a period of disability before they die. Without a plan, you risk getting the state's plan where they appoint a legal guardian for you who (1) may be a stranger (2) may change your investments (3) may be unable to protect your assets if you need long-term care, and (4) may make it difficult to get back control of your assets if you recover from your disability. When you set up a living trust, you avoid a guardianship proceeding, put the persons you choose in control and allow them to transfer and protect assets.
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