More than 125 years ago, the great Oliver Wendell Holmes had this to say about estate planning: “Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust”.
“Trusts are the most useful and unique devices available in the field of estate planning,” according to Harvey J. Platt, author of Your Living Trust & Estate Plan. “Trusts have become the superstars of estate planning,” he adds.
Platt lists some of the many ways trusts can be used, including:
- To fund a child’s education
- To provide for a spendthrift beneficiary
- Provide for a spouse that cannot manage property
- To provide continuity in case of incapacity
- Provide unusual tax benefits
- Provide for disabled persons to protect their entitlements
- To avoid probate
- To maintain control postmortem (ruling from the grave)
Our work at Geyer & Associates often includes trusts. Similar to wills, trusts allow you to designate the person in charge of administering and distributing your estate and to determine how you wish your assets to be distributed. The most common type of trust is the revocable living trust. That arrangement allows you to re-title assets to the trust’s name during your lifetime, eliminating the need for probate when you die.
As we often explain to new clients of Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates, even the most basic estate plan should include more than just a living trust. Other basic estate planning documents include:
- General Durable Powers of Attorney
- Appointments of Healthcare Representatives
- HIPAA Authorizations
- Living Wills
Documents, of course, are nothing but tools, each designed to accomplish a specific task as part of your overall plan. As Indiana estate planning and elder law attorneys, we believe a well-crafted estate plan should provide for you and for your loved ones in an effective and efficient manner, giving you the peace of mind that you’ve put a safety net in place for the benefit of the people, and possibly the charities, you care about most.
– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates blog team