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Dan's Family

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Putting Assets into Trust

Dan is taking care of his daughter, Ann, after his beloved Abby’s death in a car crash.  Last week, we wrote about Dan deciding to create a trust that protects both Ann and him in the event he becomes disabled or passes away unexpectedly. 

To make his trust work, Dan needs to transfer his assets into his trust.  Most transfers are done by changing the owner of his assets to his trust, with his name as trustee instead of as an individual. 

His checking account, for example, will no longer be in his own individual name.  Instead, his monthly statement will list him as trustee of his trust.  His printed checks need not be changed, but his statement confirms that the bank paperwork has been properly changed.

Certain assets, like his life insurance, 401K plan and IRAs will not immediately change ownership.  Instead, the beneficiary designations of those items will be adjusted to name his trust rather than another person or his own estate. 

This process is often called “funding” the trust and is absolutely essential for Dan to actually receive all the important benefits of having his trust, minimizing possible guardianship in the event of disability and avoiding probate after death.

For help properly creating and funding your own trust, call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

© 2014 Gruber Law Office


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Another Option for Dan

Dan is taking care of his daughter, Ann, after his beloved Abby’s death in a car crash.  Last week, we wrote about Dan coordinating the beneficiary designations of his life insurance and 401K with his Will. 

However, Dan wonders if he should do a trust for himself right now, with a contingent trust for Ann in the future.  That way, his estate would not need to go through the probate court to get into Ann’s trust.  

More important to Dan, though, is that his trust would be in effect before his death, when it could avoid probate court while he’s still alive.

If Dan were to become disabled, his trust would allow his brother, Sam, to manage Dan’s assets to pay the necessary bills for both Dan and Ann.  And Sam would not have to petition the probate court to do it or file yearly reports with the court.

That takes care of both Dan and Ann, in the event Dan has some unexpected accident that disables him either permanently or temporarily.

Surviving spouses need to take action to protect themselves and their family in the event of another unexpected death.  For help with your own estate plan, call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

© 2014 Gruber Law Office


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

More Urgent Business for Dan

Dan is taking care of his daughter, Ann, after his beloved Abby’s death in a car crash.  Last week, we wrote about Dan working to protect Ann’s future if he were also to pass away unexpectedly.  First, he named a person to take care of Ann until age 18 or high school graduation and someone to manage her money to the age of 24 in a contingent trust in his Will. 

But a good estate plan involves more than just an effective will.  Only “probate assets” would go into the trust via Dan’s will.  Probate usually would not include his life insurance payout or 401k plan, because those are paid out according to specific beneficiary designations. 

To make his will-based estate plan work, he needs to make adjustments to his beneficiary designations.  After all, right now they still name Abby as his beneficiary, and she obviously will not be able to inherit them from the grave. 

Dan decides to name the contingent trust for Ann to be created under his will as the new beneficiary of his 401k and life insurance.  He will name Ann herself as his alternate beneficiary, in case she is already 24 years old at the time of his death.

To do this, he must obtain, complete and turn in the paperwork required by each life insurance company and his employer for his 401k plan.Surviving spouses need to take immediate action to protect their family in the event of another unexpected death by doing estate planning.  For help with your own estate plan, call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

© 2014 Gruber Law Office


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Urgent Business for Dan

Dan is taking care of his daughter, Ann, after his beloved Abby’s death in a car crash.  It would have been easier for Dan to protect Ann’s inheritance for her future if Dan and Abby had done some “just in case” planning before Abby’s death.

Fortunately, most of Abby’s property went directly to Dan, and Ann will inherit little more than a half interest in the house at age 18.  If Dan were to unexpectedly die, however, Ann would not only be an orphan, she also would inherit a very large amount of money and property at 18 if he does no planning now. 

Thus, it is particularly important for Dan to do some “just in case” planning now.  He needs to name a person to take care of Ann till age 18 or high school graduation, as well as someone to take care of her money to an older age he chooses in a contingent trust in his Will. 

Dan needs to do this as soon as possible, even before Abby’s own estate is settled.  After all, Abby’s death reminded him of how uncertain life can be, and now he is Ann’s only remaining parent. 

Surviving spouses need to take immediate action to protect their family in the event another unexpected death by doing estate planning.  For help with your own estate plan, call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

© 2014 Gruber Law Office


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Taking Care of Ann

Dan is taking care of his daughter, Ann, after his beloved Abby’s death in a car crash.  It would have been easier for Dan to protect Ann’s inheritance for her future if some “just in case” planning had been done by Dan and his wife Abby in the years after Ann’s birth before the crash.

Such planning, called estate planning, could have eliminated the requirement that Dan give Ann her inheritance directly at the age of 18, when Ann is unlikely to be able to manage the money most responsibly.

Dan could protect Ann’s inheritance better using a “contingent” trust for a minor in Abby’s Will.  The trust is called contingent because the trust would never be created existence unless Abby died before Ann turned an age specified in the Will. 

However, because Abby did pass away in the tragic crash while Ann was still a minor, any of Abby’s property left to Ann would have been placed in a specially-created minor’s trust.  And the trust could specify that Dan would keep control of the money in the trust until Ann was 25 years old.  Or Abby could choose an even older age for Ann to receive any remaining trust money.

And until Ann reached that age, the property in the trust would be protected from any creditor to whom Ann might owe money, as well as from being misspent or badly invested by Ann herself before she is a more experienced money manager.

Taking care of your family after an unexpected death can be made easier and more effective with proper planning.  For help with your own estate plan, call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

© 2014 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


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