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What Sort of Estate Plan DO I Need?

Trustee qualitiesDo I need a trust?

A trust is a legal vehicle for managing financial assets for the benefit of you and/or someone else. The property owner (the grantor or settler) transfers legal ownership to the trust, and a person or institution (the trustee) manages that property for the benefit of the beneficiary. It sounds pretty clear-cut, but it can get complicated.

There are some misconceptions about trusts, which can lead to them being unused or misused.  Here are several common misconceptions about trust:

Trusts are used primarily to save on estate taxes. This depends on the type of trust and the size of the estate. A trust may impact estate taxes, but that’s determined by the tax law in effect at the time the grantor dies. The same is true of income taxes.

My estate is too small for a trust. Regardless of the estate size, trusts can be used to manage assets and control their distributions in a private way. This is because they aren’t public like probate court. A trust can contain provisions to manage your assets if you become incapacitated and are no longer capable of doing so yourself.

Trusts limit your flexibility. This is not necessarily true. It is because a revocable trust can remain under your control as trust creator and be modified as you want in your lifetime.

You must designate a friend or relative as trustee. Perhaps. The trustee must manage and distribute trust assets according to the terms of the trust.  However, not everyone is up to the task of being a trustee. Designate a successor trustee, in case the primary trustee is unable or unwilling to serve.

A trust will protect you from creditors. Some trusts are specifically designed to protect a grantor from creditors, but not all of them do this. Asset protection can be very complicated and expensive.  Therefore, if you need to have these protections, work with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Reference: WMUR (September 14, 2017) “Money Matters: Five misconceptions about trusts”

 

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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
  • Live video workshops will be produced as quickly as possible and certainly ahead of our previous schedule; we will keep you posted as these events become available. Given the ‘boutique’ nature of the firm, we rarely have more than ten people in our office including team members at any one time. During this period of ‘social distancing,’ we promise to have no more than 8 people at any time.   This allows us to comply with the Governor’s directive to limit in-person gatherings.
  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
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Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Coronavirus/Covid-19
Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.