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Estate Planning FAQs

November 28, 2017, on FAQs |

Does Everyone Need a Trust?

No, but everyone needs an estate plan. It is important to assess your situation to determine your particular needs.

How Do I Know if I Need a Will or a Trust?

A Will-based estate plan is appropriate for individuals with simple estates – for example, those who are just starting out with little in the way of assets, or older people who have begun divesting themselves of assets.

A Trust-based plan is essential for people who do not want to send their loved ones through probate – for example, single parents, married couples with children, blended family, parents of a child with special needs, business owners, individuals who own multiple properties, individuals with numerous financial assets, or individuals who need to protect their assets from heirs who lack good judgment, and individuals that have no beneficiaries.

What is a Pour-Over Will?

A Pour-Over Will is the type of Will used in a Trust-based Estate Plan. The Pour-Over Will is a safety net to ensure that all of your property is controlled by your Trust. Essentially, it states that all of your assets “pour over” into the Trust.

I Have Minor Children. How do I Make Sure They Will Be Taken Care Of?

In your Will, you will designate a guardian(s) that could step in to raise your minor children in the event of your death. In addition to that, however, a Trust-based plan allows you to make specific provisions for the care of your child(ren). We also recommend parents consider our Family Response Plan  which is a set of documents that plan for the care of your child(ren) in the event you are temporarily unable to be there (e.g., you are on vacation or involved in an emergency situation).

How Do I Get My Assets into the Trust?

Moving assets into a Trust is called “funding the trust.” This is a critical piece of a Trust-based Estate Plan and our office will ensure that your funding is complete.

How Often Do I Need to Change My Estate Plan or Trust?

An Estate Plan is a living, breathing document. Therefore, your plan should be revisited every three to five years, or sooner in the event of a major life event such as change in marital status, adoption or birth of a child, change in financial status, etc. Plans should also be reviewed to see if any changes in the law necessitate a revision. We provide a complimentary review of your plan every three years.

If I Have a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a General Power of Attorney, Can I Change My Appointed Agent?

Yes, you need to revoke the prior document and then create and properly implement a new one.

I Currently Care for a Special Needs Child. Do I Need a Different Trust?

Yes, depending on your needs and the needs of your dependent, a special needs trust is necessary to protect Medicaid benefits and personal assets to care for your dependent.

Estate Planning is an important, yet complex arena – one best handled by an experienced Fairfax estate attorney.  If you have other questions, contact Rhonda today to schedule a consultation.