Build Your Estate Plan On A Solid Foundation Of Wills And Trusts
While a complete estate plan contains a range of documents and legal instruments, wills and trusts are often the most important ones. These two resources can protect your assets and your loved ones, now and in the future. Sometimes, wills and trusts work together, while in other cases, one is preferable over the other. It’s not always easy to determine what is most appropriate for your estate plan, but attorneys at Dumont & Watson, P.C., are here to help.
Our firm has been serving the elder law needs of New Jersey and Pennsylvania clients since 1986, and our two attorneys have 60 years of combined legal experience. They take the time to learn about your needs and goals; then, they help you choose and create customized estate planning tools to meet them.
Estate Planning Tools Customized For You And Your Family
Wills can and should be tailored to your unique circumstances. When it comes to trusts, you may be surprised how many options there are to meet specific objectives, such as probate avoidance, tax reduction and asset protection. Our elder law attorneys can help you choose and create the right tools for your estate plan, including:
- A last will and testament
- A living will (advance directive) along with a health care proxy
- Special needs trusts (first-party as well as third-party special needs trusts)
- Irrevocable living trusts
- Revocable living trusts
- Qualified income trusts
People who have family members with special needs frequently provide financial support for them well into adulthood. If you’re concerned about your loved one’s well-being now and after you are gone, we are here to help. We will draft a special needs trust that provides a solid financial foundation for them and peace of mind for you. We have extensive experience creating legal instruments tailored to each family’s circumstances and objectives.
Understanding Revocable And Irrevocable Trusts
Trusts can be either revocable or irrevocable, and it is important to understand the differences, advantages and potential disadvantages of each type. Revocable trusts can be changed or dissolved by the grantor at any time. On the other hand, an irrevocable trust typically cannot be altered but can provide tax advantages not available with a revocable trust.
Attorney Alexander Watson can create a revocable living trust for you that allows you to place your assets in trust while maintaining access to them for the remainder of your life. Once you pass away, the property left in the trust goes directly to your designated beneficiaries.
Our firm develops trusts that accomplish a wide array of estate planning goals in addition to helping your family avoid probate. We help many clients create trusts for reasons such as:
- Minimizing assets for tax purposes, credit shelter or benefit eligibility. You can rely on us for counsel regarding irrevocable trusts that reduce anticipated estate taxes, protect assets for your children and grandchildren, and obtain Medicaid eligibility. For example, an irrevocable life insurance trust removes insurance proceeds from the estate while managing its use for your spouse, children and grandchildren.
- Funding a charitable cause. Putting some of the wealth you’ve earned toward a worthy cause can be a useful device. It provides a stream of income for the rest of your life while getting a deduction for the gift to a charity.
- Maintaining control over when funds are delivered and how they are spent. With an inheritance, heirs have full control over assets bequeathed to them. You might prefer that a beneficiary meet certain conditions or reach a certain age before collecting what you’ve left them. Our firm can help you accomplish this by putting a trustee in charge of distributing assets based on your instructions. Mr. Watson can also develop an instrument that directs how funds can be spent.
The trust creator, sometimes referred to as the “grantor,” can set conditions that suit their needs and name the trustee, who has a fiduciary duty to see that the terms of the trust are fulfilled. In living trusts, the grantor often also serves as trustee.
Contact Us Today To Get Started
Is estate planning worth it? It is when you consider that a little bit of planning at a reasonable cost could save thousands of dollars and a lot of wasted time and court appearances. The time and money you invest now could benefit your family for generations to come.
When you’re ready to discuss your estate planning needs, contact our attorneys at Dumont & Watson, P.C., to take advantage of a free initial consultation. To get started, reach out online or call 609-991-7707.