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Conway Estate Planning Blog

Revocable living trusts can offer privacy benefits

The reasons that people choose to use certain estate planning tools rather than others are often unique to each person. Some individuals may feel that a simple will is enough because they do not have many assets, and some Arkansas residents may feel that trusts would help them protect their assets and express their wishes. Of course, they must determine what type of trust would work for them.

When considering a revocable living trust, it is common for people to believe that they are only for the wealthy. However, that is not necessarily the case. This type of trust can help anyone avoid probate if they wish and if they use the planning tool appropriately. Placing assets into the trust removes them from the estate, which means that they do not need to go through probate to determine successor ownership.

The advantages of a special needs trust

Estate planning isn’t just a tool for the super-wealthy to pass along their assets to future generations. It’s also crucial in providing for the future of children with special needs. Creating a special needs trust (SNT) is a good option for many families here in Arkansas.

SNTs allow families to pay for medical costs, travel, entertainment and other expenses for special needs children without jeopardizing their eligibility for government programs, such as Medicaid or Security Supplemental Income (SSI).

Trust administration could see certain complications

The many options available for estate planning make it easier for individuals to create unique plans for themselves. Many Arkansas residents choose to utilize trusts in efforts to protect their assets and to avoid probate proceedings. This tool can be immensely useful, but some parties may have questions about trust administration.

Typically, a trustmaker will name a trustee to take over after his or her passing. This individual has the duty of following any instructions relating to the trust, particularly regarding asset distribution. In some cases, trustmakers may name more than one successor trustee, but this decision could make matters more complicated as the co-trustees would need to make decisions together, which could cause delays if they do not immediately agree on how something should be handled.

Who can have control over trusts after a person's passing?

The estate planning tools that Arkansas residents use may differ depending on the specific details of their estates and their lives. However, it is usually a beneficial step to consider using trusts as part of these plans. This tool can provide a greater sense of control over assets while also providing extra protection.

When creating a trust, rather than simply leaving the assets directly to the beneficiaries of the trust, individuals can give the designated trustee discretion over when the assets should be distributed. This step can often help ensure that beneficiaries do not use the assets irresponsibly. When a trustee has discretion over distributing assets, it is possible that he or she ends up with full control. If parties do not want this to happen, they may wish to leave specific instructions under which the trustee must work while also using his or her discretion.

Don't forget the pour-over will when creating trusts

Arkansas residents often choose different estate planning tools to help them get their final affairs in order. Some parties may choose to plan simply, and others may want to ensure that they leave behind as many details as possible. Trusts are commonly used in these plans and have many benefits, but it is important to remember that other tools can help ensure that they work as intended.

Some parties may believe that they do not need a will since they have a trust. However, trusts only dictate what happens to assets that have been funded to the trust. In some cases, parties may forget to add assets to the trust, or they could pass away before adding them. As a result, any assets not in the trust would have to go through the probate process.

Arkansas estate planning: An irrevocable trust and Medicaid

Getting older can certainly put a dent in a person's pocketbook, especially if extra care is needed -- and it usually is. Aging Arkansas residents should know that living in a nursing home can be incredibly expensive – more than $80,000 a year in many cases. Medicaid usually foots the bill for 60% of that cost, so it tries to recoup the rest by making seniors spend their own assets. In order to qualify for Medicaid in the first place, a person must have $2,205 or less in income a month and $2,000 or less in assets. Proper estate planning may help.

There are certain things that count as assets and certain things that don't. Some that do include bank accounts, life insurance policies with a cash value of $2,500 or more, property (besides a primary residence and that is not for rent), and stocks and bonds. Those that don't include 401(k)s or IRAs (payouts from these, however, do count), a primary residence or rental property that is not a primary residence, personal property like jewellery, and home improvements. Medicaid will look back 60 months into a person's assets to see whether there have been any gifts given to family and friends.

The certain ways to make sure your desired heirs get the house

Inheritance can be a tricky thing. You may think you can leave whatever you want to whomever you want but it is a bit more complicated than that. It is important that you take the time to create a fool proof plan that will make sure your kids get your most valuable asset upon your passing, usually residential property.

 

Estate planning issues for international heirs living in Arkansas

America is known as the land of opportunity that has brought many people from abroad who make the country their home. Often, adult children leave their native lands to either go to school in the States or to find employment. Some of those individuals, who may be living in Arkansas, may have some issues when it comes to the estate planning efforts of their benefactors, who are usually their parents.

These international families are likely not aware of the challenges when leaving assets to family members who are in the United States. But when they plan their estates or revamp their existing estate plans, they may be able to thwart some of the issues that could arise. One of the major issues is having to pay income tax on inheritances.

What to look for in an estate planning attorney

Those who are planning their estates are likely to need help in doing so. An estate planning attorney is in a position to be able to guide a client based on his or her personal needs and the laws of Arkansas. But it is important to know what to ask a lawyer as a person begins planning an estate.

A compassionate attorney understands that it can be difficult to discuss estate planning since it forces an individual to face his or her own demise. But assets need to be managed properly in estate plans and a lawyer may be able to help an individual to ensure that. An estate plan includes very personal documents and a person should be comfortable discussing these with a lawyer.

Trusts may be helpful in Arkansas estate planning

Estate planning is crucial for every adult to consider. Having these documents in place help Arkansas residents to ensure their loved ones will be taken care of when they're no longer here. Part of a complete estate plan may mean the inclusions of different trusts that could serve specific purposes.

If a couple is married, having a trust will reduce estate taxes. It can also serve to help children financially by controlling the distribution of assets and provide for minor children in the event of a parent's or both parents' deaths. If the assets are sizable, having a trust in place could protect wealth for generations to come. Failing to consider how a trust could be helpful in the future may be an estate planning faux pas.

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