The Long Beach estate planning attorneys at our firm always emphasize the importance of personalized attention for a number of different reasons. First, there is no one-size-fits-all estate plan that is right for everyone, so your plan should be custom crafted to suit your needs.
Secondly, you may be under the assumption that you have some type of unusual situation that you want to address, but there is no appropriate tool in the estate planning toolkit. In fact, this is usually not the case. In this post, we will look at a couple of situations that can be effectively resolved through the utilization of little-known estate planning devices.
It is no secret that a very significant percentage of elders experience loneliness at some point in time. They no longer work and interact with coworkers daily, and many are widows or widowers. In a lot of cases, the family doesn’t have a lot of time to spend with these seniors.
Pet ownership can be the ideal solution on a number of different levels. The companionship situation can be immediately eradicated, but that’s not all. When you have a dog, you have to get your animal out for walks, and that’s good for your own health.
In addition to the obvious physical health benefits, physicians have long espoused the mental health advantages of pet ownership. Plus, you can make acquaintances that light up your day at the dog park or wherever you may take your fine furry friend.
In addition to these upgrades to your life, a dog can act as a protector, even if it’s only a small breed that barks when something unusual is going on outside the door.
All of the same benefits are not there when you have a cat rather than a dog. At the same time, there are not as many responsibilities, and the fact that you have a dependent of sorts in your home depending on you for everything can give you a sense of purpose.
For many people, this is an instance of preaching to the choir, but there is a pragmatic concern: People live much longer than dogs and cats, so longevity is going to be a factor to take into consideration.
Fortunately, there is a solution that can be embraced here in California and many other states in the union. It is possible to create a pet trust for the benefit of a dog, a cat, or another type of animal. The way that it works is you fund the trust, and you name a trustee to administer it after you are gone. Of course, the pet would be the first beneficiary.
In the trust declaration, you can leave specific instructions regarding the way that you want the animal to be cared for when the time comes. They can be general, or you can establish meal times, types of food, treats, an exercise schedule, etc.
You would name a successor beneficiary in the trust declaration, so you would not have to worry about over funding the trust. After the death of your beloved pet, the successor would become the beneficiary of the trust. The exact terms with regard to how you want the trustee to move forward after that would be up to you.
Protecting a Spendthrift
Some people have concerns about the money management capabilities of a family member. You may have a loved one that has frequently come to you for financial assistance, and this person will be on your inheritance list. However, if the money is spent too quickly, the spendthrift inheritor will have nowhere to turn going forward.
You don’t have to roll the dice and hope for the best under these circumstances. There are a couple of different ways to approach the inclusion of a spendthrift provision. One possibility would be to create a revocable living trust and add this type of provision. After you die, the trust would become irrevocable, and the trustee would have no access to the principal.
Any creditors of the trustee would not have additional benefits that are not enjoyed by the trustee, so the corpus would be protected. However, the trustee could distribute assets from the trust to the beneficiary incrementally over an extended period of time at a pace that you decide upon when you establish the trust declaration.
It should be noted that creditors can go after money and/or property that was in the trust after it has been distributed to the beneficiary.
Attend an Upcoming Seminar!
We would like to invite you to attend one of the seminars that we have scheduled over the coming weeks. The curriculum has been carefully prepared, and we are excited about the manner in which we will convey this information in a concise, understandable form. To get all the details, visit our seminar page and follow the instructions to register for the session that works for you.