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Throughout our combined years of practice, we have found that many people still come to us with misconceptions about how trusts function. Some believe that trusts are only for the wealthy or that a simple will can meet their estate planning needs. While both of these may be true to an extent, trusts can do much more than many people realize.

Here are three ways that a person of any financial background can benefit from a revocable living trust

Probate Avoidance

Every adult should have a will, even if only to make end of life wishes clear. However, merely having a will does not offer the full range of benefits that a person can enjoy. It is also important to keep a will updated regularly to address any life changes that may affect the will.

If you recently experienced a significant life event and already have a valid will, you should review the document to make sure that all of the information within it and the wishes that you lay out remain relevant to your circumstances. If you do not, you may find that your will creates conflicts for your loved ones and beneficiaries after you pass away.

It is always wise to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you assess your circumstances and keep your will updated and comprehensive. An experienced estate planning attorney can advise you about potential conflicts that your will may create for others, as well as help you protect your own interests.

It doesn’t matter if you’re creating your first estate plan or reviewing something you already have in place, you should do whatever it takes to make all the right decisions.

One mistake, even if it seems inconsequential, can have a negative impact on you and/or your loved ones.

No two people take the exact same approach to estate planning, so you can’t follow in another’s footsteps. You need to pave your own path to ensure that your plan is exactly what you want it to be.

If you’re planning to have a baby, then you also need to have a will. The most important reason why relates to the unlikely event that you and the other parent die. A last will and testament will dictate who shall serve as the guardians of your children if you and the other parent of your child are no longer able.

In addition to indicating who will be the guardian of your child in the case of incapacitation or death, wills offer other important benefits to parents.

Other arguments for parents to write a will

Do you want to leave it all to your pet? It may surprise you that pets cannot own assets or inherit money. But you can appoint a caretaker to take on your pet’s ownership and maintenance needs if something happens to you by setting up a pet trust.

What is a pet trust?

A pet trust is a legal document that lays out your wishes for your family pet. The trust also sets aside money to be used for the needs of the pet. This enables you to have a say in what will happen to your pet if you become disabled, died or otherwise cannot take care of your animal.

Your health care decisions are important matters that can have a big impact on your final days. When it comes time to make those decisions, there is a chance that you won’t be able to make them on your own. This is often the case if your mind isn’t what it used to be.

If this occurs, you need to have someone ready to make decisions for you. This person needs to be able to make the decisions that you would want made. It might be difficult for you to determine who you want to decide these important matters, as your close family members might understandably want to do whatever they can to save your life.

How can you appoint a person to handle these decisions?

There are many reasons why choosing a guardian for your child is easier said than done. Among them is the fact that you need to think about what you want to happen in the event that you are no longer around to raise your child.

Choosing a guardian for your child sounds easy enough, until you actually sit down to make a final decision. At that point, you realize that you can’t just choose the first person who comes to mind. Instead, you need to consider all your options with the idea that you can’t make a poor decision.

Here are a handful of tips that can put you on the right path:

You have a lot going on in your 20s, but you may soon come to find that creating an estate plan would be in your best interest.

For example, if you have children, you don’t want to be without an estate plan. Doing so is a big risk that you shouldn’t be willing to take.

Fortunately, once you know what goes into creating an estate plan, everything will come together. Here are some tips for getting started:

When creating an estate plan, it’s easy to focus on what will happen to your assets upon your death. For example, you need to decide on who gets what.

However, there’s something you may be overlooking: your pets.

Many people are unfamiliar with the fact that they have the opportunity to create a pet trust. While many people believe that providing for their pets in a will is good enough, this is not always the case.

For many people, estate planning comes down to one thing: deciding if they should create a will or trust.

While this is a big decision, you don’t want to stop there. You need to push further, which means learning more about the benefits of a durable financial power of attorney.

As complicated as this sounds, it’s anything but that. With a durable financial power of attorney, you’re granting another person the power to manage your finances if you are unable to do so as the result of incapacitation.

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