Without a Durable Power of Attorney, if you become incapacitated and cannot act on your own behalf, no one is legally authorized to make important decisions for you. In such a case, your family or loved ones may have to ask a judge to appoint a guardian to make legal decisions for you. To handle your financial affairs, the court may appoint a conservator to act as custodian of your property. Court proceedings to appoint guardians and conservators can be expensive and time consuming for your family.
With a comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney in place before it is needed, you can ensure that a person you know and trust will be have the power to act on your behalf when you need help.
Revocable Living Trusts are trusts that are created during the lifetime of the person creating the trust. The creator of a revocable trust, often called the Settlor or Grantor, can make changes to the terms of the trust or even revoke the trust entirely during his or her lifetime.
With a Revocable Living Trust, a settlor can continue to manage his or her own financial affairs during life, and lay out specific instructions for the use of trust assets after the settlor's death. At the time of death, this type of trust becomes irrevocable and the successor trusteee must then manage or distribute the property held in the trust according to the settlor's stated instructios. Use of a Revocable Living Trust in this manner allows the successor trustee to act without the delay or cost of probating the estate.
Additionally, the settlor of a Revocable Living Trust can nominate a trusted person to step in as successor trustee if the settlor ever becomes incapacitated. The successor trustee can then use the assets in the trust on the Settlor's behalf without the delay and expense of seeking authority from the probate court.
Trusts can be used for many purposes, including allocating assets to benefit an individual or a group of people, or to set aside assets to reduce the size of an estate for estate tax planning purposes.
Contact Attorney Russ Whynacht to discuss your situation and to determine what estate planning options are appropriate for you.
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Attorney at Law
414 County Street
New Bedford MA 02740