If you have a trust involved with your estate plan, it is likely that you have utilized a revocable trust. When you create a revocable trust when you are alive, it is called a "living trust." This type of trust is a tremendous tool that can help protect your estate (and the assets contained within) from the probate process.
Many people will eventually need a guardian as they get older. These people, called wards, are appointed (or appoint) a guardian to take care of them and make decisions for them. Though the titles involved here make it sound like some science fiction or fantasy movie, these roles are critical and very serious. When a ward has a guardian, the relationship between the two is crucial because the ward relies on the guardian to help them perform basic duties and fulfill certain tasks.
This post was inspired by a recent memorial service. The young father was a wild land firefighter - a dangerous profession. You might assume he died in a fire, but that was not the case. A fatal car crash took his life. He left behind a wife and young daughter.
Probate is an integral process to estate administration. Simply put, probate is the process of which a person's property is distributed to the appropriate parties. Probate takes some time because the wishes of the deceased person are usually outlined in a will, and then the property and assets must be collected -- before debts are paid and the beneficiaries eventually receive what the will says they should receive.
Estate planning isn't all about wills and trusts. There are two other critical pieces to the estate planning formula that every person should consider and incorporate in their plan: durable power of attorney and an advance health care directive.
Trusts are a staple of many estate plans, and they serve a very important function for a lot of people. It is very easy to be confused by a trust, even though it is a fairly straightforward legal premise. A trust is simple a property arrangement between three people. The person who owns the property, the grantor, transfers the property to the trust, which is handled by an assigned individual, the trustee. The beneficiary is the person who ultimately gets the property, but only under the conditions outlined in the trust.