What You Need to Know About Beneficiary-Controlled Trust

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Would you like to provide your children or loved ones with an inheritance but protect them from the risks that may accompany a large windfall? If so, you can create a beneficiary-controlled trust in which the person you name as the trust’s primary beneficiary has rights, benefits, and control over the property held by the trust, but with important protections. …

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Have You Chosen the Right Trustee?

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Whether you are reviewing your existing trust or creating a new trust, you should understand the important role that a trustee plays not only in handling trust matters but also in providing for and protecting your loved ones. What is a trust? A trust is an agreement between an owner of accounts and property (trustmaker) and another person (trustee) who …

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How Much Authority Does a Trustee Have Over the Stuff in My Trust?

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A trustee is a person or entity responsible for managing and administering your trust according to your instructions and in accordance with state law. They are considered a fiduciary (meaning they are held to a higher standard of care and owe certain duties to the beneficiaries). As a fiduciary, a trustee must protect the trust’s investments and act in the …

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Watch Out for Stolen Items in Your Loved One’s Estate

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Your family member went through a meticulous estate planning process to organize and distribute money and property for the benefit of their loved ones, including you. But you may suspect that some of the high-value items in their estate originated as stolen property. The possibility of discovering stolen items within an estate is often overlooked, but it can have legal, …

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I’m a Survivor . . . and Now I Have My Own Trust?

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Many married couples share almost everything, including finances. This may be reflected in their estate plan by using one joint living trust instead of two separate trusts. Separate trusts can provide greater flexibility, but a joint trust can be structured so that when one spouse passes away, the trust is split into two subtrusts: a survivor’s trust and a decedent’s …

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Can Artificial Intelligence Programs Write Basic Estate Planning Documents?

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With the increased coverage of artificial intelligence (AI) and all of the applications it can have in our everyday lives, some people may wonder whether an AI program can create an estate plan for them. While AI may be able to generate basic estate planning documents, including wills and trusts, there is no guarantee that they will be valid and …

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5 Good Reasons to Decant a Trust

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Today, many estate plans contain an irrevocable trust that will continue for the benefit of a spouse’s lifetime and then continue for the benefit of several generations. Because trusts like these are designed to span multiple decades, it is important that they include trust decanting provisions to address changes in circumstances, beneficiaries, and governing laws. What is trust decanting? When …

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Ask Cari: What Is the Last Surviving Spouse Rule?

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Estate planning can be a significant part of successful financial management, especially for married couples. One key consideration is minimizing estate taxes, which can substantially affect the distribution of money and property to a married couple’s loved ones. What Are Gift and Estate Taxes? In 2024, a $13.61 million federal exemption per person for gifts and estate taxes means many …

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Ask Cari: What Happens to My Twitch Account When I Die?

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In the digital age, our online presence extends beyond social media. Platforms like Twitch, where users engage with live-streamed content, present unique considerations when it comes to estate planning. Do you know what happens to a Twitch account after an individual passes away? If you die and a loved one needs to take care of your estate, the following information …

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Nonjudicial Settlement Agreements: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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Some trusts are irrevocable as soon as they are created, which means that, in general, the trustmaker (the person who created and funded the trust) cannot terminate or modify it and take back the money or property that it holds. You may wonder why anyone would want an irrevocable trust, but irrevocable trusts can provide some very important benefits, particularly …

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Ask Cari: Can a Trust Own My Business after I Die?

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In general, the answer to the title question is yes, your trust can own your business after you die. However, there are a number of considerations that may impact the answer to this and the following questions. One consideration is the type of business interest you own. Is your business a limited liability company (LLC), a partnership, a corporation, or …

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Estate Planning for Expatriates

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The United States hosts the highest number of immigrants in the world, but increasingly, Americans say they are looking to relocate permanently to another country. A large percentage of wealthy Americans are also interested in buying real estate overseas and living there at least part-time. While moving overseas is often a lifestyle decision, the practical implications of living abroad, including …

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