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    Joshua and Laura Meier Newport Beach Trust and Estate Planning Attorneys Focused on Helping Families with Young Kids
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    Category Archives: Trust Protectors

    5 Reasons Why You Need to Review Your Estate Plan

    Creating an estate plan to protect your financial future and that of your family is just the first step in the estate planning process. Once those documents are executed, you will still need to review your plan annually to ensure it continues to reflect your needs and achieve your goals. Here are 5 reasons that can trigger the need to review your existing estate plan:

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    Family changes. Marriage, divorce, birth and death are four family changes that should prompt an estate plan review. If one of your beneficiaries dies, you will need to remove them from your estate plan. A new child or grandchild means adding beneficiaries. If your daughter gets a divorce, you will likely want to remove her ex from your estate plan but keep their children in. These circumstances can also trigger changes to those people designated as guardians, executors or health care agents.

    Health changes. The state of your own health may dictate changes to your estate plan, especially when it comes to long-term care. You may want to help a family member who has no other resources for long-term care, or if you yourself suddenly need long-term care, you may need to provide a trustee with new instructions on the kind of care you want – i.e., staying at home with in-home help or paying to live in a senior living facility.

    Work changes. You may suddenly want – or need – to retire, which could necessitate withdrawing from your IRA funds to support yourself instead of contributing more. If you have a family business, you may want to sell it or convert a sole proprietorship into an LLC or corporation, which could mean a significant change for your estate plan.

    Market changes. If the total value of your estate has fluctuated by more or less than 20 percent, this should prompt an estate plan review. A significant gain could provide you with assets you may want to gift to children or grandchildren to reduce or remove estate taxes.

    Law changes. Tax law changes all the time, so reviewing your plan at least once a year is the best way to either take advantage of any new changes that could benefit you, or revise your plan so these changes do not adversely impact your estate.

    To review an existing estate plan or create one for yourself and your family, call your Newport Beach Estate Planning Attorneys at the Meier Law Firm today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about an Achieve Your Dreams Planning Session, where we can identify the best strategies for you and your family to ensure your legacy of love and financial security.

    Trust “Protector” Power – Potential Pitfalls

    It used to be that you would write out your will, name some trustees and hope for the best for all of eternity. But, increasingly, folks aren't leaving it to luck. They're appointing a "trust protector," someone given broad power to reshape your trust over time.

    Trustees are a special kind of hero to the trusts and the families they oversee, and that’s a tough gig as many will know. Nevertheless, some problems call for superheroes. In the context of some trusts, some problems call for “trust protectors.”

    The idea got some recent limelight from Barrons, and this article there, but essentially the difference between a trustee and a trust protector is the level of power they have over the trust itself. A trustee has the power to uphold the document as it was written and getting something
    dramatic done might involve petitioning for a court order; it can mean being stuck between a rock and a hard place but valiantly working with what you were given. A trust protector, on the other hand, has broad powers to change the trust as they see fit but always in the name of the greater good that is the intentions of the drafter.

    That might mean overriding debate among parties to the trusts, moving the trust from state to state, terminating the trusts, and a host of other possible superpowers. This gives a definite malleability to your trust arrangement, especially if you are creating an irrevocable trust or something as long lasting as an actual dynasty trust. The benefits are obvious.

    On the other hand, as the “maker” of the trust, it can be a difficult thing because it means entrusting all of your own powers to someone else. In essence, you literally are choosing someone to do as you would do and maybe even with the hope that they would do it better.

    It may make for a powerful meditation on the role of the person who sets up the trust, since they create their own heroes and superheroes.

    The trust protector is not a recognized role in every state – only about half of them, in one form or another – and so that is something investigate, as with any trust arrangement.

    In the end, the drafting of any advanced trust will require a skilled hand and tempered judgment, and so too with a trust that empowers a so-called “trust protector,” if not evn more so.

    Reference: Barron’s (March 3, 2012) “Why You May Need A ‘Trust Protector’”

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