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April 2015 Archives

Probate - What is it?

Many people want to avoid Probate but are not sure what that term means. Here is a simple way to understand Probate. When a person dies owning assets in his or her name alone, an estate must be "opened" by a personal representative to handle the assets and to settle the decedent's affairs. If the decedent died with a Last Will and Testament, this Will must be filed for Probate at the local Register of Wills, along with Petition for Grant of Letters and an original death certificate.

Trusts - Is one right for my family?

Trusts of various types have been described in the last several blogs - Revocable, Irrevocable, Testamentary and Special Needs.  There are other types of trusts as well, such as those for charities, pets, or education.  Whether or not Trusts are right for your estate plan depends on your family's needs and your assets.    

Special Needs Trusts

Special Needs Trusts are funded with the assets of a special needs or disabled beneficiary and are intended to preserve eligibility for Medicaid (Medical Assistance), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and other government benefits. The beneficiary may have obtained the assets by settling a personal injury case, winning the lottery or inheriting money from a family member who failed to do proper estate planning.  Unless these assets are put into Special Needs Trusts, the special needs beneficiaries could lose important government benefits. 

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