While many people are familiar with the concept of using living trusts as part of an Orange County estate plan, fewer recognize the substantial benefits of having a trust in the event that you become incapacitated. As we age, the chances of finding ourselves in a situation where we need assistance with our personal and financial care begin to increase. If you created an estate plan years earlier, now is an excellent time for an update. Your attorney can assist you with creating a trust, or amending your existing trust to include provisions that allow for a smooth transition in the event you become incapacitated.
What are the advantages of modifying your estate plan to include a trust that provides for your care in the event of incapacity? The following is just a small sampling:
- Without a trust or other access to your financial assets, your loved ones may need to go to the probate court and have a guardian appointed for you.
- Formal guardianship proceedings take place in the court. Therefore, all of your personal and financial affairs will be discussed by total strangers.
- A trustee has far more flexibility over how your affairs are handled than someone who was simply added as a joint account holder of your assets.
- A trust allows you to make sure that all of your beneficiaries receive the inheritance that you intended for them. Naming a joint account holder makes that person the automatic owner of the asset at your death. This means that your other beneficiaries could be left without their intended share.
- If you become incapacitated, the transition to the successor trustee is quick and smooth. Once the transition is complete, the trustee can manage all of your affairs without the need for court oversight.
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