If a family member or friend has asked you to serve as trustee for their trust either during their life, or upon their death, it’s a big honor—this means they consider you among the most honest, reliable, and responsible people they know.
That said, serving as a trustee is not only a great honor, it’s also a major responsibility, and the role is definitely not for everyone. Serving as a trustee entails a broad array of duties, and you are both ethically and legally required to properly execute those duties or you could face liability for not doing so.
In the end, your responsibility as a trustee will vary greatly depending on the size of the estate, the type of assets covered by the trust, how many beneficiaries there are, and the document’s terms. In light of this, you should carefully review the specifics of the trust you would be managing before making your decision to serve.
Remember, you don’t have to take the job. That said, depending on who...
Some people assume that because they’ve named a specific heir as the beneficiary of their IRA in their will or trust that there’s no need to list the same person again as beneficiary in their IRA paperwork. Because of this, they often leave the IRA beneficiary form blank or list “my estate” as the beneficiary.
But this is a major mistake—and one that can lead to serious complications and expense.
IRAs aren’t like other estate assets
First off, your IRA is treated differently than other assets, such as a car or house, in that the person you name on your IRA’s beneficiary form is the one who will inherit the account’s funds, even if a different person is named in your will or in a trust. Your IRA beneficiary designation controls who gets the funds, no matter what you may indicate elsewhere.
Given this, you must ensure your IRA’s beneficiary designation form is up to date and lists either the name of the person you want to inherit your...
If you are fortunate enough to have a family vacation home, you know the emotional value it holds for every member of your family. Many cherished family memories are rooted in a special place, which makes it important for current and future generations to preserve it properly.
A trust is often a good choice when the current owners – parents or grandparents – are concerned that joint ownership could lead to disagreements or that maintenance costs may prove too great for the next generation to manage.
Instead of dividing ownership, you can establish a trust to hold title of the property and fund an endowment to handle maintenance expenses. Minnesota is famous (in the legal world) for its cabin trusts! In addition, to avoid paying custodial fees to the trust, you can set up a limited liability company to hold the endowment within the trust.
Once the LLC is registered in the state where the vacation property is located and the trust is created,...
Unlike many estate assets, if you’re looking to collect the proceeds of a life insurance policy, the process is fairly simple provided you’re named as the beneficiary. That said, following a loved one’s death, the whole world can feel like it’s falling apart, and it’s helpful to know exactly what steps need to be taken to access the insurance funds as quickly and easily as possible during this trying time.
And if you’ve been dependent on the deceased for regular financial support and/or are responsible for paying funeral expenses, the need to access insurance proceeds can sometimes be downright urgent.
Here, we’ve outlined the typical procedure for claiming and collecting life insurance proceeds, along with discussing how beneficiaries can deal with common hiccups in the process. However, because all life insurance policies are different and some involve more complexities than others, it’s always a good idea to consult with a Personal...