Category Archives: Trust

Your Estate Plan Should Reduce Your Legislative Risk, Not Increase It

By Senior Associate Attorney, Dan Vu

Too often estate planners do not consider their client's legislative risk. In other words, they plan without consideration to the very high probability that the current rules will change. In Washington and Columbus, every new bill passed by the legislature is touted as the new permanent law of the land, but in reality it is only “permanent” until the next time they decide to change it. So if your plan does not provide the flexibility for the changing rules, you can actually be in a worse position than you would without any plan.

Let's review an example that just recently occurred in Ohio. Governor Kasich was able to defeat the odds stacked against him when he was able to repeal the Ohio Estate Tax, effective January 1, 2013. Few thought this would actually occur, since Ohio, like most states, is facing budget constraints. For many Ohioans, this law made their current estate plan obsolete. Tradition revocable trust planning contained provisions that were meant to shelter the estate from the Ohio Estate Tax. These types of trusts were called A/B Trusts. But now that the Ohio Estate Tax has been repealed these these older trusts are not only not helpful but they can even now be hurtful. For example, an A/B Trust would now have a less favorable capital gains treatment than having no trust at all!

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 12.37.12 PMHowever, just as it is not a good idea to keep an obsolete trust, it is also not a good idea to pretend that the repeal of the Ohio Estate Tax is permanent. A trust should be flexible. We have for many years used “Spousal Options Trusts.” These trusts allow our clients to utilize the traditional benefits of an A/B trust if an estate tax is in effect at the time of death. If there is no Ohio Estate Tax at death, the same trust can instead opt into obtaining favorable capital gains treatment and ignore the estate tax provisions.

All of our trusts have similar types of built-in flexibility. For example, our Heritage Trust is a trust that allows you to leave to your children a protected IRA “stretched” over their individual lifetime. But since we know that the IRA rules may change, it has built-in provision that allows for tax changes to be made even after you and your spouse have long passed away.

So, of course, not planning at all is not the answer. You just need a plan that builds in flexibility so that as the laws change you can always avail yourself to the advantages that the new laws provide and protect yourself from the disadvantages that new laws might impose.

How can you tell if your plan has built-in flexibility? Consider meeting with an experienced elder law attorney for a review.

 

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

Pet Trusts – Not Just For Cats & Dogs

By Attorney Keith Stevens

What do you think of when you hear the word “pet”? Dogs, cats, goldfish, maybe parrots are the first things that occur to most of us. Some people may also think about their geckoes, pythons, and tortoises. There is a staggering variety of creatures being kept as pets and it is only growing.

Our tools for dealing with a variety of animals should be equally flexible. If you were to pass away tomorrow, would your family have access funds to get veterinary care for your horse? If you became mentally incapacitated, would they know how to properly maintain your chinchilla?

Dogs and cats may be the most mainstream of American pets, but they are not the only ones that would benefit from planning. What animals are good candidates for a Pet Trust?

  1. Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 10.43.46 AMThe long lived. If a friend or family member commits to taking care of your pet after death or incapacity, the longer the pet lives, the greater the potential strain on the caretakers. By providing financially for the pet, you can relieve the stress of an inherited pet. Examples include parrots and tortoises at the extremes, but horses, dogs, cats, even tarantulas and some aquarium fish may live more than twenty years.

  2. The expensive or high maintenance. Some animals simply require more resources for their care than others. If you leave a horse behind, how many people could afford to feed it, let alone house it? For animals that need a greater commitment of resources, a legal solution is the best way to provide for them.

  3. The exotic. A quick search of the Internet reveals Ohio breeders marketing a wide range of exotic pets, including patagonian cavies, kinkajous, African pygmy hedgehogs, flying squirrels, porcupines, lemurs, and even leopards. These make more familiar exotics like ferrets, sugar gliders, llamas and alpacas look routine. If you own an unusual pet, the likelihood that your appointed caregiver will have the resources to meet its unique needs are slim. Using a Pet Trust, you can provide not only financial resources for the pet's care, but also instructions and guidance to its eventual caretaker.

To learn more about planning for your pets, contact the offices of Cooper, Adel & Associates today.

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

Top 5 Reasons to Start a Trust

By Angela Hall

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 12.26.33 PM#1 Trusts are private and avoid probate:
A trust offers greater privacy then a will, because it does not go to probate, so there is no public record. This means that your assets can go to your heirs without the cost and involvement of the probate courts in your private financial affairs.

#2 Trusts can help you avoid guardianships:
Many people set up trusts so that they can name the individuals, called successor trustees, who will have the legal authority to manage their financial affairs if they become incapacitated. Having a living trust allows you to select someone to manage your assets without involving a court-appointed guardian.

#3 Trusts can also help you avoid family conflict or strife between the heirs:
A trust is a good tool to help avoid the conflict that sometime arrises when and estate is being settled. A trust can be customized to allow you to detail exactly how and when your assets should be distributed and who gets them. Unlike a will, a trust can be very detailed in its distribution.

#4 Trusts are difficult to contest:
Unlike a will, a revocable living trust is unlikely to be contested. A trust gives you greater protection against legal action from a beneficiary who may not be happy with their distribution of assets.

#5 Trusts can help you protect your heirs:
Trusts allow you to disburse your estate to your beneficiaries in a way that will benefit them the most. For instance, if you have children that have difficulty in managing money or who are in financial difficulty, then you can effectively set up different options which allow the money to be distributed in regular payments rather than lump sum. There are also ways to set up trusts for your children that insure that the money goes down your blood line and is protected against your child's creditors or predators.

Creating a trust or developing an estate plan can be a very complex project. It is very important that you contact an experienced elder law attorney before making your decision to start a trust. The attorneys at Cooper, Adel and Associates will be happy to assist you in your estate plan.  

 

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

Will Your Death Cause Your Family Distress?

By Jill Besl

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 9.15.04 AMHeiress Huguetta Clark's death in 2011 at the age of 104 spawned numerous lawsuits that have dragged on for years. At her death, Clark's estate totaled more than $307 million and included an original Renoir, a Stradivarius violin and an original edition of Paradise Lost. She had no husband, children or siblings; only distant relatives with whom she had little contact.

At her passing, two wills were found. The first will, signed March 7, 2005, left everything to her distant relatives but this will had the word “revoked” handwritten and a line drawn through the first page. The second will, signed just a few weeks later on April 5, 2005, cut out the relatives, stating: I intentionally make no provision in this my last will and testament for any members of my family, whether on my maternal or paternal side, having had minimal contacts with them over the years.” Instead, the new will left $1 million to the hospital where she spent the last 20 years of her life after a serious bout of skin cancer, $100,000 to her personal physician, gifts to the caretakers of her various properties as well as gifts to her lawyers and accountants. Her California property went to a foundation that was to be established to promote the arts and her long-time daytime nurse received Clark's $1.7 million doll collection and 60% of the estate.

It's certainly not difficult to figure out what came next. The relatives contested the April 2005 will, claiming that Clark had been coerced into excluding them from her estate. After years of legal back-and-forth, a tentative settlement was reached in September 2013. Under the terms, the relatives would divide $34.5 million among themselves and many of the other bequests from the second will would not be honored. Then, to complicate matters further, in January 2014, Geraldine Coffey, Clarks night-duty nurse for 20 years would not agree to the settlement. The attorneys for the estate argue that Coffey caused Clark distress by pressuring her for money.

The drama that has persisted for the past three years since Huguetta Clark's death and has signs of continuing. It could have easily been avoided with the proper estate planning documents. As Florida Certified Elder Law Attorney Joseph S. Karp so aptly summed it up: “Multi-millionaires or not, all of us should take steps to ensure that in death, our wishes are carried out and those we care about most are protected.” Seek counsel from an experienced elder law attorney to make sure your family – or those who you wish to receive your assets – understand what you want at your death.

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

What is a Trust Review?

By Bethany Smith

Columbus Estate planningAt Cooper, Adel & Associates we believe in forming life long relationships with our clients. This is why our clients are always more than welcome to come in and meet with an associate at our firm with any questions or concerns that they may have concerning work we have prepared for them. We encourage our clients to come back – even if nothing has changed in their lives – every three or four years to complete a review of their Life Plan.

The purpose of the review is to make sure (1) your plan is updated with any changes in the your health, financial or family situation (2) your assets are funded properly to avoid probate and reduce taxes when possible, including any new assets you have acquired since you originally set up your plan, and (3) you have the time to ask any questions you have.

When working with Cooper, Adel & Associates we want you to understand the work we have done for you and more importantly why and how it works for your situation, to benefit you and your heirs. If you are an existing client of Cooper, Adel & Associates please call in to schedule your no-charge review with an associate of our firm. If you have never done with work with Cooper, Adel & Associates please call in to schedule a no charge initial consultation at 1-800-798-5297 to begin getting your ducks in a row.

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you. No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.

The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.  

The Top 5 Misconceptions regarding Irrevocable Trusts

By Attorney Dan Vu

 

Ohio estate planning attorneys1) All irrevocable trusts are basically the same and do basically the same thing.

There are a many different types of irrevocable trusts that are used to deal with a wide variety of different issues. For example, some irrevocable trusts are created to save millionaires from having to pay the federal estate tax when they die. Some are created to protect the assets of doctors, landlords, and other business owners from potential lawsuits. What many don't realize is that some are built specifically to protect the assets of middle class americans from the devastating cost of a nursing home.

 

2) Revocable trusts are always better than irrevocable trusts.

Not always true – Irrevocable trusts can achieve goals that revocable trusts simply can never accomplish. For example a revocable trust cannot achieve the creditor protection and nursing home protection that was mentioned above.

 

3) I will lose all control over an irrevocable trust.

Not necessarily true – Depending on the goal of the trust, an irrevocable trust can actually reserve certain powers that ensure that you will still control the trust. The word irrevocable just means that the terms of the trust cannot be changed, but if the terms of the trust give you certain powers then you get to keep those powers.

 

4) An irrevocable trust must always be issued a separate tax ID number.

Although your banker, accountant, and tax preparer might say otherwise, they are technically incorrect. Some irrevocable trusts are called “Irrevocable Grantor Trusts.” These trusts are irrevocable trusts where the Grantor (creator of the trust) has retained enough power within the trust that the IRS has determined that the trust is still really the Grantor's trust for tax purposes. Since it is really still the Grantor's trust, the IRS allows the trust to run under the Grantor's personal social security number and therefore no separate tax id number is needed.

 

5) I can never be a beneficiary of my irrevocable trust.

Depending on the purpose of the trust, you could even be the beneficiary of your own irrevocable trust. For example, the new Ohio Legacy Trust is an irrevocable trust that provides creditor protection. Ohio law allows for you to create the trust and even name yourself as one of the beneficiaries of the trust, without losing the creditor protection.

 

Irrevocable trusts are not as scary as they might seem at first. In fact, a well crafted irrevocable trust can play the most important role in your estate and asset protection plan. Call us if you need help on your estate and asset protection planning.

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

Are there other specific advantages of a living trust?

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Answer:  Yes, I believe that the biggest advantage of a living trust is that it handles family problems well.   Very few people who have children get through life without some family problems.  I believe that the living trust provides the best alternative for handling those family problems.  Below is a list of typical family problems where a trust can be used to assist you:  

 

a.    Making sure that stepchildren, son-in-laws or daughter-in-laws do not inadvertently receive your assets.

b.    Making sure that children or their spouses with spending or money management problems cannot squander their inheritance.

c.    Avoiding situations where your child’s spouse may use undue influence on spending your child’s inheritance.

d.    Making sure that children who are receiving government benefits do not have their benefits terminated due to an inheritance. 

e.    Allowing you to make special arrangements for your children where there is an alcohol or drug problem in their family.

f.    Allowing you to make special arrangements and control the distribution of child’s inheritance where unmarried children have partners or alternative lifestyles.

g.    Permits you to make a special needs trust within your living trust to provide for handicapped or disabled children 

 

 


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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

What is a summary of the advantages of a living trust?

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Answer:  There are many.  However, below is a list of what most people agree are the advantages of a properly funded living trust. 

 

a.    Avoids Probate at death

b.    Avoids the legal costs of probate which are usually significant

c.    Avoids probate for out of state property 

d.    Allows estates to be quickly settled with faster distribution of assets to beneficiaries

e.    Avoids the delays associated with probate, which can be years.

f.    Allows you to control and distribute your assets under one plan.

g.    Provides privacy for you and your heirs

h.    More efficient administration of your estate

i.    Allows your successor trustee to control assets at your physical or mental incapacity rather than the court.

j.    Can eliminate or reduce estate taxes for larger estates

k.    Inexpensive to establish and maintain

l.    Allows you full and absolute control of your assets while you are living

m.    Can be changed, amended or even revoked at any time

n.    Allows you to control or delay inheritances to grandchildren, minors, or others with special needs

o.    More difficult for others to contest than a will

p.    Can provide for disinheriting those who challenge provisions of the trust

q.    Allows for professional management with a corporate trustee if desired

r.    Helps avoid misunderstandings among your beneficiaries since you are more clearly specifying your wishes in advance.  

s.    Provides you peace of mind

 

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person’s situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.

The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement.
If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

 

What happens to assets that are outside my living trust?

Screen-Shot-2013-01-30-at-8.55.45-AM8-300x2576Answer:  If you leave assets in your name outside of the trust, they will be passed through your Pour Over Will into your trust.  However, these assets must go through Probate Court, which will result in court costs and the additional legal fees associated with probate. 

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person’s situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.

The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement.
If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

 

Is it costly to transfer assets into the living trust?

Screen-Shot-2013-01-30-at-8.55.45-AM8-300x2576Answer:  No.  We will either transfer, or assist you to transfer, your assets into the trust.  These transfers should normally be part of the fee charged by the law firm to do your trust.  Transfer changes by third parties such as License Bureaus, Recorders and Auditors are usually the responsibility of the person setting up the trust. 

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person’s situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.

The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement.
If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

 



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