Wills & Trusts
Proper estate planning will protect your interests as well as your assets, and can leave your family in a position of security. Pabian & Russell’s experienced estate planning and elder law attorneys provide cost-effective estate planning strategies and tools that make planning ahead easy and affordable.
Last Will & Testament
Pabian & Russell’s compassionate attorneys appreciate that discussing your last will and testament may not be easy for you. We also know that it is one of the most important things you can do for your family.
A carefully drafted will can ensure that your assets will transfer to your heirs and beneficiaries according to your wishes, and avoid family discord and costly disputes. A will can also allow you to name a personal representative (formerly known as an Executor) to manage the administration of your estate after your passing.
By visiting with an elder law attorney while you are healthy and aware, you can help your family avoid potential probate court expenses, delays, and tough decisions when you become incapacitated or pass away.
Our experienced attorneys will work closely with you to determine which type of trusts will best protect your assets and minimize estate taxes. Below is a list of some of the most common trusts utilized by our clients:
- Medicaid Trusts
- Special Needs Trusts
- Revocable Trusts
- Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
- Family Gifting Trusts
- Asset Protection Trusts
Medicaid trusts work to preserve and protect a family’s financial assets from future nursing home and health care costs. Pabian & Russell’s experienced attorneys help clients navigate complex Medicaid rules and regulations, and protect assets without jeopardizing Medicaid eligibility.
Special Needs Trusts
Special needs trusts (also known as supplemental needs trusts) enable families to leave money and other assets to disabled dependants without jeopardizing the government benefits such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or public housing to which those disabled individuals may be entitled.
The revocable trust is an important estate planning tool used to minimize and defer estate taxes and bypass the probate process. These trusts can be amended or revoked at any time during your life. Typically, the grantor of the revocable trust will also be the trustee. Once the grantor becomes incapacitated or dies, the successor trustee will take over trust administration.
Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
An irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) is an irrevocable trust designed to be the owner and beneficiary of life insurance policies. Under current tax law, if insurance policies are owned by an irrevocable trust and the trust is the named beneficiary, the proceeds will not be includible in your estate for federal or state estate tax purposes; provided that you survive for three years after the date any existing policies are assigned to the trust. Any new policies purchased directly by the trust will not be includible in your estate under current tax law.
Family Gifting Trusts
A family gifting trust is an irrevocable trust designed to receive and hold gifts of property. The beneficiaries are usually family members of the settlor, but can be other persons if desired. The settlor removes all of his or her rights or ownership to the assets once they are transferred into the trust, effectively removing the assets from the settlor’s taxable estate. These assets can include businesses, cash and investment assets, and life insurance policies.
Asset Protection Trusts
An asset protection trust is a trust in which the settlor creates a trust for his or her own benefit, and includes language that limits access to the assets in the event that a court or creditor is attempting to reach the assets through the clients in their role as beneficiaries. Alaska was the first U.S. jurisdiction to enact laws allowing protection for self-settled trusts (in 1997) and was shortly followed by Delaware, Nevada, South Dakota, New Hampshire, and a few others. The trust can be established as a grantor trust, so that any income earned by the trust is passed directly on to the settlor. If structured properly, the net effect is that the trust assets are permanently preserved for the trust beneficiaries and completely protected from creditors.
Trust Administration & Support
Pabian and Russell’s attorneys understand that our job does not end when we have finished drafting your trust. We continue to work with family members who are trustees to advise them on how to handle complex issues related to trust distributions, tax filings, and accounting requirements for public benefit programs.