Should I Use a Corporate Trustee?

When you work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a revocable living trust, you will usually name yourself as trustee and manage your financial assets as you have previously. However, it’s necessary to name a successor trustee. This person or entity can act, if you’re incapacitated or pass away.

Selecting the right trustee is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.

The Quad Cities Times’ recent article entitled “Benefits of a corporate trustee” warns that care should be taken when selecting someone to serve in this role. Family members may not have the experience, ability and time required to perform the duties of a trustee. Those with personal relationships with beneficiaries may cause conflicts within the family. You can name almost any adult, including family members or friends, but think about a corporate or professional trustee as the possible answer.

Experience and Dedication. Corporate trustees can devote their full attention to the trust assets and possess experience, resources, access to tax, legal, and investment knowledge that may be hard for the average person to duplicate. A corporate trustee can be hired as the administrative trustee—letting them concentrate on the operation of the trust. You can also hire a registered investment advisor to manage the investment assets. A corporate trustee can also be engaged as both administrative trustee and investment manager.

Regulation and Protection. Corporate trustees provide safety and security of your assets and are regulated by both state and federal law. Corporate trustees and registered investment advisors are both held to the fiduciary standard of acting solely in the best interests of trust beneficiaries.

Successor Trustee. If you choose to name personal trustees, you may provide in your trust documents for a corporate trustee as a successor, in case none of the personal trustees is available, capable, or willing to serve. Corporate trustees are institutions that don’t become incapacitated or die. You should consider the type of assets you own including investment securities, farmland and commercial real estate and then choose the most qualified corporate trustee to manage them.

In sum, many estate owners can benefit from the advantages of a corporate trustee. Even if family members are initially chosen, using a corporate trustee as back up can be essential.

Ask an experienced estate planning attorney when creating or amending a revocable living trust, about naming the appropriate corporate trustee, and the advisability of including terms for your registered investment advisor to manage assets for your trust.

Reference: Quad Cities Times (Nov. 28, 2021) “Benefits of a corporate trustee”

 

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How Do I Hire a Caregiver from an Agency?

Part One of AARP’s recent article entitled “How to Hire a Caregiver” explains that when you have a list of promising agencies, you should schedule a consultation.

It doesn’t matter if your family member is eligible for Medicare, Medicare’s Home Health Compare can be a terrific tool for finding and researching home health agencies in your area.

It provides detailed information on what services they provide and how patients rate them.

Working with an agency has its pros and cons. The pluses include the following:

  • Background checks. Caregivers must pass a background check.
  • Experienced caregivers. Agencies are likely to have a number of caregivers who cared for other seniors with the illness or condition affecting your loved one.
  • Backup care. If the primary aide is sick or doesn’t work out, an agency typically can quickly find a replacement.
  • Liability protection in the event that a caregiver is injured while at the home.
  • No paperwork. The agency takes a fee, pays the aide and does the payroll and taxes.

Here are some of the corresponding minuses of working with an agency:

  • Greater expense. You’ll pay more for an agency-provided caregiver.
  • Little choice. The agency chooses the worker, and he or she may not fit well with you or your family member.
  • Negotiation is limited, and individuals are generally more flexible about duties, hours and overtime than agencies.
  • There are agencies that don’t permit a part-time schedule.

In addition, you can contact an experienced elder law attorney and ask for recommendations.

Reference: AARP (Sep. 27, 2021) “How to Hire a Caregiver”

 

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What Planning Should I Do in My 50s?

Many financial planning articles are geared towards people starting out or those nearing retirement. But what about people in their 50s? The Street’s recent article entitled “5 Things to Do in Your 50s,” says that they need help, too. Here are five simple action items for 50-somethings:

Maximize your retirement plan. When you turn 50, the IRS lets you contribute more to your retirement accounts each year. Known as “catch-up contributions,” if you have the cash flow, take advantage of this.

Fund a Health Savings Account (HSA). If you’re eligible for an HSA, contribute to it! Even a small amount each year will make a difference.

Long-term care. Think about buying insurance to mitigate the risk of paying out of pocket for medical expenses. Age 55-60 is a good time for purchasing a policy, as they tend to be less expensive than purchasing one in your late 60s.

Review your estate planning documents. Your circumstances, financial condition and federal and state laws can change. Make certain that you review your estate plan every few years and keep it up-to-date.

Toss junk and focus on experiences. While not really finance-related, it’s important to speak with your children and friends and see if they want to rummage through boxes of old pictures, silverware and sweaters years from now. Probably not. They most likely would want you to keep what’s most valuable and toss the rest. Rather than spending money on keepsake items, perhaps spend it on trips with the family or meaningful experiences that your loved ones will cherish for a lifetime. You might also donate to a charity that enriches you and makes you feel fulfilled.

Work with an experienced estate planning attorney and start or update your plans, now that you’re in your 50s.

Reference: The Street (Nov. 24, 2021) “5 Things to Do in Your 50s”

 

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