You don’t have to settle for a couple of different options when it comes to the ways that you can plan your estate. There is some type of solution to serve just about any purpose, and we are going to look at three of them in this post.
The idea of including your dog in your estate plan may sound ridiculous for a couple of different reasons.
First, people live longer than dogs. Secondly, in most cases, these are family pets that in a real sense belong to multiple different people. If something horrible and unexpected was to happen to one of them, the dog would still have a home.
This make sense for younger people, but the situation is entirely different when it is applied to senior citizens.
Dog ownership can be very beneficial to older seniors that may be experiencing a sense of loneliness, but longevity can definitely be a concern. Fortunately, there is a way for a lonely elder to responsibly bring a pet into their home.
Pet trusts are now legal in all 50 states. The way that it works is you fund the trust, and you name a trustee to act as the administrator after you are gone. It can be someone that you know, or it can be a professional fiduciary. The trustee does not have to be individual that will act as the pet’s caretaker.
If you create one of these trusts and you predecease your dog, the trustee would follow instructions that you record in the trust declaration. Your pet would be cared for in accordance with the terms. A secondary beneficiary of your choosing would inherit the remainder after the death of the pet.
Remarriage Inheritance Protection
When a parent with considerable resources decides to get remarried to someone that is younger, there will naturally be estate planning concerns. How do you protect the inheritances that you want to leave for your children and provide for your new spouse at the same time?
This can be done through the utilization of a qualified terminable interest property, or “QTIP”, trust. To implement this strategy, you would fund the trust and choose a trustee. Your spouse would be the first beneficiary, and the children would be the successor beneficiaries.
If you die before your spouse, they would receive distributions of income that is earned by assets in the trust. You could give the trustee that discretion to distribute some of the principal if this is your choice, and your spouse could use property that is owned by the trust.
The surviving spouse would be very comfortable, but they would not be able to change the terms in any way. After the death of the surviving spouse, the children would become the beneficiaries of the trust.
Estate Tax Efficiency for Non-Citizen Spouses
If you and your spouse are American citizens, you can use the marital deduction to transfer unlimited assets to your spouse free of the estate tax. This deduction is not available to non-citizen spouses.
Under these circumstances, the widely embraced estate planning solution is a device called a qualified domestic trust. Assuming the grantor dies first, in the same manner as the QTIP trust arrangement, the trustee would distribute the trust’s earnings to the surviving spouse.
These distributions would not be subject to the estate tax. Another similarity is the fact that the trustee could be given the latitude to distribute portions of the principal under certain circumstances. The estate tax would be applicable on distributions of this nature.
After the death of the surviving spouse, a secondary beneficiary that was named in the trust declaration would assume the role.
We Are Here to Help!
As you can see, there are many different approaches that can be taken. If you would like to discuss your unique situation with a licensed attorney, our doors are open.
You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 585-374-5210.
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