Hooper Law Office,LLC Estate Planning Blog

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Selecting a Family Member or Friend As Successor Trustee?

An advantage of selecting family members or friends as Successor Trustee is that they have personal knowledge of the family. Their knowledge of the true needs of the beneficiaries can prove valuable. They can also be trusted to act in the beneficiary’s best interest and usually will serve for little or no fee. The disadvantage of family members or friends serving as Successor Trustee is that they may make decision on an emotional rather than objective basis and they often lack the financial skills necessary to invest and manage large sums of money.


NEXT WEEK: What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Selecting an Attorney, CPA or Financial Advisor as Successor Trustee?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Who Can I Select To Be A Successor Trustee?

A Successor Trustee can be any adult. Possible candidates include family members or friends. Alternately, the services of a professional trustee can be used. These include attorneys, certified public accountants and trust companies or the trust department of a bank. Selection of a trustee is an important decision and each alternative has advantages and disadvantages.



What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Selecting a Family Member or Friend As Successor Trustee?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Upcoming Estate Planning Seminars - Two Locations

The greatest estate plan in the world is worthless unless it controls your property. We have been getting many questions recently about designating trusts as beneficiaries, especially with regard to IRAs and 401K plans.

We are pleased to announce that Hooper Law Office will be holding a Beneficiary Designation seminar for all who are interested in understanding how your choice of beneficiary affects your estate plan.

The seminar will be held on Tuesday, October 18th in Room 123 of the Neuville Public Museum at 1:00 p.m. and also on October 19, 2011 at Hooper Law Office, 2 Systems Drive, Appleton, WI 54914. We will host an afternoon session beginning at 2:00 p.m. and an early evening session beginning at 5:30pm. Light refreshments will be served.

Limited seating available, please RSVP to Sharon at 920-993-0990.  We look forward to seeing you at this informative seminar.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What Are the Duties & Responsibilities of a Successor Trustee

The most important duty is to implement the Trust's instructions concerning how the trust property should be used to aid the beneficiaries. Guardians decide how to take care of a beneficiary's physical needs, the Successor Trustee decides how to use trust assets to pay for those needs.

Among other responsibilities, a Successor Trustee should: make an inventory of trust assets; protect trust assets and make sure they are properly invested; prepare an accounting for beneficiaries and implement the trustmaker's instructions as to how assets are to be distributed to the beneficiaries or used for their benefit.

The Successor Trustee does not have to act alone. The trust should authorize the Successor Trustee to obtain whatever professional services are necessary to carry out the trust's instructions. Each state has statutory guidelines that regulate a trustee's responsibilities. Trustees must use reasonable business judgment in the investment, management and diversification of the trust assets, taking into account the needs of the beneficiaries. Additionally, trustees must not allow trust assets to be wasted or invest money or other property in speculative or other imprudent investments.


NEXT WEEK: Who Can I Select To Be A Successor Trustee?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It is Important to Name a SuccessorTrustee

It is important to name a Successor Trustee to prevent the family from having to go through court proceedings to appont a new Trustee if the Trustmaker is no longer able to serve due to disability or death. The Trustmaker should discuss the appointment with the peson to be named so that person will be aware of the duties and responsibilities of a Successor Trustee when the Trustmaker can no longer serve.


NEXT WEEK: What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Successor Trustee?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How Do I Nominate and Replace a Guardian?

You may nominate a guardian for your children in you will. Wills are the legal tool used because the guardian appointment is officially made in probate court. Because of this, individuals with minor children who plan their estates with a living trust should have a will drafted to nominate a guardian.

A guardians can be replaced signing a new will that nominates a new guardian. This can be done at any time prior to the death of both parents. After the death, the guardian can only be changed by court order. Therefore, the appointment of a guardian should be re-evaluated on a regular basis as your family needs change.


Next Week: Is It Important to Name a Successor Trustee?

Friday, September 9, 2011

How Do I Choose A Guardian?

This may the most difficult decision a parent has to make; however, if you do not choose a guardian a judge may make the decision who will raise your children. Don't allow this to happen - choose someone who shares your ideas and values in raising children. Also consider the proposed guardian's ability to financially care for your children.

All issues should be discussed thoroughly with the proposed guardian in order to ensure the person you select is qualified to make sure he or she is willing and able to serve as primary guardian. It is always a good idea to have someone named as a backup guardian in case the first person selected is unable to serve. The backup guardian is known as a successor guardian and can service if you decide to replace the primary guardian or if the primary guardian is uanble or refuses to serve when needed.


Next Week: How Do I Nominate and Replace a Guardian?

Friday, September 2, 2011

What Are The Duties of A Guardian

A guardian is responsible for caring for the physical needs of minor children or adults who are disabled. They make decisions involving basic needs such as housing, clothing, medical care and schooling. For minors, the guardian is the person who will tuck your child in at night. For disabled adults, the guardian is the person who decides if they can be cared for at home or if their condition requires placement in a group home, assisted living or facility or nursing home.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Importance of Guardians and Trustees

No other single estate planning issue is more important for parents than making the difficult decision about who will take care of your children if you are unable to care for them yourselves. These decisions often paralyze parents into not planning at all. We can help you through this process, because by not planning you may abandon to strangers in probate court the right to choose who will take care of your children.

In planning for children there are two questions to ask. The first is, "Who will take care of my children's physical needs?" This is the role of a guardian. The second question is "Who will be responsible for managing the children's inheritance until they are mature enough to manage it themselves?" This is the role of a trustee.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Should I Give All My Assets to My Children?

This would depend. More than any other type of estate planning, a good long term care plan must be tailored to the individual family and the family's assets. One size does not fit all. It is true that sometimes it will work to have your assets controlled by your children, but this is a small minority of the time.

The key to proper estate planning is to keep as much control over your life and your assets as possible. Giving your assets to your children does not achieve that goal. Not only are the assets out of your control, but they are also subject to all of your children's creditors, the stability of their marriages, their own health concerns and their financial difficulties. Good long term care planning protects your assets, whereas giving your assets to your children subjects the assets to additional risk. Assets should only be divested as part of a carefully crafted plan developed with the assistance of a qualified professional advisor. A carefully designed custom plan will allow you to keep the greatest degree of control.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How To Select An Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning involves reviewing and analying your desires and finances today to insure that you and your family are prepared for tomorrow. We offer the following tips to provide you with the information needed to select an estate planning attorney who has the experience and traning to do an excellent job for you.

*Interview only attorneys whose practices are dedicated to planning estates.

*Ask if the attorney will help you avoid the additional costs, delays, loss of privacy and other problems of probate.

*Hire only an attorney you like and can trust.

*Determine the law office's procedure for handling client requests for information and performing leg work before you hire.

*Find out if the attorney will return your phone calls quickly.

*Ask if the attorney will quote y ou a fixed fee for designing and implementing your estate plan.

*Determine whether the attorney can prepare your estate planning documents within a month's time.

*Choose only an estate planning attorney who offers comprehensive estate planning services.

*Be sure you can read and understand your estate planning documents.

*Determine if the attorney remains current with changes to estate planning laws that affect your estate.

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| Phone: 1-800-794-5548
2 Systems Drive, Appleton, WI 54914
| Phone: 920-993-0990
3475 Omro Road, 100, Oshkosh, WI 54904
| Phone: 800-794-5548

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