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Old 03-07-2011, 02:33 PM   #1
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Setting up a family trust - who should I talk to?

I am interested in setting up a trust. Should I do this at a bank, a financial planner, or an attorney? Any advice regarding type of trust etc will help me too.
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:48 PM   #2
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We did our trust and will thru an attorney that specializes in that field.
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:53 PM   #3
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As an attorney in this field, I recommend you see an attorney who specializes in estate planning matters. References from friends is a good source of names, or you can go to the website of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and find a Fellow of that group, at: American College of Trust and Estate Counsel | Home.
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Old 03-07-2011, 03:14 PM   #4
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Hi JayGee,
An estate attorney is skilled in what will happen after you die. An elder care attorney has skill in what should happen before you die. An elder care attorney usually is skilled in estate planning also. They should be board certified. For me, I'd choose and elder care attorney. Call your local bar association for your choices. There are not many in the elder care field, this is because the laws keep changing.

It is important to have the correct tools for your assets set up when you are alive. Most all want to live a full life and then die in their sleep. Usually the brain or body goes south first and leaves the other to be cared for (and paid for by somebody). This could be your $s or government $s. Nursing home costs are very, very high.
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Old 03-07-2011, 03:35 PM   #5
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JayGee,

If you are in Virginia,DC or Maryland, I would not hesitate to use The Collins Firm. The principal, Michael Collins, does a local radio show in DC area on all things related to estate planning, elder care, etc. I heard him, went to one of his free seminars and did the entire (but not too complicated process) within weeks. Thorough, thoughtful, very experience and a reasonably priced package. Glad we did it almost 11 yrs ago. (My CPA/CFO older brother approved of the work and he is my most trusted advisor.)

The firm's website is a starting point and has very useful intro.
The Collins Firm :: Home

If you live elsewhere, I would look for someone similar, specifically with emphasis on Real Property, Probate and Trust Law and a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

(This is not a commercial for the firm, I am just a satisfied customer.)

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Old 03-07-2011, 04:16 PM   #6
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What GaryKD said 2x, although there's all solid advice above.

My Wife and I did ours years ago, and update it occasionally. The REAL Legal 'marsh' to wade through was to do right by my Mom [and still-living Dad] to enable good care in the exact situation described above: where the Body outlived the Mind [post-Stroke one night]. We got our CA Attorney reference from a fellow visiting his Wife in the next Bed at Mom's Nursing Home. Best thing we ever did.
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Old 03-07-2011, 04:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dancogan View Post
As an attorney in this field, I recommend you see an attorney who specializes in estate planning matters. References from friends is a good source of names, or you can go to the website of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and find a Fellow of that group, at: American College of Trust and Estate Counsel | Home.
Agree. The attorney that set ours up does NOTHING but trusts and estate planning.
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:23 PM   #8
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Talk to an attorney that specializes in trusts. Do not accept one that says you need a trust unless he asks you a bunch of questions as this is very important. Make sure you are on the level with him when you answer.

In our case, after the Q&A period, it was suggested that all we needed was a good will. Trusts are not the answer for everyone.
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:35 PM   #9
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Talk to an attorney that specializes in trusts. Do not accept one that says you need a trust unless he asks you a bunch of questions as this is very important. Make sure you are on the level with him when you answer.

In our case, after the Q&A period, it was suggested that all we needed was a good will. Trusts are not the answer for everyone.
(emphasis added)

Bingo! Definitely a winner.
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:47 PM   #10
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As long as your there you should discuss a living will, it helps make those decisions a loved one may have forgot about or is to distraught to deal with.
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:25 PM   #11
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Be careful with a trust

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(emphasis added)

Bingo! Definitely a winner.
My wife's parents did a trust and we are now left with great difficulty in handling their affairs after they both have dementia and went to an Adult Care Home. We had the trust analyzed and the attorney said that the trust was a huge mistake and is now an anchor around the necks of the people who are left to handle their affairs. He said that a trust is not needed unless the estate reaches three million. A will should have been made without the trust, but it is too late now. We have had many problems and the attorney said that it would take a massive and very expensive effort to modify the trust because neither of them is of sound mind. The trust is about four inches thick. We are paying their bills for the Adult Care Home and medical expenses. The fee for the Home is $4,000 per month without the medical needs. Some attorneys are quick to do a trust because they can ask a couple thousand dollars versus a couple hundred for a will. Not everyone who makes a trust really knows what they are doing. Some trusts are "fill in the blanks" kits that are used. That was the case in my wife's parents trust. So, be careful!
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:27 PM   #12
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Thanks much for all the feedback. All answers mention an attorney so I will look for an attorney in that field. Keep the suggestions coming so that I might know a little bit about what questions to ask.
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Old 03-08-2011, 04:32 AM   #13
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We used a great trust attorney who also works with our financial planner/tax advisor so all bases were covered.

they provided three copies of the trust document, one for the safe, one in a place my kids know where it is and one to give to the trustee. Between the two of them, did great work and now when we review our financial plan, our financial planner/tax consultant takes into account the trust when structuring the investment portfolio.

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Old 03-08-2011, 08:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
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We did our trust and will thru an attorney that specializes in that field.
Yup!
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