Putting Together a Portfolio
Our first step in preparing your Portfolio is gathering information about you, your family, and your financial situation. We go a step further with the Retirement Trust Portfolio by determining what you want your retirement to look like. Our Trust Portfolios are similar to our Estate Planning Portfolio –but are centered around a trust instead of a will.
Here are the top questions we get:
What are the differences between the Estate Planning Portfolio and the Trust Portfolios?
- The Estate Planning Portfolio is centered around a comprehensive last will and testament. It takes care of making sure your wishes are clearly laid out and validly enforceable under Louisiana law. Durable powers of attorney are included as well as health care directives, living wills, and much more. The Estate Planning Portfolio, because is is based on a will, does not avoid probate.
- The Living Trust Portfolio is centered on a revocable trust. Unlike the Estate Planning Portfolio, probate is avoided. The cost is higher than an Estate Planning Portfolio, but the expense and delays of probate (or two probates for married couples) are avoided. This portfolio includes a comprehensive trust. Unlike a will, a trust allows you to fine-tune how and when your beneficiaries receive their inheritances. You can include grandchildren and you can provide that beneficiaries receive your estate in stages or over their lifetime.
- The Retirement Trust Portfolio takes the Living Trust Portfolio a step further by including comprehensive retirement planning. It includes planning for maximizing Social Security benefits and for making the transition from the accumulation of income stage of your life to the distribution of assets stage of your life.
- The Special Needs Planning Portfolio includes all of the other features of our trust portfolios, but includes provisions for special needs beneficiaries. These provisions basically help to insure that your beneficiary does not lose any government benefits that are means tested by using special language to protect the beneficiary’s benefits. The Special Needs Planning Portfolio also takes into account the particular care issues that a special needs person is likely to encounter, such as making sure a supportive and understanding care taker will always be there after you are gone.
How do I avoid probate?
When clients ask us about trusts, the first thing they want to talk about is whether a trust avoids probate. The answer is “Yes, most definitely –as long as it is done correctly”
What exactly are you getting by avoiding probate?
None of the expense or delays of the probate process.
For couples, you are actually avoiding 2 probates.
Privacy: no public filing of personal information.
No open court proceeding that encourages litigation.
And what about my surviving spouse?
We find that most people give very little thought to how the surviving spouse is going to transition to being a single person and responsible for all the planning and decision making. Your Trust makes all of this seamless and easy.
The survivor still has control of all of the Trust assets.
No need for legal proceedings to get the family home transferred to the survivor.
Takes care of issues involving forced heirship so survivor does not have to liquidate any assets
How does a Trust help my children?
One or more of your children, or whomever you choose, takes over as Trustee. Again, this is easy and seamless –your Living Trust, Retirement Trust, or Special Needs Trust spells out what needs to be done and you have already determined what will take place.
Your Trust takes care of the asset collecting and distribution work that would otherwise be handled through probate.
The distribution of your property is handled quickly and exactly according to your wishes.
No guesswork –your Portfolio makes what you want clear.
Built to meet your specific needs.
Each portfolio we build is designed for your situation. No two are alike just like no two families are alike.
Can be used to control IRA distributions.
Can contain Special Needs provisions.
Can provide for the needs of grandchildren.
Can address the issue of children from different marriages.
What’s in a Trust Portfolio?
Here is a sampling of some of the contents of your Portfolio. Click on the tabs below to get an idea of what your Portfolio will contain. The Retirement Planning Tab, of course, is only in the Retirement Trust Portfolio.
• Retirement Plan • Personal Property Memorandum
• Trust Declaration • Deeds
• Durable Powers of Attorney • Investment Plan
• Health Care Powers of Attorney • Non-trust assets
• Living Will • Personal and Family History
• Instructions to Trustee • Personal Care Plan
• Final Disposition (funeral) Instructions • Funding Instructions
Your retirement plan section starts off with our exclusive Social Security Maximization report. Whether you are planning for retirement or already there, this report will show you exactly how much you will receive in Social Security benefits at any given point in your life. It will also tell you the optimum month and year in which you should start your benefits. If you are married, there will be reports for both of you. We also go through projected income needs and whether there is a gap that needs to be addressed.
This is the actual Retirement Trust document. It is a revocable trust structured to comply with Louisiana law as to forced heirship and other requirements unique to Louisiana. It is a type of trust that our law firm has used for over thirty years with a very successful track record.
In most cases we prepare Durable Powers of Attorney to both husband and wife. We can also prepare powers of attorney to one or more children or anyone else that you trust to be able to make financial decisions should you be incapacitated and not able to make your own decisions. Not many people realize that retirement accounts, such as IRAs, are frozen if the account owner is incapacitated. Your Durable Power of Attorney avoids this problem by specifically authorizing your agent to manage any retirement accounts.
Your Health Care Power of Attorney enables the person you choose to make medical decisions on your behalf should you be unable to make decisions yourself.
Your Living Will, if you choose to have one, states whether you want to be kept on a device that is keeping you alive past the point you would normally die and two doctors certify that they believe you will not recover.
Gold Key Service
All of the legal documents we prepare for you will be certified by us and then scanned in color to a metal flash drive. Your flash drive will be included in a special pocket in your Portfolio.
We will also make your documents available to you on our secure Web site so you can access them any time, any place –at home or on your mobile device. You will be able to show your power of attorney, for example, to a bank officer on your mobile device and even print it out. Your documents will be stored on our server in a password-protected directory that only you can access.
Give us a call or visit -get your estate planning underway
Take the first step. Nothing is more important at this stage of your life than making sure things happen the way you want them to happen. With estate planning and financial planning, delay is not a plan. We find that too many people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.