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Irving Legal Blog

The pros and cons of a living trust

While doing your research on effective estate planning, you have probably heard that avoiding probate is beneficial and that the best way to do so is through establishing a living trust. Another name for this kind of financial arrangement is a revocable trust. 

A living trust is one you establish during your lifetime and that you remain in control of. Before you decide to set it up, however, understand all the pros and cons of this kind of trust to ensure you make the best choice for your estate.

Tips for Alzheimer's caregivers

Alzheimer's is a degenerative disease that impacts the brain in many ways, though it is most commonly associated with memory loss. People who suffer from it eventually have trouble living alone because they can become a risk to themselves -- forgetting to turn off the stove, for instance, or forgetting how to get home.

Professional care is not always needed right away. Caregivers often include a spouse and other close family members. Here are a few tips that can make this go smoothly:

  • Reduce negative assumptions: Instead of assuming a person is incapable of doing something, assume he or she can do it until evidence shows otherwise.
  • Always focus on safety: Even if the person does not want help, safety must be the top priority.
  • Talk about it: Don't just try to figure out what help is needed on your own. Keep lines of communication open so that the other person can tell you how best to help him or her.
  • Cooperate with one another: A caregiver does not have to do everything, at least not at first. You can just help the other person accomplish the same tasks.
  • Find out what stresses the other person out the most: Take over those activities. Examples may be simple things like going to the grocery store or answering emails.

3 key statistics about long-term care

As you move toward retirement age and start getting your estate planning in order, you're likely thinking about the potential need for long-term care. Unfortunately, this isn't the type of care you receive with the hope of recovery; it generally means that the impact of aging has made it difficult for you to care of yourself indefinitely.

That can make planning tough. How long will you really need that level of care? How much is it going to cost? The answers are different for everyone.

For a family business, the succession process should take time

When doing your succession planning for your family business, an important part of the estate planning process, it's critical to remember that things are not going to happen overnight. It takes time. It takes work.

Some have cited the old adage that "Rome wasn't built in a day." It's a apt saying. Building something great isn't something done all at once. While your company may not be as influential as Rome, the same principle applies. You have to do the work to help the company -- and your family -- get to where you want it to be.

How soon should you prepare for business succession?

Opening your own business is a testament to your hard work and determination. Naturally, many small business owners start a company because they want financial security for themselves and their families. That is part of why it is so disheartening to learn as many as eight out of every 10 businesses fail within the first 18 months in the United States. 

Even if your business moves past the first 18 months, there is still the matter of one day transitioning ownership or selling shares or otherwise exiting the business. And many business owners want their children to one day take over the company. This begs the question: When should you begin preparing your children for this role?

When is guardianship essential (or not essential) for an elderly loved one?

Many senior citizens in the United States rely on a legal guardian. There are two primary types of guardians. There are those who have guardianship of the person, which means the guardian is responsible for overseeing daily activities, health care and financial decisions. There are also estate guardians who predominantly oversee any property and high-value assets the individual owns. 

Many people get into their 70s and 80s and are perfectly capable of watching after themselves without any assistance. Many senior citizens needlessly have a guardian. It is important to look at your family's specific situation to determine if a guardian would be a true asset or a waste of money and resources. 

Should you leave assets to your children outright?

Perhaps the most common way to leave assets to heirs is simply indicating in the will which heirs will get which assets outright. For instance, you have $1.5 million saved up and you have three children. You leave all of them $500,000, a gift you know they'll enjoy.

This can work, and it often does for smaller amounts of money. However, there is a risk. Can your children handle the influx of cash? Are they going to waste it? Make sure you take the time to really consider where each of your children are at and what they can handle. This is especially true with significant estates.

3 things to know about the VA Aid and Attendance benefit

Many veterans and their families are aware that there are benefits available to them; however, there are some benefits that are more well-known than others. One of the lesser-known benefits is the Aid and Attendance benefit, sometimes called A&A.

The Aid and Attendance benefit can be extremely helpful to veterans and their families. Here are three things you should know about this benefit.

Who is eligible for the VA Survivors Pension benefit?

The Survivor's Pension, also known as the Death Pension, is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to a surviving family member of a war time veteran. The benefit is payable to a low-income, un-remarried spouse and/or the unmarried child or children of the deceased veteran.

With an estimated 21.8 million veterans as of the last U.S. census, understanding the benefits available to the veteran and his or her family members has far-reaching, positive consequences.

For a loved one with a disability, are there good alternatives to guardianship?

When you have a minor or an adult child with serious disabilities, a guardianship is one way to help ensure that your child receives appropriate care after you are gone. However, if setting up a guardianship sounds too complicated or costly, there are some alternatives that may interest you.