Estate Planning really is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you have $4,000 or $400,000. You still have to plan for life’s possibilities. Whether it’s to name a trusted individual to manage your finances if you become disabled or to name a guardian for your minor children or to ensure wishes are known and a procedure is in place to honor your wishes.
Trust administration is the process by which the Trustee manages your assets that have been titled in the trust’s name, and then pays all your expenses and distributes your estate according to your wishes on your death. You are the Trustee of your trust, until such time as you can no longer act due to illness or some other reason, or until your death. The Successor Trustee named in your trust takes over the duty of Trustee in those circumstances.
The Trustee acts in a fiduciary capacity to carry out your estate plan. As such, the Trustee must abide by law in treating all beneficiaries fairly and without benefiting himself over other beneficiaries (if your successor Trustee is also a beneficiary).
Elder law is the focus of attention on the needs of the elderly and those with disabilities, whether the needs be medical, financial, residential, or familial relationships.
A Special Needs Trusts can be created by an individual with their own funds or be created by someone other than a disabled individual, typically a parent or relative.
Medicare is a health-care benefit provided by the federal government to individuals over age 65, or under age 65 and disabled. Medicare covers doctor visits, tests and care provided in a hospital and limited benefits in a nursing home (see below).
Medi-Cal is health insurance for people with limited income and assets. To qualify, your income and asset must not exceed certain limits. If your income or assets exceed the qualifying limits, you will not be eligible. There is no age restriction to qualify.
Probate is a legal process that occurs after an individual passes away, during which the deceased person's estate is administered and distributed. The primary goals of probate are to settle the decedent's financial affairs, pay outstanding debts and taxes, and distribute the remaining assets to heirs or beneficiaries. The process is supervised by a court, and the specifics can vary based on state laws.
Conservatorship is a legal arrangement designed to protect and manage the affairs of an individual who is deemed unable to make certain decisions for themselves due to physical or mental limitations. A court appoints a conservator, who can be an individual or an entity, to take on the responsibility of making decisions on behalf of the person known as the conservatee. There are generally two main types of conservatorship: conservatorship of the person, which involves decisions about the conservatee's personal and health-related matters, and conservatorship of the estate, which pertains to financial and property-related decisions.
Fiduciary accounting refers to the specialized accounting process that manages and tracks the financial activities of a fiduciary, such as a trustee or executor, who is responsible for handling assets on behalf of another party. This type of accounting focuses on ensuring transparency, accuracy, and accountability in handling funds entrusted to the fiduciary, often involving detailed record-keeping and reporting. Key aspects of fiduciary accounting include maintaining clear records of transactions, distinguishing between principal and income, and providing regular, comprehensive financial statements to beneficiaries or relevant parties.