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Can my father's Trust protect my assets?

September, 2011

demoQ - I am working on my father's trust and started transferring his assets as required.  I like the protection that's provided by his Trust, can I use his trust to protect my assets?  A - Once you have completed all the elements of the trust, including the transfer of assets, the trust is considered finished.  And no, unfortunately you cannot use your father's trust for your assets, but if your father's Trust was completed by us, you are eligible for our preferred client pricing, call us to find out more.  

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HIPAA Compliance

April 2003

demoThe Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides protection for release of individually identifiable health information and special release and consent authority to all healthcare providers before medical information can be released.  HIPAA effects documents executed in a trust, as such, it is not grandfathered in which means that it can render executed documents of previous executed Living Trust useless.  Ensure your Living Trust is in compliance with these regulation.  All IntegriTas Living Trust are in compliance with the order. 


Who Contacts  the Survivors? 

December, 2011

demoQ - My father died and I believe he had a trust.  Does the attorney contact me to discuss my dad's last requests?  I don't have the attorney's information and how does the attorney know that he is deceased?  A - Unless the attorney was a friend or the Trustee for your dad, its unlikely he would know that your father passed.  So first, you need to start checking around the house for the trust manual.  Did your dad have a safety-deposit box? Once you have located the manual, you can determine who is the Successor Trustee and who will carry out the provisions of your dad's trust.  If someone else has been named Successor Trustee, you will need to get in contact with that person to ensure they carry out the orders of the trust.


Frequently Asked Questions

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Are there setbacks or major concerns in purchasing a Living Trust?

  • No! It is a well-proven probate elimination tool that has been used for 300 to 400 years. The only reason for not having a Living Trust is if your total estate value falls below the minimum limit for Probate in your state. In most states that is about $30,000. However, not all attorneys know how to properly design a Living Trust. The Living Trusts, if properly-prepared can not cause problems. The problems occur when professionals who execute the Trust do not explain how to fund the Trust. The failure to change titles and ownership to the Trust causes challenges, but once these things are done, your Living Trust is easy to maintain.
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Why should I be so concerned if I have a properly written Will?

  • The American Bar Association states: Your Will is filed with the probate court. Probate is a formal court-supervised legal procedure that validates, gives recognition to a Will, and appoints executors or personal representatives who will administer your estate and distribute assets to the intended beneficiaries. All property, debts, and claims of your estate are inventoried and appraised. (A Will can be contested, made public for creditors to review, and heirs can lose estate control.)
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Question answered by the American Bar: What happens if you don't plan?

  • If you die without planning, you've in effect left it to state law to write your Will for you. The state will make certain assumptions about where you'd like your money to go. Your hard-earned money might end up with people who don't need it. Others who might need the money or who are more deserving could be shortchanged.
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I am not wealthy, I am not of senior age, so do I have an Estate?

  • Whether young or older, did you know that if you own real estate or a home you have an estate? Upon death of the original owners a loved one will want to change ownership of such real estate into the beneficiary’s name. This action facilitates the Probate process. Wills and assets are made public for all to view. (Private wishes become public.)
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Can you avoid Probate?

  • America’s Consumer Law Experts state: “Property and other assets transferred into a Living Trust before death does not go through probate.” Unfortunately, most people transfer or add other persons to their accounts to either avoid Probate or to feel secure that their adult children could take care of things should they become incapacitated. Never add another person on the title of your property or your accounts as owners including parents and children. It could cause you and your family some very serious problems possibly exposing you to a lawsuit.
    Article in AARP: Winding up in probate court. Many Americans overlook simple steps to ensure that their estate—or at least a big chunk of it—avoids being processed through probate court. Probate proceedings can drag on for months or even years. (Very Costly)
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If I have a Living Trust do I also need a Will?

  • Yes and Integritas designs a "Pour-Over Will". All Revocable Living Trusts should contain Pour Over Wills which automatically "pours over" any assets you forgot to put into the Living Trust.
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Unlike a Will can a Living Trust be contested?

  • No, it is highly unusual. A former spouse cannot break a Trust, so long as all assets are properly funded into the Trust. An Integritas Living Trust contains language that makes it almost impossible to contest, even by an heir. It states that if an heir is not happy with their share of the assets and wishes to contest the Trust, they will receive nothing! When an Integritas Revocable Living Trust is designed you have avoided Probate. Your loved ones are free from the financial delays, excessive cost, and emotional stress caused by Probate.
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Can Integritas Estate Services prepare my Living Trust?

  • Of course and certainly, yes. Integritas Trust Services specializes in producing high-quality Trusts for families, professionals and estate planners. Integritas means Integrity and you can be assured we will produce your Living Trust exactly to your specifications. Every Integritas Trust is designed by attorneys with years of experience, and 100% guarantee for legal accuracy. You will also receive necessary changes to your trust FREE for the life of your trust. Your one-time Trust fee covers it all.
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How should property and accounts be titled?

  • As a general rule, all of your property should be titled in the name of your Trust as follows:  John and Susan Smith, Trustees of the John and Susan Smith Revocable Living Trust. Other than how you sign certain documents you manage the Trust just as you have managed your life. A Trust does not change your life. Attorneys and professionals who execute the Trusts should provide asset transfer letters for your signature so mistakes are eliminated, but most do not. An Integritas Revocable Living Trust contains asset transfer letters, and we walk you through the entire process relieving you of the burden.
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Can I sell or add new assets to my Living Trust?

  • Yes, you can. You retain complete control. You can sell assets and add new assets yourself without requiring a call to the attorney or a change of the Trust. You can do anything you want with your property while it is in the Trust. The Trust does not own you, you own it.
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How do I fund my Trust?

  • Integritas walks you through the funding process. It is simple to do and very, very important. You place your assets into your Trust by changing the name on your titled assets, i.e. real estate, bank and savings accounts, life insurance, money markets, stocks, mutual funds, CDs, annuities, bonds, into the name of your Living Trust. This is a very important step that must be done for your assets to truly avoid the Probate process.
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How do I give inheritance or items to my children and heirs at death?

  • You retain the power to make changes at any time to children or heirs by simply entering those items on Exhibit A hand written or typed. It is that easy. If you desire major changes in the Trusts an amendment to your Trust, is provided by Integritas.
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Can I appoint one of my children as the Trustee for my Living Trust?

  • Yes, you can, but children are normally appointed as the Successor Trustee upon the death of the last trustee. You remain the Trustee during your life and your children take over at your death. However, you cannot name a minor child as a Trustee, AND you must be careful about who you appoint as Successor Trustees. Criminal records or health issues can bring to bare legal questions as to whether they should be Successors. Integritas will advise and help select the proper Successors.
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Will my Successor Trustee’s divorce or bankruptcy cause me problems?

  • Should your Trustee go through a divorce, bankruptcy, or litigation, (other than criminal litigation) their affairs will not affect your assets or interfere with their responsibilities to assist you. The fact is your Trustees do not have title to any of your assets placed in Trust. Their only role is to act as a fiduciary looking out for your benefit. In any event, they would not come into play as Trustees until your death or incapacity.
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Can I afford an Integritas Revocable Living Trust?

  • Probate, attorney fees and court cost can be expensive, and consume inheritance that was meant for loved ones. Probate can go from six months to two years or more. You can afford a Trust and it is better than trying to afford probate. John Wayne, “The Duke “had an estate, and intended to leave loved ones with a great inheritance. The Duke did not have a Trust and probate lasted 25 years leaving ZERO inheritance to loved ones. Individuals plan for retirement, buy life insurance in case of early death, plan their funerals, but do not take the next step to protect spouses or loved ones from probate.
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Does a Living Trust protect me from creditor attachment of my assets?

  • Yes, it contains a spendthrift clause which protects you from attachment by creditors of Trust property at death. However, a Living Trust provides no protection against lawsuits, or judgments.
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Does transferring property into a Living Trust cause a reappraisal of the property so that property taxes are raised?

  • Absolutely No! Revenue and Taxation Code 62 states that a transfer into a Revocable Living Trust does not cause a reappraisal or revaluation of the property for tax purposes. Do I have to file a special tax return for a Living Trust? No, you continue to file a 1040 as you always have, using your social security number. A Living Trust does not need a tax identification number and does not file a tax return of its own. -  More importantly, an Integritas Revocable Living Trust is not a taxable entity. It also does not trigger a reassessment for property tax.
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How do we end our Living Trust?

  • The Trust will remain active until such time as your instructions dictate the end of the Trust or all assets are finally distributed. After your death, you can retain assets in the Trust for distribution to heirs over a number of years, therefore the Trust is active. This could take a few years, or decades. When you die and all the assets in the Trust are distributed, the Trust will end. It depends on how you express your wishes in the Trust.
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Are Living Trusts legal in every state?

  • Actually, Living Trusts are legal in every state or any country using English Law. You may move from state to state with little or no modification of your Trust. Some states prefer certain wording of specific documents, but they do not invalidate your Revocable Living Trust. If you change residence within three years Integritas will provide changes at a reasonable cost.
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When will I need to update my Living Trust?

  • At least once every three years you should review your Trust with the professional that designed it. Any major changes in your family, such as marriage, divorce, death, birth, etc., could justify a change in your Trust. If Successor Trustees or Guardians can no longer fulfill their responsibilities, you should make changes accordingly.
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