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How a Living Trust Can Safeguard Your Assets in the Face of Alzheimer’s

As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, managing financial affairs can become increasingly challenging. Establishing a living trust is one powerful tool for protecting your finances and ensuring your wishes are honored. Here’s how a living trust works and why it’s vital to your financial protection plan when facing Alzheimer’s.

What is a Living Trust?

A living trust is a legal arrangement that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to the trust while maintaining control over them during your lifetime. As the grantor, you can act as the trustee, managing the trust assets. Upon death or incapacitation, a successor trustee you designate will manage the assets according to your wishes.

Benefits of a Living Trust for Alzheimer’s Patients

  1. Avoiding Probate: Assets held in a living trust do not go through probate, the legal process of distributing a deceased person’s estate. Probate can be lengthy, costly, and public. A living trust ensures a smoother, quicker, and private transfer of assets to your beneficiaries.
  2. Maintaining Privacy: Unlike a will, which becomes a public record during probate, a living trust keeps your financial affairs and asset distribution private, protecting your family’s privacy.
  3. Seamless Asset Management: With a living trust, your designated trustee can manage your assets seamlessly if you become incapacitated due to Alzheimer’s. This ensures that your financial obligations are met and your loved ones are provided for without interruption.

Creating a Living Trust

You’ll need to work with an estate planning attorney specializing in trusts to establish a living trust. The attorney will draft a trust document that outlines how your assets should be managed and distributed during your lifetime and after your death. This document will detail the roles and responsibilities of the trustee and successor trustee.

Funding a Living Trust

Creating a living trust is just the first step; you must also transfer ownership of your assets to the trust. This process, known as “funding” the trust, is crucial to ensure the trust effectively protects and manages your assets. Your attorney can guide you through this process, which may involve retitling property, updating beneficiary designations, and transferring ownership of bank accounts and investments.

The Role of a Pour-Over Will

It’s important to note that a living trust does not replace the need for a will. You’ll still need a “pour-over” will to catch any assets not transferred to the trust during your lifetime. The combination of a well-crafted living trust and a pour-over will provide a comprehensive framework for protecting your finances and ensuring your wishes are carried out in the face of Alzheimer’s.

Choosing a Trustee

Selecting a trustee is a critical decision. This person will manage the trust assets according to your wishes. You can choose a family member, friend, or professional fiduciary. It is essential to select someone trustworthy, financially savvy, and willing to take on this significant responsibility.

By establishing a living trust, you can have peace of mind knowing that your assets will be managed and distributed according to your desires, even if Alzheimer’s renders you unable to manage them yourself. This powerful tool can help protect your legacy, provide for your loved ones, and ensure that your financial affairs are handled with care and discretion.

To learn more about these essential steps and how to protect your finances in the face of Alzheimer’s, read our new white paper, “Protecting Your Finances in the Face of Alzheimer’s: Essential Steps to Take Now,” from Oceanview Life and Annuity Company. Access the white paper here.