Calabasas estate attorney

Everything You Need to Know About Prepaid Funerals | Calabasas Estate Administration Lawyers

It’s not something people want to think about, but funerals, even modest ones, can be very expensive. Many families pay more than $10,000 for services, burials or cremations, and other aspects of a loved one’s funeral. One idea that Calabasas estate administration lawyers have seen grow in popularity over the years is paying for funeral expenses in advance with a prepaid funeral contract to relieve family members from the stress of decision making and financial burdens. However, as with any financial decision, you should have as much information as possible before making a commitment to a prepaid funeral contract. Here are some key things to know:

You can plan your own funeral.
This may sound a little macabre, but think about it: you would be saving your family from the emotional rollercoaster of having to plan your funeral. They won’t have to guess what kind of service or funeral preparations you would want if you already made the decision.

You can save your family from the financial burden of funeral costs.
Funerals are often an expense that no one is ready for. Your estate may be able to cover the costs, but keep in mind that the California probate process takes on average about six months to settle, meaning it will be quite some time before your family is able to access the money to pay for the funeral. In fact, they may have to go out of pocket to settle debts before that time.

You’ll probably pay a lower price for your funeral.
Locking into a prepaid funeral contract years before your funeral can actually be cheaper, considering that prices always rise as the years go on. Consider that the average cost of a funeral in 2001 was just over $5000, which has doubled over the course of just 20 years.

It helps with asset protection planning.
Prepaid funeral contracts are considered non-countable assets for Medi-Cal planning purposes. Buying a prepaid funeral contract is usually part of the spend-down strategy when trying to qualify for Medi-Cal benefits.

There are, of course, some drawbacks associated with prepaid funeral contracts. The funeral home may go out of business, you may move out of state, and you also would not get the benefit of interest earned on the contract like you would if you put that money in an investment account instead. This is why it’s important to speak with experienced California estate administration lawyers before you sign any contracts. There may be other ways to handle your funeral plans before you pass away that fit along better with your goals.

If you’d like to learn more about prepaid funeral contracts, or if you already have a prepaid funeral contract and want to see how it fits into a new asset protection plan, please call us at 818-334-2805 to set up a complimentary consultation.

North LA County trust attorneys

North LA County Trust Attorneys: Will a Revocable Living Trust Protect My Assets?

Trusts are an excellent tool for estate planning and asset protection purposes. The most common type of trust is a Revocable Living Trust, which holds your assets and helps avoid the probate process when you pass away. However, Revocable Living Trusts do not help much when it comes to asset protection planning.

What Can I Do with a Revocable Living Trust?

As stated above, a Revocable Living Trust is an essential tool for avoiding probate. If you own enough assets to qualify for a full probate proceeding when you pass away, then you will most likely benefit from a Revocable Living Trust. Assets placed in the trust, such as a home and financial accounts, can pass to your beneficiaries without going through the probate process. This saves your loved ones time and money and provides a level of privacy for your personal affairs. A successor trustee of your choosing can also manage any finances you place in your Revocable Living Trust if you ever become incapacitated, or even if you just do not care to handle your own financial affairs anymore.

Will a Revocable Living Trust Protect My Assets?

Revocable Living Trusts do not protect assets from financial predators. If you owe money to creditors, then those creditors may take assets from your trust, even though the trust is technically the legal owner of the assets. Your Revocable Living Trust is not suitable for asset protection purposes because you are still considered the owner of the assets if you are the trustee because you have complete control over the trust. There are no restrictions on how you can spend the assets in the Revocable Living Trust, and you can revoke the trust at any time. Revoking the trust means the assets will revert to your direct ownership, putting them back under your control. In addition, all assets in the Revocable Living Trust are reported to the IRS for tax purposes under your Social Security number, meaning there is even less separation between you as an individual and the Revocable Living Trust. This is different from Irrevocable Trusts, which have their own tax identification numbers.

If you are interested in learning more about how certain Irrevocable Trusts can be used for asset protection purposes, or if you’d like to learn more about estate planning with a Revocable Living Trust, please contact our North LA County trust attorneys at 818-334-2805 to set up a consultation.