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Trusts

What is a trust? A trust is a separate legal entity for holding and investing property.  One or more persons (the “trustee”) holds property, usually real estate or investments, for the benefit of another or several other people (the “beneficiary”).  The person who gives the property for the trust is known as the “donor” or “grantor”.  The trustee holds legal title or interest and is responsible for managing, investing, and distributing the assets or property of the trust.  The beneficiary

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Making the Most of Your Retirement Benefits

The stock market growth of the past few years has added tremendous value to the retirement plans of many Americans and made it much easier to maintain their standard of living once they stop working. However, it has made one of the more difficult financial and legal planning decisions facing most Americans that much more important.  Not only are the mandatory withdrawal rules complicated, but it’s impossible to predict how long you’re going to live.  Choices you make today, in

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The Basic Rules of Nursing Home Medicaid Eligibility

For all practical purposes in the United States the only “insurance” plan for long-term institutional care is Medicaid.  Medicare only pays for approximately 7 percent of skilled nursing care in the United States.  Private insurance pays for even less.  The result is that most people pay out of their own pockets for long-term care until they become eligible for Medicaid  While Medicare is an entitlement program, Medicaid is a form of welfare-or at least that’s how it began.  So to

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The Probate Process

What is the Probate Process? Probate is the process by which a deceased person’s property, known as the “estate,” is passed to his or her heirs and legatees (people named in the will).  The entire process, supervised by the probate court, usually takes about a year.  However, substantial distributions from the estate can be made in the interim. What property is subject to the probate process? The probate estate includes all property held in the decedent’s name.  Certain kinds of

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Estate Planning Terms

No one likes to think about one’s own death.  However, planning ahead can help your family avoid unnecessary complications, delay and expense.  This may be done through wills, trusts, joint ownership, and life insurance.  In addition, modern estate planning also includes “life” planning through powers of attorney and health care proxies.  These enable someone else to act for you in the event of your incapacity.  Understanding the following terms is the first step toward planning your estate.  However, no estate

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