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Making The Complex Understandable

Elder law: Remember to properly fund trusts

Avoiding complex situations is an instinct for numerous people. To many Louisiana residents, aspects of elder law can seem complicated and confusing, and as a result, they may avoid creating an estate plan. On the other hand, parties may think that they have their affairs in order, only for issues to arise later due to improper planning.

To hopefully prevent unnecessary conflicts, individuals may wish to ensure that they understand the uses of various estate planning tools and how to ensure their effectiveness. For instance, trusts can help estate holders protect assets and eliminate the need for probate. However, if individuals fail to place necessary assets into the trust, the account may not prove as useful as it could have. 

In order to avoid probate, parties need to place probate assets into their trusts. These assets can include solely owned property and funds that do not have designated beneficiaries. Because accounts with beneficiaries pass directly to the named individuals, placing those assets into a trust could cause complications. Individuals may also wish to review their joint ownership agreements, as property without rights to survivorship will need to be probated.

The types of property in an estate can have a significant impact on whether a trust will prove effective. Therefore, interested Louisiana residents may wish to assess their property and their needs. If they do believe that creating trusts could benefit them, they may want to gain more information to ensure that they properly fund those trusts. Gaining assistance from experienced elder law attorneys could help concerned individuals bolster their plans.

Source:, "Improperly funded trusts can be very costly", Stephen Lacey and Brooke M. Benzio, May 15, 2017

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