Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Holidays. The Perfect Time to Talk about a Living Trust!

My family tried for years to get my folks to create a Living Trust. While my mom was an easy sell, it was my stepfather, Charlie, who was the holdout. A retired Navy pilot, we figured it was some kind of macho-military thing. He wouldn’t listen to my mom, his daughters or me. But one year during the holidays, my brother brought the subject up, explaining how difficult Probate can be for grieving families. Bingo. It took the intervention of a male for Charlie to take this seriously.

Charlie and my mom finally created their Living Trust when they were in their mid-70s. It took my brother’s intervening again to get my folks to update that Trust when they were in their early 90s. By that time, they were very frail, though they still had testamentary capacity. This update was important, as they’d made some good investments, and one of Charlie’s daughters had died.

Let’s face it—there’s never a great time to talk about end-of-life planning

Yet if your efforts to get your parents or other family members to create a Living Trust have fallen flat, it might be that the holidays are the time for this conversation to resurface. Additional family members may provide the support you need.

A Living Trust provides peace of mind

A Living Trust is a legal document that contains instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die. For my family, it meant that when my parents died, all of their affairs were in order, they had transferred all of their assets into the Living Trust and identified their heirs. Without a Living Trust, their estate would have gone into Probate and my brother likely would have been the one having to work through the Probate process for our family.

Our Trust package includes a Power of Attorney and a Healthcare Directive

Financial Power of Attorney, a written authorization to represent or act on another’s behalf is an important part of life planning. As people age, it’s not unusual for their memories to fade and their thinking to become unclear. The time often comes when they can no longer pay their own bills, interact with their healthcare providers, insurance representatives and other professionals—yet it’s critical that they continue these services. Having a trusted family member or friend step in as Financial Power of Attorney means that the services and care they require will seamlessly continue.

An Advance Healthcare Directive specifies what actions should be taken for your health if you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself because of illness or incapacity. We all like to think that we’re going to age gracefully and die peacefully in our sleep at a ripe old age, but the reality is that people have massive strokes, fall into comas and have debilitating accidents. Planning ahead and creating an Advance Healthcare Directive makes it easier for your family to care for you if an unfortunate situation arises.

A thoughtful gift for your family this holiday: Create or update your Living Trust.

With families gathered for the holidays, it’s the perfect time to encourage procrastinating relatives to create or update their Living Trusts. We’re proud of our comprehensive Living Trust package that includes a Power of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare Directive. Best of all, we guide you through it and we prepare the legal documents. Schedule an appointment with Guideway today.


Guideway services the entire Bay Area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.

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