People in North Carolina who are getting a divorce may want to consider changing their estate plan as well. If a person dies before the divorce is final or shortly after the divorce, the ex- or soon-to-be-ex-spouse could end up with the person's assets.
Traditionally, the only way to change an irrevocable trust is with the permission of beneficiaries and costly, time-consuming legal action. The idea behind an irrevocable trust is that the assets in it are outside of the control of the grantor and that it remains unchanged. However, some states, including North Carolina, now permit a process known as decanting that changes the irrevocable trust.
North Carolina residents who are looking to do what's best for their children may be interested in creating a spendthrift trust. This may be especially useful for those who may not have had experience handling money who may otherwise be inheriting a lot of it at once. Such trusts can either be created while a person is still alive or triggered upon a person's death.
North Carolina residents may take advantage of a variety of trusts as part of their overall estate plan. For instance, a testamentary trust is one that is included in a will. The will spells out which assets the trust is to hold after the testator passes away, and they do not avoid probate. However, it may avoid the cost of trying to create and fund a trust while still alive.
North Carolina residents who have an IRA may designate a beneficiary to the account or otherwise include it in an estate plan. How it is accounted for generally depends on who it is going to. It could go to a spouse, which may be beneficial because he or she can simply put the money into his or her own account. Giving the money to a spouse may also be beneficial because that person can delay withdrawals until age 70 1/2.
A living trust can provide many benefits to North Carolina residents. Part of creating such a trust is naming a trustee. While this may seem like an easy thing to do, it does require some thought and planning. In many cases, the person who creates a trust will be the trustee. If the settlor is married, both spouses may be named co-trustees.
Parents and grandparents living in North Carolina are often concerned about the cost of higher education. These individuals often seek out ways to begin saving and investing early so that their children and grandchildren will be able to pursue their educational goals and not graduate with burdensome debt.
People in North Carolina who are creating an estate plan might want to consider a funeral trust. If a person has enough money to pay for long-term care and funeral expenses, a funeral trust might not be necessary. A person may also opt instead to have a life insurance policy to cover funeral expenses. However, a funeral trust can be a way for a person to make arrangements that will prevent the family from having to make difficult decisions while they are grieving. It may also be a good tool for people who have not yet put their wishes for a funeral and burial in writing.
North Carolina couples who are creating an estate plan and who have children from previous marriages might be concerned about making sure that children are treated equally. For example, one woman married a man who had two daughters. In the original version of the estate plan, a trust was set up. The man owned two properties, and according to the terms of the trust, the home that the two daughters had grown up in went to them. His spouse would receive the other property. All other assets would go to the surviving spouse, and on the death of both spouses, all assets would be split 50/50.
People in North Carolina who are creating an estate plan might think that a trust is just for wealthy families. That is not accurate, as they can be used in a number of ways. For example, a special needs trust allows a disabled loved one who is receiving government benefits to be supported while continuing to get those benefits. A spendthrift trust will manage assets for an irresponsible beneficiary while a charitable trust donates money to charity.