As your parents age and retirement looms, they need help maintaining their independence and ensuring they are taken care of. Even though they may be ready to kick back, relax, and enjoy retirement, they still have personal and financial obligations, and setting up a trust in California is one way to ensure they make the most of their Golden Years.
At Marcia L. Campbell, we have helped manage seniors’ finances for decades to relieve the strain this places on their relationship with loved ones to make the most of their retirement with private fiduciary services. Learn how a trust can help and how to set it up in our blog.
Setting Up a Trust in California for Your Senior Parents
Setting up a trust for elderly parents can help them as they age. Below, learn what makes trusts a valuable tool to help your aging parents and how to set up a trust in California.
What Kind of Trusts Are There?
Setting up a trust in California for your elderly parents can enable them to maintain the quality of life they have come to enjoy. Still, there are different kinds of trusts, each with its own advantages. The three general types of trusts are:
- Revocable living trusts, which they can amend or revoke at any time during their lifetime. Living trusts for elderly parents enable them to maintain control of assets and make it difficult for non-trustee family members to mismanage money or assets.
- Irrevocable trusts, which are a great option for seniors 65 years old or older. With an irrevocable trust, they retain their assets and maintain their quality of life without sacrificing their eligibility for Medicaid, and it protects assets from creditors.
- Testamentary trusts, which may protect a senior’s assets when a spouse dies. The deceased senior’s assets pass into this trust, enabling the appointed trustee to make all financial decisions regarding the assets, protecting them from scams, fraud, or general mismanagement of assets, which are all concerns when they are grieving.
In addition to these advantages, these trusts also offer tax benefits to seniors while eliminating probate costs, which can be significant benefits. Before setting up a trust, determine which one is right for your senior loved one.
Related Article: What Are the Elder Care Financial Service Options in California?
How to Go About Setting Up a Trust in California for Elderly Parents
Before learning how to set up a trust in California, the first step is organization.
Sit down with your parents and ask questions about their assets, such as life insurance policies, brokerage accounts, houses, and valuables. Determine what you want to include in the trust.
Afterward, help them gather all of the documents related to their assets, like stock certificates, life insurance policies, property titles, and deeds. Have your parents choose beneficiaries, and have them choose a trustee and successor trustee. If they are married, they may need a shared trust.
“In these situations, many parents want to elect family, like a child, to act as trustee and oversee their trust. Choosing family to act as a trustee and manage their estate is rarely a good idea because it often causes more stress and problems as complex family dynamics and their inexperience in this field surface.” – Marcia L. Campbell CPA
Then, with the help of your fiduciary, make an appointment with a qualified, experienced estate planning attorney to prepare the documents for your parents’ signature according to California requirements, and have them sign and notarize it.
After the paperwork is done, the attorney will usually change the titles for property like real estate. Have your parent(s) change the titles for assets like bank accounts and brokerage accounts.
This final step is one of the most important because it is one that many people forget to do during this process.
Related Article: How Do I Talk to My Parents About My Trust?
Additional Help For Seniors and Daily Money Management
Still, many seniors have more needs than a trust can help with, especially when it comes to managing day-to-day finances. There are several ways to help them with daily money management. At Marcia L. Campbell CPA, we can do it all. These services include:
- Finding a home management service provider who will come into the home, review bills, write out checks, have your parents sign them, and then mail the checks to the vendors.
- Finding a home money management service provider who will have all the bills sent to them, write the checks, have your parents sign them, and then mail them.
- Assigning a Power of Attorney for one specific bank account to a daily money management professional who would have access to this account and sign checks from that account to pay bills. This individual would manage the paperwork and let your parents know when to replace the money in the account for checks they wrote. If you set up automatic deposits of income or automatic transfers, your parents’ involvement could be minimized.
- Using a trust, though this type of document isn’t normally used unless a parent is no longer capable of taking care of their own finances. An attorney should be consulted on whether setting up a trust is right for your parents.
Do You Need Help Setting Up a Trust in California? We Can Help.
Setting up a trust in California can provide crucial financial security for your elderly parents and peace of mind, so you both can make the most of their retirement. They may be ready for retirement, but their financial and personal obligations are most certainly not. Let Marcia L. Campbell CPA ensure your senior loved one is taken care of, financially and personally.
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