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Tip #1: Living Trusts are the Way to Go. There are many article stating wills, joint tenancy and beneficiary designations are good enough. I disagree. In this post I am not going into the details of the pitfalls with wills, joint tenancy and beneficiary designations. The point is a Revocable Living Trust, if done correctly, is the way to go in almost situations where clients have assets.
Here is why: 1) Trusts avoid probate if funded properly, saving time and money; 2) Trusts help take care of you upon incapacity (successor trustee steps in or co-trustee is already acting) and take care of your estate at your death, 3) Trusts can help manage assets for beneficiaries, such as minors, or for those who just cant handle money, and for the unknown and unpredictable situation your beneficiaries may find themselves in such as divorce, bankruptcy, disability, incapacity, etc.; 4) if the trust has a Trust Protector provision, a 3rd party Trust Protector can make necessary changes to be sure the purpose of the trust is met and help protect the trust, and; 5) Estate Tax planning can be done without the need of a Court.
Basically, I really like all the tools available in a properly drafted trust!