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End of life planning: protecting your assets

Those who plan to set up inheritances for their children often do not plan to leave a significant portion of their assets to third parties; however, more often than not, that is what occurs. Many estate planning attorneys fail to discuss asset protection, or the manner in which people's money will be managed after they pass away.

Many people include trusts in the process of estate planning. The trusts, which are funded at death, usually receive the proceeds of assets that include life insurance and other financial accounts. However, they are usually set up for those who may not be sophisticated as far as investing is concerned, such as children and other beneficiaries.

Few legal professionals suggest selecting a directed trustee; that is, an individual who only handles the administration aspect of the trust and not the money. Another option would be to include special verbiage including investment guidelines for the trustee to follow as far as appointing a separate investment adviser to manage the assets in the trust is concerned. An attorney might recommend specific language to help move the adviser in a positive direction.

Estate planning can be a complicated and confusing process. Speaking with an attorney may be beneficial for those thinking of planning for the end of life process. An attorney may be able to offer insight and options as far as wealth protection is concerned. A skilled attorney might help with the planning of life savings in the event of nursing home costs, unexpected medical costs and other issues that may arise. An attorney may suggest a particular direction in which to move that may be constructive in protecting assets and preserving wealth.

Source: U.S.News & World Report LP, "Protect Your Assets After Your Death", Daniel Solin , September 26, 2013

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