Will v. Trust
You made promises to yourself and your loved ones during your life. Your estate plan is the memorialization of those promises.
“Do I need a trust or a will?”
Answer: Unless you choose one or the other, the State of Oregon will dispose of your assets by a statutory scheme called “Intestate Succession.” The way your assets will be distributed depends on your marital status, your children and the presence of extended family. (Oregon Revised Statutes 112.025 to ORS 112.055).
A will is a document that directs how your assets will be distributed after you die. If you choose to dispose of your assets in a will, then, after you die, the will must go through a court-supervised process, called Probate (ORS 111.085). If the will is validly executed, then your directions are carried out. If it is not validly executed or if a person challenges your directions, then the will is contested in a court hearing.
A trust is a set of instructions about how to dispose of your property that can become effective either during your life or after you die. Assets in trust do not go through probate. The instructions of the trust are carried out upon the happening of an event that you specify. It could be a gift that is given to the recipient when the recipient reaches a certain age. It could be upon your death.
Am I on track to meet my financial needs in retirement?”
For many people, the quiet, subjective answer is “yes.” However, several objective measures indicate otherwise. Advancements in nutrition and health care have worked to help us live longer. In 2013, the average life expectancy for an American was 78.5 years. One in four people over 65, in 2013, will live into their 90s. At any age, we can make a plan that helps you reach our goals. At what age do you want to retire? Where do you plan on living? How much will you need to spend each month to sustain yourself?
I have worked with Medicaid and Medicare systems my entire career and can help you calculate your health care costs into your retirement plan. Medicare does not cover all of your potential health care needs. Also, there are deadlines for applying for Medicare Benefits.
If you hope that social security, by itself, will be enough to support you during retirement, you will be disappointed. Indeed, the Social Security Administration states clearly that Social Security Benefits are intended, and have always been intended, to be insurance, an addition to a fully funded retirement plan, not a substitute.
Marital Asset Planning: Marriage is both a commitment of love and of finances. While it is challenging to think and discuss how each individual’s assets will be contributed in the marriage, I can facilitate that discussion so that both of you can reach your goals.
“My spouse and I will both collect Social Security. Will that plus our retirement savings be enough?”
Maybe. It depends on how well you saved during your working careers. What I can do is maximize your social security benefits. Depending on the income and age of each spouse, deciding when to elect to draw social security and when it is prudent to delay taking social security can make a big difference in retirement planning. Depending on each of your ages, health and hereditary potential for disease, and the amount each has contributed over your lifetimes, a plan can be made that maximizes your pay out from social security.