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How a Trust Can Help an Older Married Couple

When it comes to Idaho estate planning there are many options available to an individual depending on their circumstances. An individual who is single will likely not have the same requirements or concerns as a person who is married or who has children. Likewise, a young married couple will likely not have the same needs as an older married couple. Our goal as Idaho estate planning attorneys is to assist each client with their individual and unique circumstances and to make sure that their intentions are carried out. For over 70 years our estate planning team in the Racine law office has helped clients create customized estate plans regardless of their circumstances. We often assist older married couples and in many instances, for varying reasons, recommend that they should include a trust as a part of their estate plan.

The Racine Law Office estate planning team is made up of partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. We are proud that each of our attorneys has received exceptional peer and client reviews during the last several decades. Our team of Idaho estate planning attorneys is able to assist each of our clients plan and prepare for the unique circumstances and needs of their family and loved ones.

The needs of older married couples will be quite different from those of other individuals. If you are part of an older married couple there are three specific things you should know about how a trust can help you with your estate plan.

1. Avoid Costs of Multiple Probate

The first way that a trust can help you if you are an older married couple is that it will assist you in avoiding the cost of multiple probates. When the spouses in an older married couple each reach their 70s or 80s they will likely recognize that one or both of them will pass away in the near future. In Idaho a probate is required any time an individual passes away when they own real property or when their estate is valued above $100,000. While the costs of every probate will vary a typical Idaho probate will cost in the range of between $1,500 to about $2,500. Because this is for each probate it will cost double for an older married couple if the probates are completed separately.

By using a trust, an older married couple can transfer their ownership interest in their real estate to the trust so they no longer own it individually. Additionally, they can also lower the value of their estate below $100,000 by transferring into the trust their ownership interests in other assets as well. When this is done a probate can be legally avoided. Additionally, a trust allows the older married couple to be specific about who will receive the property after they pass away. In this way, a trust works very similarly to a last will and testament. It’s simply avoids the need for a probate to occur before those assets can be distributed.

The cost of completing a trust typically ranges between $1,250 to about $2,500. As a result, if an older married couple creates a trust and properly funds it with the assets that they own thereby reducing their own personal estates, they can reduce the expenses associated with probate by about half. This saves both time and money for remaining family and loved ones.

2. Medicaid Planning

The second way that a trust can help an older married couple is with Medicaid planning. Medicaid is a benefit available for individuals who need financial help with assisted living. This could include in home healthcare, or, more than likely, it would include being moved into an assisted living center. The idea of Medicaid is that it pays for the assisted living expenses when an individual cannot pay for these expenses themselves.

Medicaid requires that an individual use all their own assets first to pay for the assisted living care. This usually means that there are little to no assets remaining that can be distributed to a person’s family or loved ones after they die. By using a trust, an older married couple may be able to receive Medicaid assistance and at the same time protect their assets so that they can be transferred to their family and loved ones after they die.

Medicaid planning is detailed and requires specific things to be done at a specific time. If an older married couple is considering using a trust a part of Medicaid planning they should discuss it with a qualified attorney who can review all the details of how it can properly be done.  

3. Allows Multi-Generational Gift Giving

The final way that a trust can help an older married couple is by allowing them to use what we call multi-generational gift-giving. Essentially what this means is you can control who your assets are distributed to or used by for several generations if you choose. Not all individuals want to do this, however some do. For example, older married couples who are grandparents often use a trust as a way of holding monies that can then be used for their grandchildren to assist them with educational or other needs that might arise later in the lives of the grandchildren. This gives the grandparents an opportunity, and a way to help their grandchildren even if the grandparents pass away are no longer living when the grandchildren need the help.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

Our team of Idaho lawyers can help you with any of your estate planning needs if your spouse has passed away. Whether you are seeking to create or review an estate plan for yourself or would like to help a loved one, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free 30-minute consultation. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation. You can also email us directly at racine@racinelaw.net. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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