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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Why you don't need a living trust

By Sandra Block






Living trusts are typically marketed as a way to avoid the cost and hassles of probate, the legal process used to determine that a will is valid and that your property is distributed according to your wishes. All too often, though, they're sold to people who don't need them, says Sally Hurme, a project adviser for AARP. An estate plan that includes a trust costs $1,000 to $3,000, versus $300 or less for a simple will. What a living-trust promoter may not tell you:

You don't need a trust to protect assets from probate. You can arrange for most of your valuable assets to go to your heirs outside of probate. A home or other property that's owned jointly with the right of survivorship goes directly to the joint owner when you die. Likewise, pensions, retirement accounts and life insurance policies automatically transfer to the beneficiary. You can keep bank accounts out of probate by setting up payable-on-death accounts, which give the recipient immediate access to the money. More than a dozen states allow transfer-on-death deeds for real estate, says Mary Randolph, author of The Executor's Guide, by Nolo.

Probate doesn't have to be a nightmare. Many states have streamlined probate for small estates. In California, for example, inheritors of estates valued at up to $150,000, excluding property that passes directly to beneficiaries, can skip probate.

You must transfer property to a trust. For example, if you want your home to be included, you need to record a new deed transferring ownership to the trust. This can be a hassle, but if you overlook this step, the living trust is a "worthless piece of paper," Hurme says.


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There may be unforeseen consequences. When you create a trust, you name yourself as trustee so you have control of the assets. Most married people name their spouse as joint or successor trustee. This could create problems if you become incapacitated and your spouse develops, say, dementia. Randolph recommends naming another successor, such as an adult child, as trustee. Finally, don't believe anyone who says a living trust will make it easier to qualify for Medicaid. Assets in a living trust are "countable" for purposes of Medicaid eligibility.


Sometimes a living trust makes sense. For example, if you own out-of-state property, such as a vacation home, putting it in a living trust will save your heirs from probate in that state. And Danielle Mayoras, an elder-law lawyer, recommends living trusts to clients who want to leave more to one child than the others.

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Sandra Block is a senior associate editor at Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.



All contents copyright 2013 Kiplinger's Personal Finance Distributed by Tribune Media Services. All rights reserved.

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