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Co-Ownership Myths - III

One of the most confusing aspects of estate planning is the numerous myths about co-ownership of property. Many people do not understand the differences between a tenancy in common and a joint tenancy with right of survivorship. Many people do not understand what a tenancy by the entirety is or was. Many people do not understand the differences between the common law forms of co-ownership and community property.

Guardianship or Conservatorship, Generally

Most people have legal control over themselves and their property. They are able to act on their own behalf. But when a living person is unable to protect or care for himself or herself, or for his or her property, because of old age, illness, or other disability, the law of guardianship (or conservatorship) permits the appointment of a competent person to protect and care for the incompetent person and/or manage the incompetent person's property.

Making Final Arrangements -- Ceremonies

When formulating your estate plan, you should contemplate body disposal and ceremonies. Writing out a statement of your preferences will likely save money and save your loved ones from additional heartache. Typically, at least one ceremony occurs when a person dies. Sometimes several ceremonies are held, either before or after burial or cremation. Most loved ones are likely to be comforted by attending a ceremony that reflects the wishes and personality of the deceased person.

Medicaid Trusts

Medicaid is a needs-based (welfare) benefit program administered separately by each state, but funded in part by the federal government and in part by each state. A person qualifying for Medicaid is allowed to have only a minimal amount of assets, other than a home. Although each state may have certain differences in its particular Medicaid regulations, each must follow certain basic federal guidelines in order to be eligible for the federal subsidy. One of those guidelines is the waiting period imposed on a person who transfers assets and later applies for Medicaid benefits.

Trust Elements - Beneficiary

A trust has five main elements. First, a settlor transfers some or all of his or her property. Second, the property transferred by the settlor is designated trust property. Third, the trust property designated by the settlor is transferred with the settlor's intent that it be managed by another. Fourth, the trust property designated by the settlor is transferred for management by a trustee. Fifth, the trust property designated by the settlor is managed by a trustee for the benefit of a beneficiary.