Elder Law/ Guardianship/ Incapacity

Living Trusts

Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust allows one to transfer ownership of property to a separate entity called a trust which is managed according to the rules established in the trust document for the benefit of the beneficiaries named in the trust. The trust is managed by a trustee specified in the agreement. The individual setting up the trust may serve as a trustee but name someone to take over in the event that he/she becomes incapacitated, or choose another person to act as the trustee. A revocable trust allows one to change the terms or revoke the trust if one changes one’s mind.

Irrevocable Living Trust

Irrevocable living trusts are similar to revocable living trusts, except that one cannot revoke (that is, change or end) the trust after it has been established. An irrevocable trust also may provide savings on the estate taxes, and may prevent the loss of government benefits for a loved one.

Living Will or Advance Directive for Health Care

An Advance Directive is a written document that may be used under certain circumstances to tell others the care one would like to receive or not receive in the event one becomes incapacitated. A living will is a form of advance directive.

Power of Attorney or Durable Power of Attorney

In New Jersey, any person of capacity, 18 or older can designate another person to serve as Power of Attorney to act on his/her behalf. Power of attorney can be limited to certain specific responsibilities or it can cover large general areas of decision-making regarding financial affairs. It is best to work with an attorney to make the arrangement as precise but as flexible as needed. The individual does not give up decision-making power with a signed power of attorney. He/she has simply named an agent who has the authority to act under circumstances as outlined in the power of attorney document. Should the individual become incompetent, the agreement will continue (be durable) unless specifically prohibited in the original agreement.

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