Estate Planning and Trusts 2/16/11

Joe McDonald’s presentation was very informative and individually beneficial. Joe’s vast knowledge of trusts and estate planning touched on topics of personal interest for each of us, including those who already have trusts established.


Joe explained that New Hampshire is on the cutting edge of estate law reform and is well positioned to be one of the top four states in the country as a favorable state in which to establish trusts. Our parents’ generation is poised to transfer 12-16 trillion dollars to the baby boomers and the safest way to do that is through trusts.

New Hampshire adopted major changes in 2006 that make trusts more “user friendly” and thus appealing as a way to preserve and transfer money that our parents and we have worked a lifetime to earn.


Important considerations in the design of a trust include:

1) “Gate keepers”. They are trustees who are named to be sure that assets aren’t distributed carte blanche to recipients who need supervision in the use of money. 2) Proper stewardship for the funds to preserve the value according to the wishes of the creator of the trust. 3) A possible incentive-based trust that will distribute funds related to the earned income of the recipients. 4) Use the simplest plan to achieve the desired results. 5) Don’t rush in the creation of a trust. (Make sure it is created properly.) 6) Be very careful about setting up an irrevocable trust that gives your money to someone else. If you need the funds later and you’re “locked out” there would be a major problem.


Other points:

1) Private perpetual trust can be useful to help funds last for more than two generations.

2) Special needs trusts can be very helpful in supporting handicapped persons.

3) Annuities are often oversold by agents who gain a large commission. Be very cautious when someone offers to sell you annuities. Annuities are price-competitive, and weak companies can undercut strong ones, but are much more risky and assets could be lost.

4) The average stay in a nursing home is three years.

5) Long term care policies can be helpful but are expensive so consider self-insuring by paying the premiums to yourself with deposits in a separate account to be used only for nursing home care. If you don’t need to use the funds, then you still have them.

6) Try to avoid living with parents. They miss out on socializing with others their own age.


We appreciated Joe’s visit and knowledge, and suggest contacting him if you have any questions. He can be reached at 228-9900 or

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