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Posted August 19, 2009
It's often been said that the only two inevitable things in life are death and taxes. Author Steven D. Fisher addresses both in "The Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Living Trust: A Step-by-Step Plan to Protect Your Assets, Limit Your Taxes, and Ensure Your Wishes are Fulfilled."
Fisher writes in a straightforward fashion. While it's evident he's well-versed in the laws of probate, estate taxes and other stuff that might tend to make the eyes glaze over, he is not a lawyer and he doesn't write like a lawyer. Be glad.
"The Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Living Trust," published by the Atlantic Publishing Group, focuses on living trusts but also explains wills, living wills, trusts, how to deal with minors or young adults in trusts, and it clearly explains the many terms you will encounter in estate transfers. It lucidly explains the advantages and disadvantages of livings trusts, probate and other avenues, and also who stands to benefit from which plans. It also explains how various life insurance products can be used to protect beneficiaries from taxes. It is not, however, a magic formula for avoiding all taxes and lawyer fees. Rather, it shows how to minimize the costs and give more control to you.
Fisher points out that living trusts are not for everyone, especially for those with significant debt issues or a pending divorce.
This book delves into the differences between an ABC trust and a Crummey trust (named for D. Clifford Crummey, not an editorial comment on the merits of the trust) and many other variations of trusts.
The book is 290 pages, but nearly one-third of that includes an appendix with sample documents and a glossary.
If you have an estate that you want to keep out of probate and wish to commence transfer of that estate before you die, "The Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Living Trust" is a must-read.
Posted July 8, 2009
As a soup to nuts explanation of Living Trusts, this book has it all. From anecdotal examples, to sample documents and glossary terms, this book doesn't disappoint. And, just when you start to feel like this is a textbook on living trusts, a nice "real world" anecdote sneaks up and takes that notion away. As a comprehensive guide to the history of trusts and how to use them today, this book hits it out of the park. Don't expect too much concentration on the "cons" of trusts - because you won't find it here. While some of the book feels redundant in places, it is also particularly specific - especially with sections like the one on "special needs trusts". In updated editions I would put more information about The U.S. Federal Trade Commission warnings about certain Living Trust Promoters. This could be useful to the reader as well.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 22, 2009
This book puts a very complicated subject in clear English. What are some of the reasons one would have a trust over a will? A trust is more difficult to contest in court than a will. The effects of a trust can be instituted the moment you become incapacitated and must be written before hand. If you are elderly, seriously ill, or simply want to take the common-sense approach of avoiding probate, then a living trust is a good idea for you. In addition, if you own a significant amount of property, then a living trust is a good choice.
This book speaks about the taxes your loved ones would need to pay such as the Federal estate tax imposed on your estate upon your death or in anticipation of your death. This tax is 45% tax if your estate is worth more than 2 million. Some states collect an inheritance tax. Also there is a "pick up" tax that allows the state to charge a percentage of what the federal government charged. Some people give their children gifts to try and get around this. Now even though gift taxes are exempt if the gift is under $12,000 or is for medical expenses or college tuition some gifts are not. This Book includes what must be listed in a simple trust including the fact that it needs to be signed by a notary. The advantages of having a trust are several. The chapters cover living trusts concerning minor children, including the need to select a guardian within a will.
This book is a must read for anyone with money, property or heirs.
Posted August 15, 2008
The Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Living Trust is an excellent resource for anyone considering creating a living trust. It delineates which individuals would benefit from having such an instrument as part of their estate plan. The book thoughtfully explains both the why and the how-to of the living trust as well as alternative options to safeguarding your estate. It describes how to reduce taxes on the estate as well as create a simpler, quicker transfer of wealth to your intended heirs. Sample forms are included for ease of creating the trust yourself, if you so desire. Mr. Fisher even walks the reader through the process of settling a living trust for the future trustee. This book rates five out of five stars for taking complicated subject matter and making it very easy to understand. I consider it a must-have for anyone with an estate to leave for their heirs.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 15, 2008
No matter what financial situation you are in today, or the size of your portfolio, this book provides all kinds of essential information to help you protect your interests and assets so they can be passed down to family members or favorite charities. Examples are sprinkled throughout many chapters to give the reader a better understanding of complex terms and legal situations. There are interesting historical facts regarding how living trusts evolved as well as the origins of probate court. The example forms located in the appendix of the book, was a feature I found particularly valuable. Form topics ranged from, a revocable living trust, to a health care power of attorney and advanced health care directive. The latter can be used to ensure your final medical wishes are carried out with minimal controversy. The subject matter is displayed in very simple to understand terms and the book can be used by anyone who is trying to determine if the living trust is the right tool for them, based on their individual needs. I liked this book because it not only presented an array of information on such important topics as related tax issues and types of available trusts, but it also explained the pros and cons of going the route of the living trust. The book also touches on two other unique items including same-sex partners and the division of assets, as well as what steps you should take if you are ever charged with administering a living trust.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 27, 2008
Steven D. Fisher has expertly written about the need to creating your own living trust with great insight. With the amount of in-depth information covered, this book is appropriately called a ¿Guide to creating your own Living Trust¿. Steven D. Fisher has elaborated every factor involved in creating a living trust. He has comprehensively explained aspects such as the types of trusts, the need for a will and what type, how to make it easier for the trustees and heirs, the types of laws relating to living trusts and more. The sample forms he has provided are especially helpful. I liked the guidance and advice he presented from the trustee¿s point of view. I especially like the warning about scams involving living trusts, which I didn¿t even know existed. I felt I had to read some parts in the book a few times before I fully understood some aspects he was trying to explain but this could be because there are a lot of legalities involved in the process of creating a living trust to start with. Overall, ¿The Complete Guide to creating your own Living Trust¿ enriches the reader¿s knowledge about living trusts by expansively covering all the aspects and issues related to it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 14, 2008
I was a bit skeptical about the title of this book, The Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Living Trust because when it comes to something as specific as estate planning, wealth preservation and minimizing the ¿death tax¿ ¿ I want to enlist expert help. The fact is that even though I have an advanced degree and know a little about estate planning, I don¿t know what I don¿t know. It¿s kind of like dentistry, while I know enough to brush and floss I don¿t want to drill my own cavities. Having said that, I was pleasantly surprised by Steven Fisher¿s book. It truly is an authoritative work that may very well provide all the necessary guidance for a driven, detail-oriented individual to create their own simple living trust. However, I¿m NOT that individual but the book was still useful. Going into the book I had a vague concept of what a trust was, but Fisher provides an exhaustive look at the dozens of different types of trusts that are currently available under the law. He clearly defines each type while also listing the specific circumstances under which each trust might be best applied. For instance, he distinguishes between a Dynasty Trust, which is a way to legally skirt the ¿rule against perpetuities¿ (you¿ll have to read the book for that definition) a Charitable Trust that allows a direct bequeath to a worthy cause a Special Needs trust for individuals who are developmentally disabled or mentally ill as well as a Pet Trust, which is a legal instrument that ensures a beloved pet is cared for the remainder of its days after the owner passes. Those only scratch the surface of Fisher¿s expertise. Additionally, I thought that chapter five was very interesting because that was where he discusses the different types of assets that should be included within a trust, and those that should not, as well as a meaningful explanation of why that¿s the case of each asset class. The only portion of the book that puzzled me, was a few pages at the end of chapter eight about funding a child¿s education using a state 529 plan and/or a federal Coverdell account. These topics seemed to pop up out of nowhere and weren¿t adequately tied into the premise of the book ¿ I would have liked to know if those assets are even eligible for inclusion within a trust since both my daughters have those educational accounts. Regardless, the book as a whole is an excellent resource, and it also has an outstanding appendix that contains an extremely useful glossary and actual samples of various trusts for review. So whether you¿re up to the challenge of creating your own trust, or you want to ¿trust¿ the expertise of a lawyer this is a useful tool deserving a place on your bookshelf.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 15, 2008
In economic times such as these, securing your assets is quickly turning from a good idea to absolutely crucial, as the odds are growing it can all go away between the taxman and rising expenses. One of the more viable options, aptly covered by Steven D. Fisher in his book 'The Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Living Trust' is to set that property into a living trust - a legal arrangement that sets property aside to be managed for another's benefit, with a good share of tax benefits connected. Trusts can be complex issues, so Fisher keeps the book in order by dividing the sections into concise and readable chapters that answer the main questions you may have if you want to open a trust. He gives the rundown on trusts for 'among others' single people, couples, families, the especially wealthy and those who would like to give to charity, setting each one up so the relevant information is easy to find. The book concludes with genuinely practical information, such as a rundown on living trust scams and sample forms to give you a more personal picture of what a living trust agreement will look like. The strongest part of this book is its accessibility. He lets you know right away if this book is for you 'for example, someone young and unmarried like me shouldn't consider a trust' and walks you through each of the appropriate terms with the acceptance that you may not know any of this to begin with. None of the text is bogged down in enough legalese to be inaccessible, and while some of the information seems excessive- an early section on taxes slows the book considerably - but none of it is ever beyond understanding. I would certainly not advise anyone to set up a trust without consulting an attorney, but 'The Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Living Trust' ensures you will know what you are talking about when you begin the process. Anyone who has a large amount of property and wants to make sure the government doesn't take the lion's share of it would be wise to review it, at the very least to see if a trust is the right idea.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 9, 2008
The Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Living Trust 'The Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Living Trust,' written by Steven D. Fisher, is thorough and helpful to read when you are thinking about setting up a living will or a trust. The book is especially nice because it is fitting for all readers-- a novice like myself could pick up the book and easily understand the world of trusts by the end of the introduction. An estate planning lawyer could use the book as a handy reference. I enjoyed the book because it wasn't pressuring its readers to set up a trust. It was an unbiased point of view, telling the negatives and positives about trusts. It was honest about price and necessity of having a living trust, as they aren't for everyone. It even dedicates a chapter giving readers information to avoid probate besides living trusts. In an organized manner it shows the different parties to a trust, what types of trusts are available and the beneficiaries of a living trust. I also found several little chapters at the end helpful. Fisher went out of his way answer specific questions, like what happens after the grantor dies?, and how do you leave property to minor children? As a living trust beginner, I found the book very helpful because it explained things simply. The table of contents was also nice because it broke chapters into subcategories to make it easier to quickly find information you want. I give this book five stars out of five.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.