The Revocable Living Trust (“Living Trust”) is a bedrock foundation of the modern estate plan. A properly drafted Living Trust offers you complete asset control during your lifetime; provides for you and your loved ones in the event of incapacity; and upon death, allows you to pass your assets to loved ones without the costs, delays, and publicity associated with court probate.
Last week we received a call from one of our clients whose father had died recently. When she came into the office and provided the Will for our review, I was surprised to see that it was over 30 years old and had been prepared prior to her father's second marriage. Needless to say, things had changed and the cost of probate and litigation between children from different relationships will substantially reduce the size of the estate ultimately distributed to the beneficiaries.
For some reason we don't often think about Wills, Trusts or Powers of Attorney, or about making sure that the things we own or are responsible for are going to be effectively managed in the event of our incapacity or death. I have also noticed that most of my clients are over the age of 40, and have concluded that younger adults don't believe they need an estate plan until they are much older or have accumulated more assets.
How can I keep my son's wife from getting his inheritance? Its funny but during the course of most discussions between husbands and wives involving the distribution of assets to children, our clients express concern about what I call the "Evil Spouse." Normally this comes up during the part of our process where we are discussing how everything is ultimately going to go pass to beneficiaries after both husband and wife have died.