Estate planning attorney of Legacy Assurance Plan of America for Wills,Trust & Avoid Probate

Loading...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Take Care to Choose Wisely in Selecting Your Executor or Successor Trustee


Summary: There are a number of very important decisions you have to make as part of the creation of an estate plan. One of the most important is the selection of your executor or successor trustee. Whether you choose one person or several people serving together will depend on the specifics of your family. Your estate planning attorney can help you sort through the benefits and drawbacks of all of your options.

When you begin the process of contemplating who should be your executor or successor trustee, it is important to select someone who is best equipped to carry out the instructions you’ve laid out in your plan. To help in this process, it is useful to avoid any possible confusion or misconceptions about the process of selecting your executor or successor trustee.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have to choose only one person. This is definitely untrue. Each family is different and so, the person or people serving in this capacity will look differently. For some families, there may be one person who is uniquely well-suited to take on these responsibilities. Perhaps, for example, among your group of children, there is one who has the closest relationship with you, lives the closest to you geographically and also has the strongest acumen when it comes to business, legal and financial matters. For a family like this, it may make sense to name this child as both your executor and your first successor trustee.

In a lot of families, though, this will not be the case. You may have one child who lives nearby while a different one has the greatest legal and financial skill. In this example, you may want to consider making both of these children co-executors or co-trustees. It is very important to make sure that, if you name multiple people to serve at the same time, that they are people who can work together successfully to ensure the most efficient carrying out of your instructions.

You should also take care to name alternates in the event that your most preferred people cannot serve, whether due to their death, illness of other reasons. Naming second and third alternates helps to ensure that your plan will not be saddled with needing a judge to name someone to serve. This will cause delay, expense and may result in someone serving whom you didn’t want.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, depending on where you live, the person or people you want to serve as your executor (or one co-executor) may be ineligible. Some states have rules that limit executors to people who are residents of that state, or who make non-residents jump through extra procedural hoops in order to serve. One thing to keep in mind is that there are no similar rules restricting who may serve as the trustee of your living trust.

If the person or people you prefer live in a different state from you then, depending on where you reside, this may be another good reason to look at the possible advantages of including a revocable living trust in your estate plan. Selecting the documents to go in your plan, as well as the people to carry out the instructions of your plan, is one of the many pieces of the estate planning puzzle that your estate planning attorney can help you as you sort through the “plusses” and “minuses” of each option.

This article is published by the Legacy Assurance Plan and is intended for general informational purposes only. Some information may not apply to your situation. It does not, nor is it intended, to constitute legal advice. You should consult with an attorney regarding any specific questions about probate, living probate or other estate planning matters. Legacy Assurance Plan is an estate planning services-company and is not a lawyer or law firm and is not engaged in the practice of law. For more information about this and other estate planning matters visit our website at www.legacyassuranceplan.com

This article written and published by:
8039 Cooper Creek Blvd
University Park, Florida 34201
844.306.5272 (Phone)
@assuranceplan
#legacyassuranceplan





Monday, April 17, 2017

Act Promptly Without Delay | It’s Good Advice Whether You’re Creating a Plan or Updating One

Summary: You’ve probably heard the warning that, when it comes to creating your estate plan, you should avoid procrastinating and act right away. And it is definitely true that there is no time like the present when it comes to establishing your initial plan. However, the importance of acting swiftly isn’t limited just to starting a plan. It also applies to plan changes and other actions, where waiting can be just as problematic and harmful, as it can still create a result where the distribution of your assets doesn’t match your intentions.  

One case that shows the importance of acting right away went through the courts in Tennessee this year. In the case, a woman from Knoxville had created a will in 2007. That will said that her assets were to be split evenly among her children and, if one or more child died before her, then that child’s children took his/her share. Three years later, she created a will codicil that altered her plan. Under the revised plan, her son, Brock, received sole ownership of her home in recognition of his having spent the preceding years serving as her caregiver. 

After another three years passed, the woman was apparently contemplating the content of plan. Prior to this, Brock had passed away, dying in November 2012. The woman obtained a “Confidential Estate Planning Questionnaire” from an attorney, which she completed on Oct. 9, 2013. Five days later, before she signed anything else, the woman died. The questionnaire document indicated made no mention of distributions to any grandchildren. Because of Brock’s death, this meant that the distribution plan in 2013 questionnaire would be very different from the one laid out in the 2007 will and 2010 codicil.

This, of course, ended up causing a court battle. On one side, Brock’s children argued that the questionnaire was not a valid legal document and the 2007 will and 2010 codicil’s instructions should be carried out. On the other side, the woman’s surviving children argued that the courts should order the woman’s wealth distributed under the plan laid out in the 2013 questionnaire, as it represented her true intentions at the time of her death. The woman, they argued, had experienced a “falling out” with Brock’s children around the time of Brock’s death, did not want them to receive anything, and the questionnaire was proof that her testamentary intent had changed.  

Both the trial court and the appeals court sided with the grandchildren. The questionnaire document could only be viewed, under the law, as notes or a memorandum that the woman made in preparation for creating a new will, not an actual and legally enforceable estate planning document. That meant that the 2007 will and 2010 codicil were still valid and that the grandchildren took the grandmother’s home.

The courts in this case had no choice but to rule for the grandchildren. Estate planning questionnaires are very useful tools that some attorneys use with their clients to make the process of estate planning more efficient for both client and counsel. They are not, however, legal documents. If, however, the children’s claims of a quarrel and dispute between grandmother and grandchildren were true, then the outcome in this case would be disappointing, as the woman’s true goals would not have been carried out.


If the children’s assertions were true, though, then the case is a lesson teaching the importance of avoiding delay. The woman had 11 months (from the time of her son’s death until her own death) to update her plan and make sure that she had a plan in place that reflected her true objectives. That’s why act promptly is so very important. No one is promised tomorrow and, as we get older, the odds of something unexpected happening only go up, statistically speaking. The only way to protect yourself against having an outdated plan carried out that doesn’t reflect your planning desires is to make sure that, if something has changed, you act right away. Whether you’re making a plan or updating one, it’s the only way to ensure that the legacy you leave is the one you want.    

This article is published by the Legacy Assurance Plan and is intended for general informational purposes only. Some information may not apply to your situation. It does not, nor is it intended, to constitute legal advice. You should consult with an attorney regarding any specific questions about probate, living probate or other estate planning matters. Legacy Assurance Plan is an estate planning services-company and is not a lawyer or law firm and is not engaged in the practice of law. For more information about this and other estate planning matters visit our website at www.legacyassuranceplan.com

This article written and published by:
8039 Cooper Creek Blvd
University Park, Florida 34201
844.306.5272 (Phone)
@assuranceplan
#legacyassuranceplan



      

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Same-Sex Couples | Marriage Doesn't Mean That You Don't Need an Estate Plan


Summary: All couples, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, can marry in any state in the country. The legal landscape for same-sex married couples is still relatively new given the short period of time in which marriage has been an option. If you're a same-sex couple that has decided to marry, you should make the mistake of thinking that, now that you're married, you no longer have a pressing need for thorough and careful estate planning. Even with legal status, same-sex married couples have just as much need for estate planning as their heterosexual counterparts and, in many situations, even more.    

 As of the fall of 2016, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in all states had been in effect for a little more than one year. With that ruling, the institution of marriage became available to an expanded number of couples. The availability of the option to get married is likely very exciting for many couples; something long hoped for and greatly anticipated. In the past, many same sex partners were strongly warned to make very sure they engaged in careful estate planning because, in the absence of an option to obtain a legal recognition of their relationship, a complete estate plan was their only safeguard against potential outcomes that would be extremely damaging to their partners.

However, even though marriage is legal now, and you may have even decided to "take the plunge," that doesn't mean that you should now ignore the need for estate planning. This is true for many reasons. First, just because you're legally married now, that status doesn't mean that your spouse will necessarily inherit what you want him/her to. Same-sex couples find themselves in a unique legal situation due to the history of marriage in this country. Same-sex marriage has only been available everywhere since 2015, and has only been available anywhere since 2003. This means that many same-sex couples, especially older ones, have lived for years or decades without marriage. A side-effect of this is that, even if they've married now, they may have accumulated, and perhaps continue to hold, substantial amounts of wealth separately instead of holding the vast majority of their wealth jointly as spouses.

If you die with no estate plan, your assets will pass according to what's known as the "intestacy statute." Generally, under most states' intestacy statutes, a deceased person's assets are split between the person's spouse, children and parents/siblings, depending on who survives the deceased person. In Texas, for example, if don't have children and you die before your spouse and your parents, while your spouse would take all of the real estate you two own together, if there is any real estate you happen to own in your own name, then that property gets split 50-50 between your spouse and your parents. In a state like Pennsylvania, the parents' share is even more dramatic. Your spouse gets the first $30,000 from your estate. After that, everything is split 50-50. If one of your estate planning goals is to ensure that your spouse inherits most or all of your assets, then you need to make sure that you have a valid estate plan in place.

Secondly, and relatedly, your plan can carry out your goals in the unfortunate event that your spouse dies befoee you do. If that happens, your estate at the time of your death may include not just your wealth but much or all of your spouse's wealth. If you have no children and have no plan, the intestacy statutes will seek out your closest living relatives and give them this entire amount. That may not be what you want. Perhaps you are estranged from your family. Perhaps you and your spouse always talking of leaving your wealth to a favorite charity after you both die. In either of these scenarios, you need a plan in place to make these objectives occur.    

Finally, your complete estate plan will include power of attorney documents, which can be extremely helpful if you become ill or injured. Power of attorney documents allow the person named within them as the signor's agent to make many essential decisions on the signor's behalf. These can include decisions about medical care as well as financial matters. Your medical power of attorney (sometimes known as a healthcare proxy)  allows you to name whomever you want to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot make them yourself. While spouses generally can make decisions on each other's behalf by virtue of their marriage, what if your spouse travels extensively? Or is in poor health? Your document can ensure that another trusted friend or relative is authorized to act.

Your financial power of attorney can be very helpful even if your spouse is the person you want to handle everything. Your spouse cannot use his/her marital status to gain automatic authority to access and control your financial accounts you own by yourself. If you have these kinds of assets, you need to have financial power of attorney in place that names your spouse (or the person you want to manage your wealth) as legally authorized to do so.

This article is published by the Legacy Assurance Plan and is intended for general informational purposes only. Some information may not apply to your situation. It does not, nor is it intended, to constitute legal advice. You should consult with an attorney regarding any specific questions about probate, living probate or other estate planning matters. Legacy Assurance Plan is an estate planning services-company and is not a lawyer or law firm and is not engaged in the practice of law. For more information about this and other estate planning matters visit our website at www.legacyassuranceplan.com

This article written and published by:
8039 Cooper Creek Blvd
University Park, Florida 34201
844.306.5272 (Phone)
@assuranceplan
#legacyassuranceplan



Monday, April 10, 2017

Using 'Joint Tenancy With Right of Survivorship' Accounts as Part of Your Estate Plan



Summary: There are many techniques that can help you avoid the potential costs and delays of probate. Just because all of these techniques can be entirely effective at avoiding probate does not, however, mean that they are all equal. With some of these techniques, the benefits of probate avoidance come with a downside of greater risks -- risks that your planning goals may be stymied, or that your plan could end up requiring costly and time-consuming court litigation to sort out.   

Joint tenancy with right of survivorship (JTWROS) accounts, as well as pay-on-death or transfer-on-death accounts, can be wonderfully useful tools in some situations. Sometimes, they can be a helpful part of your overall estate planning. In certain circumstances, they can be a simple and low-maintenance way ensure that your assets pass to your desired beneficiaries without the hassles, costs and delays of probate administration. However, in many other situations, they can be risky way to try to avoid probate. They can potentially put your wealth in jeopardy if the person you've added to your account decides to use the account funds for his own purposes, rather than your goals. Alternately, even if the person you've added to your account is above reproach, your assets could still be at risk if that person divorces or is successfully sued by someone. What's more, they ca also pose the potential of requiring expensive and stressful court litigation in order to get your wealth to the beneficiaries that you wanted to have it.

Take, for example, a case decided by the courts in September 2016. The case involved the estate of man named John, who was a senior in declining health in the final years of his life. He had both a checking account and a savings account. He had several people listed on his checking account as authorized signors. They included, in addition to John, his daughter, a grandson and the grandson's wife. On the savings account, authorized signors included John, the daughter and the grandson's wife.  

The problems arose shortly after John died. First, the grandson withdrew $22,000 from John's checking account. The grandson's wife then withdrew nearly $26,000 from John's savings account. This sum of almost $48,000 represented roughly 50% of the total amount in the two accounts combined. The couple claimed that they were entitled to the money because the accounts were joint accounts with right of survivorship. In an account that is truly a JTWROS, all of the "tenants," or owners of the account, have equal claims to the account's assets in the event of the death of the account holders.

In John's case, the problem that led to the court battle was a lack of clarity. If the account truly was a JTWROS asset, then the grandson and his wife had the legal right to withdraw the funds that they withdrew for whatever purposes they wanted. However, John's daughter, who was acting on behalf of John's estate, claimed that the grandson and wife were not joint tenants; they were only added to John's accounts as signatories as a convenience to John. Ultimately, the courts sided with the daughter. The trial court ruled that the grandson and wife didn't have any evidence to show that John intended for the money in his checking and savings to pass to the daughter, grandson and grandson's wife as a JTWROS account would. If the outcome reached by the courts was not what John intended, then at least some of the objectives of his estate plan were frustrated. Even if the outcome did reflect John's goals for the money in his checking and savings, which appears to have been more likely, it still took an expensive and time-consuming court battle to achieve this end.     

Careful planning can potentially help you avoid an unfavorable situation like what happened with this man's estate. There are ways to create a plan that will take the guesswork out of your planning goals. One example is a revocable living trust, which can allow you to dictate, with great specificity, exactly what you want to achieve with regard to each of your assets and each of your beneficiaries. In addition to this, it can also benefit you by avoiding probate while at the same time sidestepping some of the risks involved with other probate-avoidance techniques like JTWROS accounts.    

This article is published by the Legacy Assurance Plan and is intended for general informational purposes only. Some information may not apply to your situation. It does not, nor is it intended, to constitute legal advice. You should consult with an attorney regarding any specific questions about probate, living probate or other estate planning matters. Legacy Assurance Plan is an estate planning services-company and is not a lawyer or law firm and is not engaged in the practice of law. For more information about this and other estate planning matters visit our website at www.legacyassuranceplan.com

This article written and published by:
8039 Cooper Creek Blvd
University Park, Florida 34201
844.306.5272 (Phone)
@assuranceplan
#legacyassuranceplan




Thursday, April 6, 2017

Planning for Your Stepchildren | How the Law Impacts Blended Families



Summary: Today, blended families are more common than ever. These families may include parents who were widowers, widows or divorcees. In many of these families, a stepparent's relationship with his/her stepchildren may become very close, such that the stepparent desires to include the stepchildren in his/her estate plan. Whether you have stepchildren you want to ensure get a portion of your wealth, or you have stepchildren you want to receive nothing, it is important to ensure that you have a valid estate plan in place, so that you can be sure that your objectives are achieved and you leave the legacy that you desire.

Here, in 2016, the legal standard of "no-fault" is the law in each of the states. California was the first to pass its no-fault divorce law, nearly a half-century ago. With the expansion of these laws has come an increase in divorces among American couples. With the substantial uptick in the percentage of couples whose marriages end in divorce has also come an increase in blended families. In many of these families, a stepparent may come to share a very close relationship with his/her stepchildren, eventually becoming as much of a parent-figure as the children's biological parents. In the classic TV show, "The Brady Bunch," Mike Brady's sons did not know Mike's second wife as "Stepmom" or "Carol." She was just "Mom."

However, the law does not always see things the same way. Generally speaking, unless you have initiated and completed the process of legally adopting your stepchildren, they have no relation to you under the law in most states. This can have a significant impact on your estate if you die with no valid estate plan in place. There is some variation from state to state in the intestacy laws regarding stepchildren and their right to inherit from stepparents. A few states, like Iowa, Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri (among others,) say that stepchildren can inherit from a stepparent who dies intestate (meaning dies without an estate plan,) but only if the stepparent dies with no surviving relatives of any kind that can be located, and the only other option (besides distributing the estate to the stepchildren) would be allowing the estate to go (or "escheat") to the state treasury.

Others states, like California, say that a stepchild can take from a stepparent's intestate estate if the stepparent desired to adopt the stepchild but some legal barrier preventing the process from being completed. Very recently, a Michigan court case went even further. In that case, the deceased father died with a will, but the court declared that document to be a forgery. As a result, the court declared the man to have died with no plan, and distributed his intestate estate three ways, between a son, a daughter and the man's stepson. In this case, the stepson became an heir solely based upon his having formed a parent-child relationship with the stepfather before age 18 and continuing that relationship until the stepfather died.  

What does all this legal language mean for you? It means that, for the vast majority of people, it is best to get an estate of your own choosing put into place, and not leave your legacy up to the laws of your state of residence. If you have stepchildren, there are two distinct scenarios where allowing your wealth to be distributed according to intestate law can go very wrong. The first situation is if you have stepchildren with whom you are close and whom you want to include in the distribution of your wealth. If you live in one of the majority of states that does not recognize unadopted stepchildren as relatives, then they will get nothing from your assets unless you get an estate plan with a will (or will and living trust) that dictates who you want your beneficiaries to be. With a properly drafted and executed will or living trust, you can ensure that your stepchildren will get the fair share of your assets that you want them to have.

Alternately, you may have stepchildren with whom you're not close and whom you don't want to receive anything. While most intestacy laws say unadopted stepchildren get nothing, laws can change. And you may already live in a state that recognizes unadopted stepchildren as relatives. Again, the best way to make sure that your goals are achieved is to ensure that you have a validly drafted and executed estate plan in place. The law says that you can disinherit anyone except your surviving spouse. Whether someone is a child or stepchild, you can leave them nothing as long as it is properly spelled out in a valid estate plan.  

This article is published by the Legacy Assurance Plan and is intended for general informational purposes only. Some information may not apply to your situation. It does not, nor is it intended, to constitute legal advice. You should consult with an attorney regarding any specific questions about probate, living probate or other estate planning matters. Legacy Assurance Plan is an estate planning services-company and is not a lawyer or law firm and is not engaged in the practice of law. For more information about this and other estate planning matters visit our website at www.legacyassuranceplan.com

This article written and published by:
8039 Cooper Creek Blvd
University Park, Florida 34201
844.306.5272 (Phone)
@assuranceplan
#legacyassuranceplan



Monday, April 3, 2017

Guardianship Abuse | How you can Protect Yourself


Summary: Courts, legislatures and attorneys general are continuing to come face-to-face with the ongoing scourge that is the misuse of guardianship legal proceedings in order to abuse seniors. While this abuse can often involve the loss of a senior's personal autonomy, it also often involves financial abuse, as well. There are certain things seniors can do to protect themselves, especially when it comes to estate planning. But taking pro-active steps to to put a complete estate plan into place, you can better protect yourself from the possibility of someone using the legal system against in order to seize control of your wealth.   

Another state is taking on the monumental task of trying to reform its system of adult guardianship and conservatorship. In this case, that state, as reported by the Associated Press in October 2016, is Nevada. That pursuit of reform came on the heels of a 15-month study into the system, which revealed far too many stories of "'abuse, fear and distrust' in the program." The state's Attorney General, who also promised to attack the problem, promised to do what his office could to prevent guardians from swindling the people they were supposed to be protecting.

The "flash point" that helped trigger this action was series of newspaper reports in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which exposed a considerable amount of this abuse that was going on. "Some of the cases were just horrible to read," Barbara Buckley, the executive director of the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, told the newspaper. "Individuals in this situation are being stripped of their civil liberties, the right to run their life as they see fit, without anyone speaking to them or advocating on their behalf."

Other states have discovered similar problems and have sought to put reforms into place to stop this abuse. One of the earliest sources splotlighting this problem of guardianship abuse was a book entitled, "The Retirement Nightmare," by Diane G. Armstrong. Originally published, in 2000, Armstrong's book sounded the alarm regarding how this previously relatively little-known part of the legal system was being abused to strip away seniors' rights and wealth.

In her book, Armstrong outlined several vital, and easy, steps people can take to reduce or eliminate their risk of being the subject of an unwanted and unneeded guardianship proceeding. Although the author published her book 16 years ago, her advice when it comes to estate planning is just as useful today as it was in 2000. First, Armstrong recommends "working with the right attorney." This of course, is key. An attorney experienced in the law of estate planning can give a full picture of the legal options available to you for your estate and make helpful recommendations regarding what estate planning tools will (or won't) help you achieve your planning objectives.

In her second and third points, Armstrong highlights executing the proper legal documents to carry out your planning goals. These documents, which make up a complete estate plan, include a will, a power of attorney for financial decisions, a power of attorney for healthcare decisions, a living will. Depending on your situation, you plan may also include a revocable living trust.

A living trust is often best-known for its potential benefits when it comes to avoiding probate. But a living trust may also offer a degree of protection when it comes to an involuntary guardianship, as well. Sometimes, people go to court asking a judge to declare your mentally incompetent and appoint someone to manage your assets (often known as a conservator or guardian of the estate,) in order to take the control of your assets away from you and put it in their hands. A living trust may help you avoid this potential pitfall. Your properly funded living trust may be able to help even if this were to happen. That's because, in your revocable living trust, you likely named yourself as the initial trustee and named one (or hopefully multiple) successor trustee(s,) whom the trust stated would take over managing the trust if you died or were declared incompetent. Therefore, even if a judge did make such a declaration, all that would happen in your case is that the management of your assets would pass from you to the person you named as your successor trustee when you signed your trust document. 

This article is published by the Legacy Assurance Plan and is intended for general informational purposes only. Some information may not apply to your situation. It does not, nor is it intended, to constitute legal advice. You should consult with an attorney regarding any specific questions about probate, living probate or other estate planning matters. Legacy Assurance Plan is an estate planning services-company and is not a lawyer or law firm and is not engaged in the practice of law. For more information about this and other estate planning matters visit our website at www.legacyassuranceplan.com

This article written and published by:
8039 Cooper Creek Blvd
University Park, Florida 34201
844.306.5272 (Phone)
@assuranceplan
#legacyassuranceplan





   

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Joint Tenancy With Right of Survivorship | Possibly a Risky Proposition

Summary: There are many techniques that can help you avoid the potential costs and delays of probate. Just because all of these techniques can be entirely effective at avoiding probate does not, however, mean that they are all equal. With some of these techniques, the benefits of probate avoidance come with a downside of greater risks -- risks that your planning goals may be stymied, or that plan could end up requiring costly and time-consuming court litigation to sort out.   


Joint tenancy with right of survivorship (JTWROS) accounts, as well as pay-on-death or transfer-on-death accounts, can be wonderfully useful tools in some situations. Sometimes, they can even make up a helpful part of your overall estate planning. In certain circumstances, they can be a simple and low-maintenance way ensure that your assets pass to your desired beneficiaries without the hassles, costs and delays of probate administration. However, in many other situations, they can be risky. They pose the potential of having your money wind up in the hands of people other than the ones you wanted or, only less problematically, requiring expensive and stressful court litigation in order to get your wealth to the beneficiaries that you wanted to have it.

Take, for example, a case decided by the courts in September 2016. The case involved the estate of man named John, who was a senior in declining health in the final years of his life. He had both a checking account and a savings account. He had several people listed on his checking account as authorized signors. They included, in addition to John, his daughter, a grandson and the grandson's wife. On the savings account, authorized signors included John, the daughter and the grandson's wife.   

The problems arose shortly after John died. First, the grandson withdrew $22,000 from John's checking account. The grandson's wife then withdrew nearly $26,000 from John's savings account. This sum of almost $48,000 represented roughly 50% of the total amount in the two accounts combined. The couple claimed that they were entitled to the money because the accounts were joint accounts with right of surviviorship. In an account that is truly a JTWROS, all of the "tenants," or owners of the account, have equal claims to the account's assets in the event of the death of the account holders. 

Using these types of accounts as a probate-avoidance technique can be harmful in some situations. They can potentially put your wealth at risk if the person you've added to your account decides to use the account funds for his own purposes, rather than your goals. Alternately, even if the person you've added to your account is above reproach, your assets could still be at risk if that person divorces or is successfully sued by someone.

In John's case, the problem was a lack of clarity. If the account truly was a JTWROS asset, then the grandson and his wife had the legal right to withdraw the funds that they withdrew. However, John's daughter, in her lawsuit, claimed that the grandson and wife were not joint tenants; they were only added to John's accounts as signatories as a convenience to John. Ultimately, the courts sided with the daughter. The trial court ruled that the grandson and wife didn't have any evidence to show that John intended for the money in his checking and savings to pass to the daughter, grandson and grandson's wife as a JTWROS account would. If the outcome reached by the courts was not what John intended, then at least some of the objectives of his estate plan were frustrated. Even if the outcome did reflect John's goals for the money in his checking and savings, it took an expensive and time-consuming court battle to achieve this end.      

Careful planning can potentially help you avoid an unfavorable situation like what happened with this man's estate. There are ways to create a plan that will take the guesswork out of your planning goals. One example is a revocable living trust, which can allow you to dictate, with great specificity, exactly what you want to achieve with regard to each of your assets and each of your beneficiaries. In addition to this, it can also benefit you by avoiding probate while also sidestepping some of the risks involved with other probate-avoidance techniques like JTWROS accounts.   

This article is published by the Legacy Assurance Plan and is intended for general informational purposes only. Some information may not apply to your situation. It does not, nor is it intended, to constitute legal advice. You should consult with an attorney regarding any specific questions about probate, living probate or other estate planning matters. Legacy Assurance Plan is an estate planning services-company and is not a lawyer or law firm and is not engaged in the practice of law. For more information about this and other estate planning matters visit our website at www.legacyassuranceplan.com

This article written and published by:
8039 Cooper Creek Blvd
University Park, Florida 34201
844.306.5272 (Phone)
@assuranceplan
#legacyassuranceplan