Archive for the ‘Estate Planning’ Category

Is The Successor Trustee Important?

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Yes!  It is wise to name not only your immediate successor, but subsequent successor trustees as well.  An individual trustee my refuse to accept the position, or may resign from the position due to any number of reasons.  The trustee may become disabled or die.  Most clients tend to want other family members or close friends to act as successor trustees.  But since all individuals eventually pass away, it is good practice to name a bank trust department or other corporate trustee as the final successor trustee on the list.  Some clients with very high net worth, or very complex assets, may name an institutional trustee from the very beginning – either as co-trustee with a trusted family member, or serving as the sole trustee.  Come join us in November for our annual Successor Trustee Workshop!  Sign up is easy through our website!  We hope to see you there!

Other Documents You Should Expect to Have In Your Estate Plan

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

A proper estate planning portfolio using living trust-centered documentation should always contain:

  • A section for personal and family information, including addresses and telephone numbers.
  • A list indicating the location of original documents such as the original trust, will, life insurance policies, and birth certificates.
  • A list of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of professional advisers, trustees, and family advisers, such as attorney, accountant, insurance agent, and priest/rabbi/minister.
  • A list of all assets that you own including certificates of deposit, bank accounts, life insurance policies, annuity contracts, retirement accounts, and business interests.
  • Your revocable living trust agreement or, if you are married and it is applicable, a joint trust for both of you.
  • An affidavit of trust that contains pertinent facts about your trust that can be used to prove the trust’s existence while preserving the privacy of its detailed provision.
  • Your pour-over will (which acts as a safety net to transfer any assets you own into your revocable living trust, appoints a guardian and revokes prior wills and codicils, so they don’ t interfere with the new plan)
  • A memorandum to distribute your personal effects (what form this takes will depend upon the state in which you reside)
  • Durable powers of attorney to appoint agents to fund your revocable living trust with any assets inadvertently or otherwise left out of the trust and to manage your other financial, personal, and legal affairs
  • A durable power of attorney for health care to designate an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf and to authorize medical service providers to allow your agent access to your medical information and records
  • A living will or advanced medical directive that expresses your wishes about the use of life-support systems and invasive medical procedures to artificially extend your life
  • Memorial instructions that contain your burial or cremation wishes and information on the type of memorial service that you would like to have
  • An anatomical gift form that allows you to make a gift of all or part of your body for medical or dental education and research, therapy, or transplant procedures (should you wish to do so)
  • Property agreements to sever and terminate your and your spouse’s joint tenancy interests so that those interests can be transferred to your respective revocable living trust
  • Documentation of the assets that have been transferred to your revocable living trust

Often times my biggest frustration, as an estate planning attorney, is reviewing the estate plan that contains only a will, or only a trust.  Non of the supporting documents exist, or aren’t inclusive enough.  Make sure you have all of the above information within your estate planning documents!  Otherwise, things more then likely will not flow as smoothly as anticipated.