Archive | Family Communication

Protecting Your Estate Plan From Divorce

Ten years ago when Ron and Karen created their estate plan, their son Ron Jr. and daughter-in-law Julie were happily married newlyweds.  Fast forward to today and their situation is somewhat protecting estate plan from divorceshaky, with talk of impending separation and divorce.  Now Ron and Karen are worried that Ron Jr.’s inheritance may be in jeopardy.

What can you do to protect your children’s inheritance in the event of a divorce?

Typically, inheritance is treated differently than property acquired during a marriage. But the separate designation provided for inheritance does not provide complete protection, as a court usually has broad discretion to consider all circumstances.

Potentially complicated legal issues can arise when a child with inheritance commingles his or her inheritance with other assets obtained during the marriage.

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Estate Plan Tip: Spendthrift Trusts Protect in a Lawsuit-Crazy World

It used to be that spendthrift trusts were only written for cautious relatives to protect careless or financially-challenged from themselves. Traditionally they would be set up to keep the bulk of the assets out of the hands of the actual beneficiary. Then the trustee would prudently invest and manage the assets, distributing enough to the beneficiary to maintain a certain lifestyle. The goal was to prevent liquidation of the assets at one time, and ensure protection for the estate being handed down to multiple generations.

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Trusts of this nature are set up to help keep future benefits safe, unaffected by today’s bad investment or spending spree. Those receiving benefits from the trust have a built in regulator or governor to slow the flow of money.

However, protecting financially unaware from themselves isn’t the only benefit of a spendthrift trust. While this traditional purpose is just as important in today’s consumer-oriented world, you have a new reason to talk to your estate planning attorney about incorporating a trust into your plan:

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Trusts and Estates: 7 Steps to Designing the Perfect Trust and Estate Plan – Part 6 & 7

Welcome back and congratulations for sticking with us – this is the final post in our four-part series on Designing the Perfect Trust and Estate Plan.  If you missed either of the previous posts or just want a refresher:

Part 1 – Steps 1 & 2

Part 2 – Steps 3 & 4

Part 3 – Step 5

In essence we have saved the best for last – in this post we bring the series to a close by looking at the single most important thing you can do to help your trustee and your family: providing trustee guidance.

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Step 6 –  Provide Guidance

When you are creating your perfect trust and estate plan, you will want to pay careful attention to the instructions you provide to your trustee.  By clearly stating your intent, you can minimize the potential for any conflicts or misunderstandings later. Continue Reading →

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Trusts and Estates: 7 Steps to Designing the Perfect Trust and Estate Plan- Part 5

Welcome back – this is the third in a series of four posts so if you missed either of the previous posts or just want a refresher:

Click here for Part 1 (steps 1 & 2).

Click Here for Part 2 (steps 3 & 4).

The seven steps in this series will guide you through the process of building a working outline for a thoughtful and successful trust document.

In Step 1, we started with Why – figuring out your main purpose or motivation for including one or more trusts in your estate plan. In Step 2, we worked on the Who – listing and describing the people (and possibly charities) your trust will benefit. In Step 3, we talked about the frequency, amounts and types of distributions from the trust to your beneficiaries. In Step 4, we looked at building some much needed flexibility into your trust document, which could be in effect for hundreds of years.

And now . . .

Step 5 – Select Your Trustees

Selecting your trustee is an important step

Selecting your trustee is an important step

This step is so important that we have devoted the entire post to it.  The trustee is the person (or company) whom you designate to carry out your wishes by following the trust agreement.  It is one of the most challenging steps we all face, understandably so.  Hopefully, this information will make it easier.
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Trusts and Estates: 7 Steps to Designing the Perfect Trust and Estate Plan – Part 3 & 4

Click here for Part 1 (steps 1 & 2).

The seven steps in this series will guide you through the process of building a working outline for a thoughtful and successful trust document. Here is a refresher on what we covered in Part 1: In Step 1, we started with Why – figuring out your main purpose or motivation for including one or more trusts in your estate plan. In Step 2, we worked on the Who – listing and describing the people (and possibly charities) your trust will benefit.

And now . . .on to the next steps: Trust Distribution

Step 3 – Decide How Much & When

Next, we will cover how your estate plan will express the amount and frequency of distributions from the trust to your beneficiaries. The goal of this step is to determine how you would like the trust assets to be paid out. This does not have to be perfect right off the bat. You’ll refine this in time. Continue Reading →

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Oakstone Law
14710 Tamiami Trail N, Suite 102
Naples, Florida 34110
Tel: 239.206.3454