I recently worked with a trustee (I’ll call her Jane), in administering her Father’s Trust. Jane has two brothers. Dad spent his life trying to make sure all three kids were treated equally - that everything was “even-steven.” Like many parents, Dad desired to divide his assets equally between his children. In this case, Dad left several specific bequests to each child with the intent that each child receive an equal share. Under the terms of the trust, Jane was to receive two life insurance policies, Brother 1 was to receive a valuable piece of land, and Brother 2 was to receive Dad’s home.
Nobody saw the Alzheimer’s coming. Dad quickly became ill, and within a year, he needed care around the clock. Assets needed to be sold. Dad’s valuable piece of land was the first to go; the home was the second, but not before a mortgage was taken out to pay for care.
When Dad eventually passed, the estate was significantly depleted. Jane’s specific bequest was still intact - she received the proceeds of both life insurance policies. Brother 1 and Brother 2, however, did not receive the gifts contemplated in the trust; the property had to be sold to pay for Dad’s care. Dad’s estate was utterly depleted and the resulting distribution was far from “even-steven.” Had Dad reviewed his estate plan as assets were sold off, he could have amended it to ensure the equitable distribution of his estate..
Further, the family could have preserved a large portion of Dad’s estate had they sought help at the first sign of illness. At Morris Hall, we are experienced in ALTCS Medicaid planning and the surrounding issues. We can help preserve your estate and guide you through choices that will help ensure your estate will be divided as you wish.
Contributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney, Andrea Claus.
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This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.