A revocable living trust is an estate planning tool that allows you to control what happens to your financial assets upon your passing without going through probate. In addition, a properly drafted trust offers tremendous benefits to your beneficiaries, such as protection from unnecessary taxation, long-term care costs, creditors, and ex-spouses. These are some of the practical areas in which a trust can be beneficial to individuals and families. What is often overlooked, however, is the peace of mind a trust can provide when the unexpected occurs.
When I was 23, I visited my doctor for a routine physical. I passed with flying colors. At the conclusion of the visit, I asked my doctor to remove a mole from my cheek. There was nothing strange about it—no abnormal coloration, no irregular shape—just a normal mole that had slightly increased in size. I received the standard examination and my doctor pronounced that there was no medical reason for it to be removed. Nevertheless, the decision to remove it was mine. I thought about it and ultimately decided to get it removed.
Less than 48 hours later my wife and I were back in my doctor’s office where he got straight to the point, “Darren . . . you have Melanoma.” My lab results indicated that I was on the cusp of going from bad to worse. My doctor explained that he had already scheduled me for emergency surgery and that I should notify my employer to explain that I’d be missing work for at least the next few days. My wife and I sat speechless. Our emotions ranged from complete shock to emotional breakdown. We’d only been married six months and were just told that if we didn’t act fast the Melanoma would take my life within a year or two. I was scared. My wife was scared. Those four words from my doctor changed our lives permanently. We had no warning. We had no plan. We were completely unprepared for what might lie ahead.
Many people live with the “it will never happen to me” mindset and wait until it is too late to take the necessary precautions to prevent financial hardships. I certainly did. That experience brought some of the greatest anxiety that my wife and I have faced in our ten years of marriage. Although my surgery was successful, the outcome very easily could have gone the other way. Having a properly drafted trust during that time would have given my wife and me some much needed direction and protection if the worst had occurred, and would have brought a significant measure of comfort that would have made the experience much more bearable.
Give yourself some peace of mind by setting up a living trust today, because you never know when the unexpected will occur.
Contributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney, Darren L. Richardson.
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You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris Hall? First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters. Also, MH is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones. We are one of only two firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in that has been granted membership. If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with MH. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
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.