There is a better way to plan, whether you have no plan, are planning with a Will, or are planning with a Trust, we want to make sure your plan works for you.
One way to plan is with a living trust. A trust is a legal document that not only controls the distribution of your assets after you are gone, but also provides protections to handle your affairs if you are incapacitated. A trust can also shield assets from lawsuits, creditors, it can protect the inheritance your beneficiaries receive in the event of a divorce or bankruptcy. Not all trusts are created equal. With proper estate planning, the attorneys at Morris Hall, can put a plan together that protects what is important to you.
Morris Hall, has been providing quality legal services since 1970. Our goal at Morris Hall is to make sure our clients have the peace of mind in knowing that their legacies and loved ones are protected.
When you meet with an attorney at Morris Hall, we will discuss your individual needs, address your concerns, and tailor an estate plan custom to your wishes. Our job as attorneys is not to simply be scriveners, our job is to listen and provide feedback and guidance. As counselors, we are trained to listed to our clients, address their concerns as well as provide guidance and help them address risks that they may not have considered.
Let me give you a real-life personal example. My grandfather, had his estate plan written by a local attorney who also happened to be a member of his church. For those who may not know, once you successfully obtain your license as an attorney you can practice in ANY area of law. This particular attorney happened to focus his practice on DUI/DWI cases not estate planning. My grandfather told this attorney he wanted his estate to be split equally between his wife (my grandfather was remarried and his wife was his second wife) and his five kids. Sounds simple enough right? Wrong, since this attorney did not focus his practice on estate planning, he was not familiar with all the nuances that go into a proper estate plan. So as opposed to counseling my grandfather, the attorney acting as a scrivener drafted the plan exactly as outlined by my grandfather. Below is a copy of the portion of the document (names have been redacted to protect the identities of the parties).
Well, my grandfather’s good intentions to provide for his children and his wife were quickly unraveled. After my grandfather passed away his estate became a nightmare to administer. Since the trust directed that the assets be split equally between the surviving spouse and his kids, his wife now owns her home 50% with her five step children. And not only that, one of the kids is getting divorced and the other one has filed bankruptcy and their soon to be ex-spouse and creditors now can try to attach their claims to this interest in the property they inherited.
Had my grandfather sought the advice of an attorney who practiced in estate planning he could have received better advice to protect what was important to him. An experienced estate planning attorney would have recognized this issue and drafted the trust in a way to provide for the surviving spouse and children in a way that would not have required them to have a 50/50 interest in the residence. An experienced attorney would have also spotted the issues with the children (one who has been divorced 4 times and the other who has filed bankruptcy and has several creditors) and drafted a trust that would have protected their inheritance.
Moral of the story is that anyone can draft a will or a trust BUT only an experienced estate planning attorney can draft a PROPER plan to adequately address your needs and protect what is important to you.
Contributed by Morris Hall, PLLC Estate Planning Attorney, Lisa Y. Wynn.
About Morris Hall, PLLC:
At Morris Hall, PLLC we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 45 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Carefree, Tucson, Oro Valley, Prescott, Flagstaff, Sedona and Surprise. 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.
- How Proper Estate Planning Can Protect What is Important to You - March 9, 2020