A good estate plan accounts for the issues that the person faces today, but also builds in the provisions to mitigate potential problems in the future. Unless you have an all-powerful “seer” on your payroll, knowing what is going to happen 5, 10, 20 years from now is rather difficult.
The truth is that no one can predict what is going to happen in the future. But, if we plan for the worse case scenario and hope for the best case, we are prepared in all events!
The main tool that you can use in your estate plan to help mitigate future “bad events” is the beneficiary trust. A properly drafted beneficiary trust protects whatever you leave to your loved ones from the outside world. The bad events that I am talking about are Lawsuits, Divorce and Government Assistance Programs.
I hear so many times from clients and prospects that their children and loved ones don’t need that kind of protection – the problem is that the protections can’t be added after the fact.
I had the brother of a deceased client ask whether we can protect his son’s portion of the inheritance from a creditor (the client had not updated his trust with the beneficiary trust provisions), and unfortunately I had to tell him, “No.” The trust is what controls what happens to the distribution, and under the terms of the trust, no protections were afforded to the beneficiaries.
Our client tried predicting the future by not making the recommended updates to his trust, and now someone else (the creditor suing the beneficiary) is benefiting from his estate.
Please leave predicting the future to the professionals. Make sure your plan includes the protections of a beneficiary trust. Have your plan reviewed, today!
Contributed by MH Estate Planning Attorney James P. Plitz
About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 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. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. 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.