Working in estate administration, I have occasion to see first-hand what kind of havoc a poor plan, or no plan, can wreak on surviving family members. There are also situations where a good Trust operates exactly as it should with respect to the funded assets. It’s the assets not funded in the Trust that can cause issues after death.
I recently worked with a widow who had never had to deal with any finances; she was unaware of what was owned at her husband’s passing. She was confused and upset when I explained that, in addition to a trust administration, she would need to open probate. She knew her husband had set up their trust many years ago to avoid probate and couldn’t understand what had gone wrong.
Her husband did a great job funding the Trust after its creation. The problem was that as the years wore on, and the couple’s assets changed, he wasn’t as diligent in making sure things were titled correctly. There were several assets outside of the Trust at the time of husband’s death. The widow was forced to open probate as a result.
The couple’s Trust was not an MH Trust, but it was a good one. The point is that even the best Trust is ineffective if not properly funded. Different types of assets require different title or beneficiary designations in order to be effectively funded. An accurate inventory of assets is crucial to proper funding. The time spent gathering the information is well worth the hassle you’ll save your surviving loved ones upon passing.
Contributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney, Andrea Claus.
Why Choose Morris Hall:
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 New Mexico 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.