Evaluating an Existing Estate Plan
If you already have a Will, trust and incapacity documents, I will meet with you to go over your documents and help you understand various aspects of your documents and how they direct the implementation of the transfer of your assets after your passing.
Many individuals and couples do not understand the provisions in an existing trust as to how the assets will pass, what potential complications may be triggered, who will administer the trust, or what happens if one of your named beneficiaries, agents, executor or trustee is not living at the time. I can review the documents with you and go over them generally or, if you prefer, I can prepare a summary analysis with recommendations of what is advisable to change.
Most married couples who have a trust that was prepared prior to 2010, have what is termed an “A-B” or “A-B-C” Trust where assets are divided into two or three trusts after the death of the first person to pass. There are both benefits and detriments to this arrangement and individuals need to understand and evaluate whether they want to keep this plan in place or make changes to how the trust is administered. Many implications of these types of trusts affect tax benefits and burdens, the number of tax returns that have to be prepared annually after the death of the first spouse, control over subsequent decisions and amendments to the trust by the surviving spouse.
You need to understand the terms of your trust and this is why you should see an experienced estate and trust attorney to know what is in store for you. This is especially important if you prepared your own trust, prepared it from an online form, a software generating trust or preparation by a non-lawyer. Since the impact of your trust and its provisions can result in thousands of dollars of fees and taxes, you need to know what is in store based on the language in your documents.