IRAs are one the trickiest assets for estate planning attorneys to handle for many reasons. First, they often are overlooked in the estate planning process because they cannot be transferred during lifetime. This asset, like some other assets, are controlled by beneficiary designation. While the client might remember a large IRA, they often forget smaller IRAs. As a result, beneficiary designations often are left unchanged even when circumstances have changed, making those designations no longer appropriate. Continue reading
What Do You Own?
John and Helen have been thinking about updating their estate plan. They called and made an appointment with Paul Plant at Harwell & Plant. John and Helen updated Paul on their current family situation. They have three children who are now on their own and successfully pursuing careers. After listening to the short update on the three children, Paul turned to a review of John’s and Helen’s property. Continue reading
As an outside observer, often times, it is the child who first notices changes in Mom that signal it may be time for her to move to an assisted living community. How will she react? How should you bring it up? Knowing what to say and how to begin can be the most difficult part of the entire conversation. So here are a few tips to help you talk with Mom about moving to an assisted living community. Continue reading
Trusts can be quite useful for protecting children. However, for some children, the trust serves an additional function: It protects the principal from being rapidly spent by a child. These trusts have a specific name—they are called “spendthrift” trusts. Marla was visiting with her attorney Elizabeth shortly after her husband Harry passed away. She shared her concern for her youngest child, Joe. Marla: “Harry and I were very fortunate to have four great children. I love each one of them very much. However, when it comes time to making decisions about inheritance, I have a big problem. Our older children Sam and Linda are quite good with financial matters. The third child Lynn is average, but our youngest son Joe is very carefree. If Joe has money, it is gone in a flash. What can I do?” Elizabeth: “This is a fairly common situation. Many parents would like to treat their children equally, but some children are very good managers and one or two are not. In your case, we hope that Joe eventually learns to become more responsible. But for the present plan, it makes good sense to provide Joe with spendthrift trust provisions.” Continue reading