This blog is part two of a three-part series where estate planning attorney Molly Carey discusses the three most common reasons to include a trust in your estate plan and the steps you should be taking today. Molly Carey, Esq. is licensed in the state of Florida.
Beyond the convenience of avoiding probate for your loved ones, a revocable living trust is a common solution if family dynamics exist that make you question whether the assets you leave behind will end up with those you want them to, often one’s children after a surviving spouse passes. It can also be a means of protection for your surviving spouse as he or she ages and becomes more susceptible to the influence of others, the result of which could mean the unintentional disinheritance of your children. A revocable living trust allows for the creativity and flexibility necessary to assert control over your assets well beyond your lifetime. The below set of questions, while not exhaustive, raise legitimate concerns that can be dispelled when planned for through utilization of a trust.
Does your spouse have children from a prior marriage? If so, do you worry that your spouse’s kids might end up with everything if he or she were given full control of your assets after your death? You are likely not alone in your concern. Pew Research Center reported in 2015 that approximately 16 % of children live in blended families, and that 40% of families have at least one partner who has had a child from a prior relationship. A “blended family” included households with a stepparent, stepsibling, or half-sibling.
Part One: Three Questions to Ask Yourself to Determine if a Revocable Living Trust Makes Sense in Your Estate Plan
By Molly Carey, Esq.
Undoubtedly, there are many variables to consider when it comes to what kind of estate plan is right for you. Do I need only a basic simplistic Last Will and Testament? Do I need something more comprehensive and complex, perhaps a revocable living trust to ensure my wishes are carried out after my death? To trust or not to trust? The pun is intended and the considerations the question raises are worth your while. A revocable living trust, drafted and funded properly, can provide tremendous value to both you and your loved ones after your passing. But where does one start in determining to trust or not to trust? In this three-part blog post series, I aim to make it as simple as possible in positing three basic questions. If any one of them are answered in the affirmative, you need a revocable living trust in your estate plan.
The Top Six Reasons to Have a Will
WHERE THERE’S A WISH, THERE’S A WILL
By Molly Carey, Esq.
Imagine this. At the ripe old age of 105, you’re on your deathbed. You’re surrounded by your adult children. You’ve lived your life fully, wholly, your heart is content and your soul at peace. Then, a sudden and terrifying thought occurs to you, striking a panic so fierce it sends your failing heart into a haywire pattern that unnecessarily expedites your body’s demise, not good considering your fragile and delicate state. You're hit with the reality that you've never actually put all your dying wishes in writing! Time slows to a crawl. In a dazed and dreadful way, you're faced with the truth that your eldest daughter may never wear your mother’s spectacular ruby ring you’d always envisioned. You wonder if that shiny baby blue Thunderbird convertible you kept impeccable, would ever be driven by your grandson that you’re so proud of for having passed the bar exam this past summer. Then even more disconcerting, the intruding thought of your darling pet parakeet, Pablo, going uncared for - who will listen to him sing, you wonder. So many racing thoughts, so many dying wishes, yet all potentially unfulfilled. Then, the notion washes over you that abruptly brings you to your tipping point. The possibility of a family fight ensuing over your earthly possessions is too much for your beating heart to bear. Regrettably, remorsefully, ironically, you draw your last breath, wishing now only that you had written down all your dying wishes, and journey on.