Is it Time to Have Your Estate Plan Reviewed?

admin, 26 January 2012, No comments
Categories: Legal
Tags: , , , ,

As a newsletter writer, I get bombarded with
questions.

I feel sorry for many of the folks who write, since
they have gotten themselves into some pretty serious
legal problems.

I can’t (and don’t) respond to specific questions,
but sometimes like to change the questions around a
little (to protect the person asking) and give my
comments so everyone can learn.

Listen to this poor widow (not only has she just
lost her husband, but now she is in the middle
of a legal mess):

Dear Mr. Craig,

I have had an AB Living Trust since 1992. My
husband recently passed away.

I am confused as what to do about our living trust.

Some items, mentioned in the trust (real estate)
were never deeded to trust (still in joint tenancy).

At the time of my husband’s death, some investment
items were (are) still in my husband’s name, with
no beneficiary, especially items from our late
daughter’s estate (deceased 2002) including
one-half share in my late daughter’s house (there
was a probate distribution which gave equal shares
to my husband and myself). This was never changed
to our living trust or to joint tenancy.

My husband’s half share of our house is worth over
$100,000. Evidently this will have to go through
probate. Without the house, my husband’s assets
are less than $100,000. I have had “offer” by a
lawyer to clear up the living trust for about
$3,000, plus an attempt at an “Estate of Heggsted”
petition to avoid Probate (another $3000 or so).

I didn’t realize a Living Trust could be so
complicated or expensive.

I thought a “Pour-Over Will” would put items not
listed into the trust.

Plus, I didn’t realize what an AB Living Trust
meant and that it had to be divided between the
survivor and the deceased spouse and that I am
limited as to what I can use from his share.

I’m learning the hard way. Sorry this seems so
confusing.

My first impression? When did they last go over their
estate plan with their lawyer?

Here they violated one of the main rules in estate
planning: whenever there is a major change in your
life situation (a life changing event such as the
death of a close family member) you should (probably
must) review your estate plan to see what changes
are required.

If you don’t, you could be faced with the same
problems faced by this poor widow.

Good luck and until next time,

P.S. Feel free to forward this on to any friends.

Phil Craig is a licensed attorney and entreprenuer.
He started practicing law at age 25 in 1979.
He does not take on any more clients, but is
advisor to some of the biggest names in the internet
world. He shares his knowledge gained over the
last 25 years at his Living Trust Secrets newsletter site:
click here=========>http://www.LivingTrustSecrets.com

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