April 2016 WLG Newsletter


In the last newsletter, we introduced you to a hypothetical couple, Jane and Dan, who were interested in estate planning. One issue involved in their case is that they each had children from previous marriages. Another issue that arose was the concern about one of Dan’s children being able to manage an inheritance if he received it outright. We hear about similar situations to Jane and Dan in our work, and there are options to address these issues.

Let’s say that Jane and Dan have decided to proceed with estate planning and want to have separate revocable living trusts so that each of them can direct assets ultimately to their own children. Jane designs hers so that when she passes away, the assets in her trust can be used to provide for her surviving spouse Dan. Then, when Dan passes away, Jane could direct that any trust assets remaining should go to her only child, Jill.

Dan designs his plan similarly, in that when he passes away, the assets in his trust are to be used to provide for Jane. Dan could then state that upon Jane’s death, any remaining trust assets are to pass to his 3 children in equal shares. Dan has concerns about his child David, who has had a history of drug addiction and homelessness, receiving an inheritance outright. An option for David’s share is what we call a beneficiary restricted access trust, meant to protect a beneficiary from him/herself. Instead of a distribution from a trust going outright to David, Dan decides to have David’s share pass to him pursuant to this restricted access trust. Dan designs this trust so that David would not have direct access to his inheritance, but would need trustee approval for a distribution. Dan also designs it so that distributions can be made only up to a certain amount at a time. Although it is taking control away from David, Dan thinks that it is the best way to protect David and his inheritance.

Ward Legal Group can work with you to design such trusts for your beneficiaries. There are also less restrictive options, such as a beneficiary security trust. In this type of trust, your beneficiary has some aspects of control over the trust, but needs to have a distribution trustee to distribute money to him/her. This does not mean that you do not trust your beneficiary with money. Having a distribution trustee can offer asset protection against lawsuits and divorce for the beneficiary since the beneficiary does not have direct access to the trust assets. Many plans that we write have such trusts for the beneficiaries. Many plans also have the distributions going outright to the beneficiaries. We spend the time to get to know you and your circumstances so that we can advise you about these options.

Our next workshop is June 9, 2016 at 3pm at the Ward Legal Group office. Our topic is “Planning for Incapacity and Beyond” in which we will talk about guardianships, powers of attorney, healthcare advance directives, and estate planning tools such as wills and trusts. If you or someone you know might be interested in attending, please call us at (603) 352-7310 to reserve your seat.

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Hiring an attorney is an important decision which should not be based solely on advertising. The information you obtain from this newsletter is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.


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