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Preserving Your Trust For the Benefit of Your Legacy

Case Studies

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Case Study One: A Tale of Three Sisters.

One of the most loving decisions a parent can make is to name an independent, professional trustee to follow trust terms as assets are distributed.   This neutral party may also be needed as a personal representative if there are court actions.  While the adult children do not always appreciate the presence of a 3rd party who is neutral, a professional fiduciary can actually reduce tensions between siblings. Even loving families can sometimes devolve into conflict when parents pass away.  This conflict can flair up into legal battles, especially if the named trustee is one of the siblings.  Court actions and other legal skirmishes can reduce the amount available to all the remaining heirs or beneficiaries.  One of our clients knew his daughters opposing personalities often led to conflict.  He wisely named a neutral, independent, successor trustee.  The three sisters did have disagreements during the eighteen months until trust distribution agreements were signed.  But, none of them had the ability to control the assets so conflict was minimized.  All three sisters received equal information and a final trust distribution that honored their parents’ legacy.

Case Study Two: A Charitable Benefit With an Income Payment Stream.

An aging client had an only son.  He lived out of state and could not be near her. She managed her daily life well, even as she approached her 90's.  She loved her son, but each time he did visit, he took her to the bank to pull out a large gift “to tide him over”.  Yet, he never seemed to be able to take care of his finances.  Her son's childhood friend lived in the area and would often look in on this aging neighbor.  The client wanted to show her appreciation. She decided upon a plan to  provide an immediate gift to both her son and the family friend upon her passing.  When she passed away, the bulk of her estate would be transferred into a Charitable Remainder Unit Trust.  This special type of trust provides quarterly income distributions to her son.  After he has passed on, the remainder of her estate will go to a local, worthy charity.  She likes this plan because her son will have regular income and if for some reason he encounters an extreme health need, the trustee may use principal to help cover the costs of her son's health care, just as she would do.

Case Study Three: A Worried Mother.

A mature couple, a Navy officer and his loving military wife, adopted two children.  When their children were young, they did a lot of research on trusts before having an attorney prepare their estate plan.  Later, this honored veteran passed away.  His wife began to worry about how her adult children would manage the estate she and her husband had built-up over their lifetimes. One of her children's health was failing.  The other had an addiction to gambling.  This client wanted her children to have funds, but not a “pot of gold” as they reached retirement age.  Upon her attorney's recommendation, she chose to name an independent trustee to step-in and take control of her estate for the benefit of her children. Her adult children now receive a fixed, quarterly distribution, just enough, but not too much, as she wished.

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