We will he holding several estate planning seminars in Ogden, Utah. We have sent out invitations to clients/residents of Box Elder County, Weber County, and North Davis County, Utah. Please visit our estate planning website and click on the "Seminars" link for the seminar schedule and more information, or simply visit this link. RSVPs are required to attend and you may RSVP by visiting the posted link and entering your information. Of course, you may also RSVP by calling our toll free number, 1-800-631-0228.
We look forward to seeing you there.
I recently watched the movie Everybody’s Fine. Although I was expecting it to be a comedy, it turned out to be a rather serious movie about a widower—Frank Goode (played by Robert De Niro)—who was learning to adjust to life without his spouse—a difficult step. One of the major adjustments for Frank’s family was that his wife was the one that all the children seemed to confide in and keep apprised of current events and difficulties. None of the children seemed to speak with their father about what was really happening in their lives, particularly those things which were difficult or not turning out perfect.
After finding out that none of his children can make it to a planned family gathering, Frank decides to go see them (even though he is not in good health). The movie is about his travels to see his children and their desire to hide the fact that one of their siblings was arrested on drug charges and died in Mexico because of a drug overdose. Each of the children is also trying to hide facts about their own lives. One is in the midst of a divorce and remarriage and another has a child out of wedlock and is a member of the GLBT community. A third child did not live up to his father’s expectations—he is a percussionist in a symphony instead of the conductor. All of the kids struggle with their father’s desire that they be at the top of their professions/occupations (an unrealistic expectation). None of the kids want their father to know the truth—because they don’t think he can handle it and because he also pressured them to be the best. It is a realistic situation and provides for an entertaining movie. Eventually, Frank finds out the truth and deals with it (yes, it has a semi-happy ending).
What I found particularly interesting was the fact that I meet with many families that have similarities to the Goodes. It is not uncommon for me to meet with clients that have a child with drug or alcohol problems, a child who lives a lifestyle contrary to how they were raised, or a child that has been or is going through a divorce (frequently there is more than one child that has been divorced). Further, some parents are, like Frank, disappointed that their children are not doing what the parents want. And, it seems few families’ lives have turned out just the way they planned (because of “troubled” children or the death of a child, spouse, or parent). All of these issues must be considered while formulating an estate plan. Specifically, everyone must consider what protections they want to implement for their children to assure their children benefit from the estate on the parent’s terms. Protections can be built into a revocable living trust (or family wealth trust) to: (1) prevent assets from being distributed to a child with drug problems (except to help him or her overcome his or her addiction); (2) encourage (or incentivize) that a child become “productive” based on the client’s standards and expectations; or (3) protect a child’s assets from creditors. The options and protections that can be built into a revocable living trust or family wealth trust are nearly without limits. Of course, each person must balance the burdens of trust administration against benefits of a continued trust to accomplish his or her objectives—but more often than not the costs of trust administration are nominal when compared to the benefits achieved.
When you prepare your estate plan, consider the specific needs of your family and assure that a plan customized to your family’s needs is prepared. You can protect your children’s inheritances and/or require that their inheritances be applied for their benefit—but you must take action. Call our office today, 801-528-6660, for a free consultation with an estate planning attorney.
My wife and I welcomed a new baby boy into our home in the first few days of the year (visit our facebook page and then make me your friend--I've shared photos of baby Caleb). One of my key staff members also recently welcomed a new baby into their home. A birth of a child should be an important reminder for baby's parents (and sometimes grandparents) to consider their estate plan so that in case of the unthinkable, the parents' legacies will be firmly set.
Of particular concern for families with minor children is the need to nominate someone to care for the minor children. The person that cares for minor children upon the death or incapacity of his or her parent is called a "Guardian." You nominate a Guardian for your children through your last will and testament. Although a proceeding is still required to appoint your nominated Guardian as the Guardian for your children, the court making the appointment will give substantial weight to your decision. After appointment, your Guardian will have the responsibility of taking care of your minor children (including providing for them). Obviously, the Guardian you nominate for your children should be capable of attending to their needs and willing to serve. It is a good idea to discuss this with your nominated Guardian in advance.
Another concern of a parent is assuring that their minor children will have adequate resources for their needs. Although their Guardian will need to care for them, planning for your children through a revocable living trust can be extremely beneficial. The trust can be drafted to contain provisions for specific benefits for your children. For example, it can contain provisions to pay for their basic needs, including health care, education, housing, and food. It can also contain provisions to incentivize children (through a Family Incentive Trust). Incentives are frequently employed to encourage children to obtain productive employment, obtain quality education, or serve a family member with a disability or special need. The possibilities are nearly limitless and you should decide what you want for your estate plan--after all, it is your plan. A properly drafted and "funded" trust can also help avoid Utah probate proceedings.
If you have concerns about appointing a Guardian for your children or establishing a revocable living trust for their benefit (after your death and/or incapacity), contact our office today to schedule a free consultation or download one of our free reports (regarding estate planning for families with young children for more information on the topic you are interested in.
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