Aretha Franklin passed away last year from pancreatic cancer. Today, three handwritten wills were discovered in her Michigan home. Under South Carolina law, Aretha Franklin’s handwritten wills would likely not be valid since they were not signed with two witnesses. However, a personal property distribution in this format likely would be held valid.Read More
Filtering by Category: Estate Planning
Is it time to have your trust reviewed?
I have a lot of people tell me they have a trust or that their parents had a trust done and that their estate planning is complete. Some of them come to see me for a review to verify that everything was prepared correctly. The great thing about a consultation is that I can get all the information and in one sitting I can either confirm that everything looks great and they don’t need to worry, or identify problems and suggest immediate solutions to fill in any gaps in their plan.
In my experience at least 9 out of 10 plans that I have reviewed were not comprehensive. Some of them are not properly funded. Some don’t leave assets to beneficiaries the way people intended. Some are missing legal provisions that could be important in certain circumstances. Many times, the point of the trust is to avoid probate at death, but unbeknownst to the person, assets will go through probate.
As a Certified Elder Law Attorney, credentialed through the National Elder Law Foundation, I have experience not only in drafting fully comprehensive estate plans, but also in reviewing plans previously prepared to check for potential issues. If you have been wondering about the accuracy or completeness of your or a loved one’s plan, schedule a consultation with our office.
-Lisa Hostetler Brown, CELA
When you can’t find an original will after someone’s death, it can cause many issues and problems for family members and loved ones.Read More
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You spend a lot of time, effort, resources, and love caring for your special needs child. For many families, that child will likely outlive his or her parents. It's time to focus all that caring into making the right plan for them.
Here are a few things to consider when creating a supplemental needs trust for your loved one:
1. Choose the right trustee. Consider choosing someone that is financially responsible and would be accountable for the use of the money you leave behind. Choose someone who would spend money the way you would for your child. We also recommend back-ups in case something happens to the acting trustee.
2. Decide how much flexibility the trustee should have. If you know you want the trustee to provide certain things for your child or there are certain life events you want handled a certain way, the supplemental needs trust you create can specify that information. Generally though, it is best to give the trustee flexibility for the unexpected events in life.
3. The trustee of the special needs trust doesn't have to be the guardian. The person who is best with money may not be the best person to be the guardian of your special needs child after you're gone. Consider having different people in the role they are best suited for.
If you'd like to know more about special needs trusts or what else you can or should do for your special needs child, please contact LawyerLisa for a consultation at 803-563-5163. We'd love to help simplify the process for you and your loved ones.
Plan for your child with Autism. Set up the appropriate supplemental needs trust or testamentary trust for your child.Read More