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Do You Think Your Estate Plan is Simple?

Most people think their estate is simple, and they do not need any sophisticated or complicated estate plan. Usually they say that because their current situation is very simple. But when they think about the possibilities of what might happen…

in the future, they realize that it is not so simple.Suppose you and your wife have two adult sons, and you want your estate to be divided between them evenly. Fine; that is simple. But what if one of your sons becomes addicted to drugs, alcohol or gambling; is it safe to give him half of your estate? Or what if you know that your son is just not good with money; you know he will blow it on nice cars and expensive vacations and it will be gone within a couple of years? Maybe you want to preserve some of his share for his retirement, or for your grandchildren’s education.Or what if one of your sons dies before you; do you want his share to go to his widow, or to his children? If it goes to his widow, will she use it for her children (your grandchildren), or will she remarry, and perhaps leave it all to her new husband?So you specify that if your son dies before you, his share will go to his children. But if they are under age 18, someone will have to file a Petition for a Conservatorship with the Probate Court, and the court will oversee that account. Then it will all be given to the child when he or she turns 18. Will he or she be mature enough to handle a large sum of money?So you direct that somebody else hold that grandchild’s money for him until his is older, then give it to him. But what if the child is still too immature to handle the money, or (heaven forbid) he has a drug or alcohol problem? Or what if he is in the middle of a divorce? Or what if he (or his wife) is in trouble with the IRS? Is that a good time to give him a large sum of money?These situations will probably not arise in your family, but they might. Unexpected things happen every day. That’s why you have smoke alarms, and why you have insurance, and why you take a baby aspirin every day, and why you wear your seat belt.A revocable living trust is a tremendously flexible instrument, and you can address any of these potential problems by inserting appropriate provisions into the trust. You can also amend it at any time if unforeseen circumstances arise. To learn how you can prepare for the unexpected, consult with one of our estate planning attorneys to have an estate plan that meets your needs now in the future, no matter what the future may hold.