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Wednesday, October 24, 2012
When drafting estate plans, the experienced estate planner has no problem understanding the plan he or she created. Unfortunately, many of the clients are confused or don't bother to consider the real-life consequences of what they are signing. When it becomes a problem, it may be too late to rectify.
There is nothing wrong with an attorney explaining in lay terms portions of your estate plan that are necessarily complex and you relying on those explanations. However, if the explanations are unclear, you must insist that the estate planning attorney spend some extra time with you so that you are comfortable and that you understand what will happen when things in your life change. Insist on clarification.
Monday, October 15, 2012
A request that I frequently receive is to have multiple persons act as co-agents under a power of attorney. The form does not allow for co-agents, and with good reason.
One of the major reasons to have a power of attorney is to appoint an individual to be your decision maker if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Appointing co-agents would complicate matters, particularly if the co-agents cannot agree. This may render your power of attorney form useless.
There is no problem with naming successor agent(s), but only one may serve at a time. Also, there is no problem having different agents under your Property POA and Health Care POA. If you are married, you do not have to list the same agents as your spouse.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Unfortunately, a valuable planning opportunity is lost with this type of set-up. Why not consider leaving the funds to the adult children in trust and allow them to receive income and principal as needed? You may even make them co-trustee or sole trustee of their own trust!
You may ask "What's the point, then?" and the answer would be that leaving the assets to your children in trust, even one that they may control, provides valuable protection for the children in case of creditor problems or divorce.
Consider this type of planning and you will be providing a valuable benefit for your children.