The SafeEstates Blog

June 10, 2018

How Can You Mend a Broken Trust?

Some years ago, we helped a family solve a worrisome trust problem. In his will, the father left most of his estate to his wife. He also created a substantial trust for his children and grandchildren. He expected his three children would survive him, each child would produce several grandchildren, and the trust would continue for as long as the law and his funds allowed. As it turned out, soon after the father died two of his three children died. No grandchildren were living or expected. The trust named no other beneficiary. The father was dead, so he could not change the trust. Their questions: Who gets the...

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May 5, 2018

Survivorship Requirements (and Barbara Bush’s Legacy)

On April 17, 2018, our country lost one of its great first ladies, Barbara Bush. She loved her large family well. She was an avid advocate of literacy and helped break social stigmas toward people with AIDS at the beginning of the epidemic. She and her husband, former president George H. W. Bush, were married for seventy-three (73!) years. Just a day after her funeral, George H. W. Bush was hospitalized with a blood infection. At the writing of this article it appears that he is in recovery, but it raises the question, what happens when two closely related people pass away in close...

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April 5, 2018

Trusts for a Lifetime

Ten or more years ago, a widower came to see me about his estate plan. He was concerned that at his death, his only child, a lovable but irresponsible minor son, would squander or lose his inheritance. I suggested a trust for the son with a responsible trustee standing between the son and the money. My client liked the trust idea and we began to discuss specifics. I asked when the trust should end, and the trust funds be distributed to the son. His answer: “Age 65!” I was a little surprised (the usual response is age 25, 30 or 35). We discussed the pros and cons...

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March 5, 2018

Billy Graham’s Estate

Billy Graham died at the age of 99 on February 21, 2018. He was one of our nation’s best-known Christian evangelists and preached for over 60 years. At this time, we don’t know what type of estate plan Billy Graham had, but we do know that he was one of the wealthiest pastors in the United States. His net worth was estimated to be $25 million dollars at the time of his death. He is also associated with two non-profits, Samaritan’s Purse (revenue of $636 million in 2016) and the Billy Graham Evangelical Association (revenue of $101 million in 2010). Billy Graham is a...

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February 5, 2018

Charles Manson’s Legacy

One of America’s most notorious mass murderers, Charles Manson, died November 19, 2017 from heart failure and colon cancer at age 83. He spent his last 46 years in the Corcoran prison in Kings County, California. A legal battle has begun over the disposition of Manson’s remains and control of book and movie rights, commercial rights to his name and image, his song catalog and recordings, and personal items that may earn thousands of dollars from memorabilia collectors. Manson co-wrote songs recorded by the Beach Boys and Guns N’ Roses which continue to generate royalties. All of this is in addition to his...

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January 5, 2018

Planning Bloopers

We hope the New Year brings joy, peace and prosperity to you and yours! As you reflect on the events of the old year and resolve to live the new year to the fullest, join us in resolving to make more decisions and keep moving forward. If we make 100 decisions, and only 10 of them are great ones, that is better than only making 10 decisions even if 5 of them are great ones. The results of the 10 great decisions will more than outweigh the 90 other decisions. Of course, if we can improve our decision making so 20-30% are great...

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December 20, 2017

Out of State… But in Charge!

It seems that more and more often families have members who live in different areas of the country. While we think things usually go the smoothest if you select someone who lives in town or close by to be your health care agent, durable general power of attorney, executor, and/or trustee, if you don’t have someone you trust to serve in these roles who lives close by, you can choose a person who lives out of state instead. We have had many clients who select out of state fiduciaries and as long as the person who is serving for you realizes some...

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December 5, 2017

Christmas Edition – The Man Who Invented Christmas

The Man Who Invented Christmas (now in theaters everywhere) tells the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol . We hope you have time and opportunity to see it with people you love. Charles Dickens loved Christmas. We love reading Charles Dickens tell about Christmas. So here is a selection from The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Clubwritten by a young and confident Dickens. Christmas was close at hand, in all his bluff and hearty honesty; it was the season of hospitality, merriment, and open-heartedness; the old year was preparing, like an...

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November 20, 2017

Life Insurance Owners & Beneficiaries

Life insurance can be a powerful tool for managing risk in a business succession plan or an estate plan. Life insurance occasionally has unintended consequences, for example, when a minor child or young adult is named the beneficiary of a large policy. What would you have done at age 18 with a million dollars? We recommend periodically asking your insurance agent or insurance company for written confirmation of the status of your policies in a policy statement (identifying the policy owner, insured, and beneficiary) and an inforce illustration (projecting future premiums, cash value, and death benefits. If you have already obtained and verified your...

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September 19, 2017

Estate Planning Awareness Week – October 16-20th, 2017

October 16-20th is Estate Planning Awareness Week! Join us for a FREE seminar at the Brentwood Library on October 16th from 5-6pm, as we answer common questions about estate planning. This is a great opportunity if you've never created an estate plan, or if your estate plan is out of date. Please RSVP here if you'd like to join us for this FREE event, hosted by Safe Estates!

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