If you are fortunate enough to have a sizable estate to pass down to future generations you are likely aware of how important it is to create a comprehensive estate plan that will facilitate the transfer of your family wealth in the most efficient and cost-conscious manner possible. Within your estate plan you may plan to incorporate a family wealth trust, or FWT. If so, you will likely appoint yourself to be the trustee of the FWT; however, you may be wondering “Who should be designated as … [Read more...] about Who Should Be Designated as Successor Trustee of a Family Wealth Trust?
Trustees do not have an easy job. They are required to invest the assets of a Trust, not according to their own needs and investment goals, but according to the needs and investment goals of the Trust beneficiaries. In most states, how a Trustee should go about doing this is governed by the Uniform Prudent Investor Act, which embraces modern portfolio theory. The key component of modern portfolio theory is that the investment objectives and risk tolerance of the individual investor need to be … [Read more...] about Investing a Trust
We have discussed before about the possibility that some people might want to consider hiring a professional Trustee to handle their Trusts instead of relying on a friend or family member. That has sparked questions about how to decide in individual cases. The best thing to do is to talk to your attorney about it, but here are some factors the attorney would use to help you make a decision. 1. How large is the Trust? If a Trust is small, then it is probably a waste of resources to hire a … [Read more...] about Deciding on a Professional Trustee
As a domicile of Texas, you may be able to rely on the state’s probate laws to a limited extent should you divorce. Almost all estate planning lawyers will recommend periodic reviews of estate planning documents. Your estate planning attorney will most likely ask you to review your estate plan during or after important life-changing events. One of these events is divorce. At least one time after your divorce, you should sit down with your estate planning attorney to review your estate plan. … [Read more...] about Divorce and Previously Drafted Wills in Texas
If you are creating a Trust, the most important thing that you should consider is who to appoint to serve as a Trustee. In most cases, the best Trustee will be a bank or attorney who can give the Trust professional care. However, professionals cost money and they might not be right for every Trust. For example, if you are creating a small Trust for a grandchild of a few thousand dollars, a professional Trustee is not necessary. If you are not going to hire a professional Trustee, you still need … [Read more...] about Choosing Trustees
Getting a Revocable Living Trust is an important step in avoiding Probate hassles. However, it is only a first step and there are other things that you should do. Everyone's case is slightly different, but here are a few things to consider after getting a Revocable Living Trust: 1. Fund the Trust. This is the most important step. A Revocable Living Trust does not do any good if you do not transfer your assets to it. You do not have to transfer all of your assets to the trust, but your most … [Read more...] about After Getting a Revocable Living Trust
If you have been appointed as a Trustee of a Trust that has other people as beneficiaries, you need to exercise extreme care and caution about how you handle the Trust assets. This is especially the case if you make transactions for the Trust that could be seen as self-interested. In Texas, the law is not on the Trustee's side if a dispute over the transactions arises. In an ordinary civil lawsuit, the plaintiff has the burden to prove that the defendant committed the act complained of. … [Read more...] about Burden of Proof in Trust Disputes
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) - 34TH President of the United States, 1953-1961 Prior to his presidency, Eisenhower was a five-star general in the United States Army during World War II, and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe. He had the responsibility of planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in 1942-43, and the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944-45. In 1951, he became the first supreme commander of NATO. Eisenhower defeated Adlai … [Read more...] about Famous Estates – Legacy Champ or Chump?
If you have a trust, it is extremely important that you appoint someone responsible as the person to take over as trustee when you are no longer able to do so. It is called a "trust" for a reason. You need to appoint someone trustworthy who will look after the trust's financial interests. Consider the current issue surrounding the trust of Susan Strong Davis. She is 87 years old and has dementia, so she is no longer handling her affairs or her trust's. Instead, a man named James E. Larkin whom … [Read more...] about Appoint a Trustee You Can Trust
Elderly residents should be wary of high-pressure tactics from overbearing salespeople who pressure them into giving them your financial information. Be wary of con artists throwing around probate law terms like “executors.” You should always be suspicious of claims from scam companies promising that you can significantly reduce your estate taxes by creating living trusts. A written will can also help you reduce your taxes and are often less expensive to create. Promises that a living trust will … [Read more...] about Elderly Residents Warned of Living Trust Scams: Part 3 of 3