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The Living Trust Advisor

Book Description

A comprehensive guide to living trusts, with expert financial and legal guidance

The Living Trust Advisor is an expert guide for both advisors and their clients on the complex process of establishing, living with, and maintaining a living trust. Written by renowned family inheritance attorney Jeffrey L. Condon, this book discusses the various aspects of this important document, and shows you how to manage a seamless transfer of assets to various beneficiaries. This new second edition has been fully updated and revised to reflect the extensive changes to the Estate Tax Law that have taken place since the initial publication, giving you the most up-to-date information and guidance on preserving your wealth and helping your heirs avoid estate tax liability. You'll develop a vision for your trust before you ever meet with an attorney or other key players, and learn how to establish and maintain a trust that remains rock-solid for your lifetime and beyond.

As the living trust has replaced the will as the primary means of settling after-death estates, clear guidance and current legal information is of utmost importance for advisors and clients alike. This book is a valuable resource for every stage of planning and execution, helping you ensure that you provide for your beneficiaries the way you intend.

  • Know what to think about before your first meeting with a lawyer
  • Establish and manage your living trust to carry out your wishes
  • Identify potential inheritance problems and build solutions into the trust
  • Distribute assets to future generations, and protect them after the transfer

Dealing with complex financial and legal issues while facing our own mortality is a difficult task, but making these decisions is critical to the future outcome of your estate. The Living Trust Advisor expertly guides you through the process so you can be confident that your wishes will be carried out.

Table of Contents

  1. Pregame Warm-Up: Or, Read This Before You Read This Book
    1. The Big Game: Living and Dying with Your Living Trust
    2. A Few Things You Should Know about My Coaching Style
    3. Your Final Locker Room Pep Talk Before Training Begins
  2. Acknowledgments
    1. For Those without Whom This Revised Edition Wouldn’t Exist
    2. For Those Who Happen to Be My Children
    3. For Those Who Made the Cut
  3. The First Quarter: Establishing Your Living Trust
    1. Chapter 1: How You Established Your Living Trust Without a Clear Understanding of What It Is and How It Works
      1. What Does It All Mean?
      2. The Self-Drafted Living Trust—Don’t Do It!
      3. You Might Have Living Trust Training, but You Haven’t Been Trained My Way!
    2. Chapter 2: What Does the Living Trust Do, and How Does It Do It?
      1. A Simple Explanation
      2. It’s an After-Death Power of Attorney, but It’s Not
    3. Chapter 3: Do You Really Need a Living Trust?
      1. The Reasons Why a Living Trust Is a No-Brainer
      2. So, What’s Not to Like?
      3. Putting Your House in Joint Tenancy with Your Child Is This Side of Insanity
      4. In Summary
    4. Chapter 4: Establishing Your Living Trust
      1. Your First Homework Assignment: Selecting Your Living Trust Attorney
      2. Your Second Homework Assignment: Making Sure Your Living Trust Document Contains the Bare Minimum of Requirements
      3. After You Have Finished Your Homework
    5. Chapter 5: Who Should You Select as the Lifetime Agent of Your Living Trust?
      1. Your Lifetime Agent’s Duty to Accomplish the Three Ps of Asset Management
      2. The Not Very Scientific Method of Selecting the Lifetime Agent of Your Living Trust
      3. Do You Trust Your Children to Watch Your Back (Financially Speaking)?
      4. Can You Trust Your Friend to Protect You?
      5. A Good Alternative
    6. Chapter 6: You Can Select Your Children as Your After-Death Agent, but Will They Carry Out Your Living Trust’s Inheritance Instructions?
      1. Selecting Your Children as Your After-Death Agent
      2. “My Properties . . . My Pyramid”
      3. “Your Money Is Family Money”
      4. “That Was Our Parents’ Wish . . . Not Our Wish”
      5. “I Got Robbed—and My Own Kid Is the Bandit”
      6. The Indelible Conclusion: Money Changes Everything
  4. The Second Quarter: Living with Your Living Trust During the Lifetimes of You and Your Spouse
    1. Chapter 7: Functions of Your Living Trust While Both You and Your Spouse Are Alive
      1. Situation 1: Revoking Your Living Trust
      2. Situation 2: Amending Your Living Trust
      3. Situation 3: Either You or Your Spouse No Longer Acts as a Co-Trustee
      4. The Low-Maintenance Living Trust
    2. Chapter 8: The Five Concerns about the Real Estate You Transferred to Your Living Trust
      1. First Concern: Owning Your Living Trust Real Estate
      2. Second Concern: Transferring Real Estate to Your Living Trust without Risk of Property Tax Reassessment
      3. Third Concern: Selling Living Trust Real Estate
      4. Fourth Concern: Refinancing Living Trust Real Estate
      5. Fifth Concern: Requiring the Signatures of Both You and Your Spouse to Sell Living Trust Real Estate
      6. Concerning Yourself with the Five Concerns
    3. Chapter 9: Should You Tell Your Children about Your Living Trust?
      1. Why You Don’t Want to Conduct a Family Inheritance Meeting . . .
      2. And Why I Don’t Respect Your Reasons as to Why You Don’t Want to Conduct a Family Inheritance Meeting
      3. How to Conduct a Family Inheritance Meeting
      4. Your Lawyer Should Not Charge for the Family Inheritance Meeting
  5. The Third Quarter: Living with Your Living Trust after the Death of Your Spouse
    1. Chapter 10: Will You Divert Your Deceased Spouse’s Half of the Living Trust Assets from Your Offspring?
      1. The Three Goals of Living Trust Management after the Death of Your Spouse
      2. Does Your Deceased Spouse Approve of Using Half of the Living Trust Assets to Support Your Second Spouse?
      3. Fretting and Hoping—by Your First Children
      4. Preventing Your First Children from Fretting and Hoping So They Can Get Some Sleep
    2. Chapter 11: The Power to Change Your Deceased Spouse’s Inheritance Instructions . . . or Not!
      1. The Tyranny of Unjustified Lifetime Control
      2. Periscope from the Grave
      3. What If You Don’t Want to Change the Inheritance Instruction?
    3. Chapter 12: Dealing with Your Living Trust If You Remarry
      1. The Clash of the Inheritors
      2. Divide and Conquer
    4. Chapter 13: Dealing with the Estate Tax Return, Splitting the Living Trust Assets, and Other Tax Stuff That You Would Rather Just Ignore after Your Spouse Dies
      1. What Is the Estate Tax?
      2. The lifetime exemption
      3. Using Your Deceased Spouse’s Lifetime Exemption
      4. The “Simple Something” You Must Do to Preserve Your Deceased Spouse’s Lifetime Exemption— the Federal Estate Tax Return
      5. The “Complex Something” You Can Do to Preserve Your Deceased Spouse’s Lifetime Exemption Trust
      6. The Real Name of the Smaller Bucket Is . . .
      7. The Magic Trick
      8. The Other Subtrust: The Survivor’s Trust
      9. The Emergency Paragraph
      10. Putting All of This Estate Tax Stuff Together
  6. The Fourth Quarter: Dying with Your Living Trust
    1. Chapter 14: Distribution of Your Living Trust after Both You and Your Spouse Are Dead
      1. The Grim Reality
      2. Beating the Odds
    2. Chapter 15: Don’t Intentionally Leave Your Children Unequal Inheritances
      1. But It’s Not So Simple
      2. Touchy-Feely Advice: Talk to Your Richer Child Before You Leave Him Less
    3. Chapter 16: The Accidental Unequal Inheritance
      1. The Family Scorecard
      2. You Live, You Learn
      3. An Easier Pill to Swallow
      4. Separate but Unequal
    4. Chapter 17: Don’t Make a Child Who Owes You Money a Debtor to Your Other Children
      1. What Else Can You Do to Get Your Money Back?
      2. Consequences of the Unforgiven Loan
      3. Resolving the Family Fallout over the “Forgiven” Loan That Wasn’t Really Forgiven
    5. Chapter 18: Do Not Leave Your Child an Outright Inheritance
      1. Category One: The Protection Trust That Offers Only a Hope of Protection—the Transparent Trust
      2. Category Two: The Protection Trust That Is Just a Tad Less Liberal Than the Transparent Trust—the Self-Directed Irrevocable Protection Trust
      3. Category Three: The Protection Trust That Gives Control of Your Child’s Inheritance to a Third Party—the Third-Party Irrevocable Protection Trust
      4. Category Four: The Neutron Bomb of Protection Trusts—the Discretionary Trust
    6. Chapter 19: Using Your Living Trust to Force Your Child into a Conventional Lifestyle
      1. The Incentive Trust
      2. The Incentive Trust That Creates a Real Incentive for Your Child to Find Employment
      3. Striking a Balance between Competing Desires
    7. Chapter 20: The Success of the Third-Party Irrevocable Protection Trust (PUPPET) Depends on Whom You’ve Selected as the Third Party
      1. Who Will You Appoint as the Trustee of Your Child’s PUPPET?
      2. Your First Choice: The Private Individual
      3. Your Second Choice: The Better Choice
    8. Chapter 21: Who Are Your Grandchildren?
      1. Grandchildren 101
      2. Two Certainties
      3. The New and Protective Definition
    9. Chapter 22: The IRS Is Back! And This Time, It’s for Real!
      1. The Good News
      2. The Estate Tax Return Process
      3. Playing the Waiting Game after Your Estate Tax Return Is Filed
      4. Seek Out Solutions to Reduce Your Estate Tax
    10. Chapter 23: Who Pays the Estate Tax?
      1. The Three Types of Estate Tax Allocation Provisions
      2. Equal Estate Tax Allocation Provision
      3. Proportional Estate Tax Allocation Provision
      4. Specific Estate Tax Allocation Provision
      5. Three Concepts You Must Know about Estate Tax Allocation
      6. Forewarned Is Forearmed
  7. Postgame: Review and Lessons Learned
    1. Chapter 24: Question and Answer Time!
      1. The Top Ten Questions I Receive from Real People
      2. The Top Five Questions I Receive from Financial People
    2. Chapter 25: A Random Sampling of Cautionary Tales from the Inheritance Arena
      1. Cautionary Tale 1: The Last One on the Scene Gets the Money
      2. Cautionary Tale 2: A New Marriage Requires a New Living Trust
      3. Cautionary Tale 3: Sometimes Having Too Much Money Can Be a Curse
      4. Cautionary Tale 4: Keep Your Opinions to Yourself If You Want to Inherit from Your Gay Relative
      5. Cautionary Tale 5: Don’t Let the Law Write Your Inheritance Instructions
      6. Cautionary Tale 6: Joint Tenancy Gone Wrong
      7. Cautionary Tale 7: When It Comes to Money, Family Loyalty Goes out the Window
      8. Cautionary Tale 8: “Probate Is the Lawyer’s Retirement Fund”
      9. Cautionary Tale 9: “I Don’t Want to Be a Weekend Father”
      10. Cautionary Tale 10: “It’s Just a Piece of Paper”
      11. Cautionary Tale 11: I Don’t Want Him!”
      12. Cautionary Tale 12: “Si, Si! Community Property!” Community Property!”
      13. Cautionary Tale 13: “He’s Got Too Many Friends”
      14. Cautionary Tale 14: “We Were Cheated!”
      15. Cautionary Tale 15: “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?”
      16. Cautionary Tale 16: “I Don’t Want to Die with My Daughters Mad at Each Other”
      17. Cautionary Tale 17: “I Lost the Bet”
      18. Cautionary Tale 18: “I Only Have the Children I Choose to Tell You About”
      19. Cautionary Tale 19: “I Want My Money . . . So Hurry Up and Die!”
  8. About the Author
  9. Index
  10. EULA