Estate Planning Basics – Family Circumstances

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 9,353
    Attorney Mike Collins discusses how to put an estate plan into place, including how to deal with family circumstances.

    Michael Collins: Hi! I am Estate Planning Attorney Mike Collins of The Collins Firm and we are talking about the principle issues you need to address as you sit down to prepare your own personal estate plan. Today, I want to say something about a category I refer to as family circumstances. In my experience with our 28000 individual clients, I find that most of us share with our advisors the fact that there are situations that I wish, were different. May be it's easy to understand, painful to deal with as a disable member of the family. You know what the traditional advice lawyers gave to the parents of a disable child was? The attorney would recommend disinheriting their disable son or daughter. So if the parents or a family member leaves that disabled individual to share the estate, that inheritance disqualifies them from the existence program. So the technique was no, no, don't give him anything, leave it to a sibling, hope they take care of their brother or sister. Fortunately, today what we attorneys use is what's called a Supplemental Needs Trust, a trust fund you set up that enables you to enhance the quality of life under those assistance programs without jeopardizing their eligibly in the first place. May be it's someone who has had a problem with alcohol, the drug abuse, perhaps it's someone not very good in managing money or holding a job. Here is the key thing you should recognize. You can protect your heir, your beneficiary, your kid, your grand kids, your nieces, your nephews. Often it would be far better to leave those shares in a trust fund. You can protect that inheritance from misadventure, their own inexperience or as I say lawsuits, bankruptcy, foreclosure, divorce. We hope none of those bad things ever occur, but you know what they do over and over. Planning is about anticipating and putting in place an element of your plan to address these issues. And the biggest favor you can do your families and in my opinion one of the most important parts of every one of our estate plans, it's fine to keep our money in our family, this is simple responsibly. You have worked hard, you have set aside what you could, you would like to give your children a sense of security, you would like to give your grandkids a leg up. A little basic planning in advance will take care of these issues. It starts with being candid with your advisor because he or she, if they have any experiences at all, is going to be able to explain some options you have to address these issues, alleviate your concerns, give you some peace of mind and do a much better job for your loved ones.