Don’t Piss Off Your Trustee

A colleague of mine contacted me about a legal issue she was dealing with. Her client had created an irrevocable trust for tax minimization purposes, named his brother (a US citizen) and his sister-in-law (a Canadian citizen) as Co-Trustees, signed the Trust and transferred a life insurance policy to the Trust. For some reason, in the brief period between signing the trust and mailing it to the Co-Trustees, the client succeeded in royally pissing off his brother to the point of being told he would rather eat cold rice (in actuality, he was told something far less palatable) than serve as his trustee. Just to add to this problem, the client had already applied for a Tax ID Number for

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Medicaid Planning: Don’t Be Too Eager to Take Mom & Dad’s Money

When a parent gets to the point where they consider enlisting personal care, such as home cleaning, cooking, or even more advanced issues such as help bathing or toileting, their children have been considering it for a while. Oh, and the children not only don’t wish to pay for mom and dad’s care: The kids want mom and dad’s money, and want Medicaid to pay for the care. Children feel entitled to their parent’s money. Believe me, they do, even “perfect children.” And several parents agree with the philosophy of “I’ve worked hard, and I don’t want the government to take my money, so I’ll leave it to my kids instead.” Let me be clear: When your parents are in

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Foreign Family Members: Will or Trust?

Several client or their spouses are immigrants who are not US Citizens or have several foreign family members. This poses several costs and challenges when choosing to pass property, and should lead one to ask if they should have property pass by a Trust or by Probating a Will. The following issues apply for people who reside overseas and do not pay US taxes, also known as “Non-US Persons.” Remember that having/opening a Trust avoids all of these costs: A Trust does not pass through Probate, does not require a Court to approve a foreign Trustee, and assets are distributed much more quickly and at less cost. First, any person who is a Non-US Person cannot serve alone as an

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