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Avoid Unintentionally Disinheriting Your Spouse in your Wills and Trusts

February 1, 2015

Many people don’t realize it, but their wills leave nothing outright to their spouse. Before the current high federal exempt amount was established, a standard will stated that a portion of the estate equal to the federal exempt amount was left in a bypass trust or other trust that benefitted the surviving spouse for life […]

When Should Children Inherit from Trusts?

September 24, 2014

Many people put their money in trusts because they know their children or grandchildren aren’t ready to directly control the wealth. The question they struggle with is when money should be released from the trust directly to the beneficiaries. Here’s a succinct summary of the factors that show a person is ready to inherit wealth. […]

Trust Fund Babies

August 14, 2014

The wealthy used to go to great lengths to set up trust funds that would provide amply for at least the next generation and often for future generations. Those family wealthy dynasties appear to be out of favor, according to this article from The Washington Post. They’re worried about spoiling their kids and not allowing […]

Naming Trusts as IRA Beneficiaries

June 1, 2014

Trusts find their way into more and more estate plans, because they provide valuable benefits. Many people want to use trusts with their IRAs. I receive an increasing number of inquiries from readers asking how they can name a trust as beneficiary of their IRAs instead of individual heirs. That’s where they can get into […]

estate planning

Using Protection Trusts in Your Estate Planning to Help Heirs

March 1, 2014

“Great Fortunes Lost” was the title of an article in Fortune magazine some years ago. It described how various individuals, usually heirs, lost or squandered very large fortunes. Some of the individuals lost more than money. They lost their health or wasted their lives because of the effects wealth had on them. Many people I […]

Beware Asset Protection Trusts

December 24, 2013

Asset protection planners and several states have worked for the last couple of decades to develop trusts that will protect assets from creditors. The ideas were to make asset protection more affordable and also to keep in the U.S. assets that were being transferred to overseas trusts in jurisdictions with strong asset protection reputations. But […]

Updating the Bypass Trust for Estate Planning

December 1, 2013

Is the Bypass Trust dead? Many people believed when the lifetime estate tax exemption rose to $5 million per person (indexed for inflation), the role of bypass trusts in most Estate Planning strategies ended. Far from it. Under the current tax law the bypass trust can be turned from a powerful estate tax saver into […]

Fixing What’s Wrong With Most Estate Planning Trusts

September 1, 2012

Many estate plans needlessly and unintentionally pit family members against each other. Old-fashioned, out-of-date trust formulas are the problem. The issues easily could be avoided by using some modern Estate Planning trust strategies instead of relying on what used to be tried-and-true trust provisions. Trusts once primarily were the province of only the wealthy. Now, […]


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