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AARP The Living Trust Advisor: Everything You Need to Know about Your Living Trust

AARP The Living Trust Advisor: Everything You Need to Know about Your Living Trust

Jeffrey L. Condon

ISBN: 978-1-118-23099-2

Dec 2011

256 pages

Select type: E-Book



AARP Digital Editions offer you practical tips, proven solutions, and expert guidance.

Many of us spend a lifetime building wealth and accumulating assets, but fail to properly plan how all of this will be passed on once we are gone. And while dealing with complex financial issues such as inheritance and estate taxes forces us to face our own mortality, making these difficult decisions is something we all need to do.

Living trust attorney and bestselling author Jeffrey Condon is extremely familiar with these types of situations and understands the importance of a living trust in an increasingly uncertain world. Now, with The Living Trust Advisor, he skillfully discusses the various aspects of this document and details how it can provide a seamless transfer of assets to your spouse, children, and other beneficiaries after you are gone.

Written in a straightforward and accessible style—and peppered with Condon's trademark humor—The Living Trust Advisor puts the living trust in perspective and walks you through the four life phases associated with it. Page by page, this practical guide will help you:

  • Address the numerous issues that should be considered before first meeting with a living trust lawyer and other key players in this arena
  • Establish and manage your living trust over the course of your life as well as prepare it to carry out your financial wishes once you and your spouse have passed on
  • Identify potential inheritance problems now, so you can build solutions into your living trust before it's too late
  • Distribute living trust assets to future generations and protect those assets once the transfer is complete
  • And much more

Throughout the book, Condon provides you with real-world examples that illustrate key points or clarify particular concepts. While many of these examples are drawn from Condon's professional relationship with clients, some anecdotes are associated with his personal experiences in this field.

If you've picked up this book, then you're probably thinking about putting together a living trust. Or, perhaps you already have a living trust and you're looking to revisit it. Whatever your reasons, this reliable resource contains the straightforward advice and practical insights you need to create and maintain a living trust that will ensure your final financial wishes are carried out in full.

Pregame Warm-Up
Read This Before You Read This Book xiii

Acknowledgments xxi

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
You Don't Know What You Don't Know about Your Living Trust 3

Chapter 2 What Does the Living Trust Do, and How Does It Do It?
The Best Explanation of the Living Trust You Will Ever Get 10

Chapter 3 Do You Really Need a Living Trust?
Don’t Let Someone Sell You Something You Don’t Need 14

Chapter 4 Establishing Your Living Trust
No Better Way to Get Started . . . Than to Get Started 21

Chapter 5 Who Should You Select as the Lifetime Agent of Your Living Trust?
If You Become Incapacitated, Will Your Lifetime Agent Manage Your Living Trust for Your Benefit . . . or for His? 31

Chapter 6 You Can Select Your Children as Your After-Death Agent, but Will They Carry Out Your Living Trust’s Inheritance Instructions?
"That Was Our Parents' Wish, but It Ain't Our Wish" 41

The Second Quarter: Living with Your Living Trust during the Lifetimes of You and Your Spouse 51

Chapter 7 Functions of Your Living Trust While Both You and Your Spouse Are Alive
Don't Quite Forget about Your Living Trust After You Have Thrown It into Your Safe-Deposit Box 53

Chapter 8 The Five Concerns about the Real Estate You Transferred to Your Living Trust
You Still Own Your House! 65

Chapter 9 Should You Tell Your Children about Your Living Trust?
Don't Dismiss the Chance to Have a Family Inheritance Meeting—Especially If the Lawyer Won't Charge You 73

The Third Quarter: Living with Your Living Trust after the Death of Your Spouse 81

Chapter 10 Will You Divert Your Deceased Spouse's Half of the Living Trust Assets from Your Offspring?
How to Make Your Children Fret and Hope That You Will Do the Right Thing 83

Chapter 11 The Power to Change Your Deceased Spouse's Inheritance Instructions . . . or Not!
How to Lord It over Your Children with Threats of Changing Your Living Trust 89

Chapter 12 Dealing with Your Living Trust If You Remarry
The Battle Royal: Your Second Spouse versus Your First Children 94

Chapter 13 Splitting the Living Trust Assets After Your Spouse Dies, Preparing Your Spouse's Estate Tax Return, and Other Tax Stuff That You Would Rather Just Ignore
As Much as You Want to, Don't Skip This Chapter! To Prevent Estate Taxes after Your Death, You Must Deal with Estate Tax Matters after Your Spouse's Death 99

The Fourth Quarter: Dying with Your Living Trust 113

Chapter 14 Distribution of Your Living Trust After Both You and Your Spouse Are Dead
The Inheritance Arena Is Not for the Fainthearted 115

Chapter 15 Don't Intentionally Leave Your Children Unequal Inheritances
So What If One Needs It More Than the Other? 119

Chapter 16 The Accidental Unequal Inheritance
If You Think You Have Treated Your Children Equally by Leaving Them Equal Inheritances, I Have Some News for You! 124

Chapter 17 Don't Make a Child Who Owes You Money a Debtor to Your Other Children
An Unforgiven and Unpaid Loan to a Child Can Wreak Havoc After Your Death 131

Chapter 18 Do Not Leave Your Child an Outright Inheritance
I'm Not Kidding! Don't Leave Your Child an Outright Inheritance 138

Chapter 19 Using Your Living Trust to Force Your Child into a Conventional Lifestyle
If the Twig Is Bent, Will Force Do Anything to Straighten It Out? 167

Chapter 20 The Success of the Third Party Irrevocable Protection Trust (PUPPET) Depends on Whom You've Selected as the Third Party
Try Not to Appoint One Private Person to Hold and Manage Money for Another Private Person 172

Chapter 21 Who Are Your Grandchildren?
Do You Really Want Your Living Trust Assets to Ultimately Wind Up with Your Son's Second Wife's Kids from Her First Marriage? 179

Chapter 22 The IRS Is Back! And This Time, It's for Real!
"Sorry about Your Parents' Deaths. That Will Be $200,000, Please." 184

Chapter 23 Who Pays the Estate Tax?
Don't Make One Person Pay the Estate Tax on Living Trust Gifts That Go to Another Person 196

Postgame: Review and Lessons Learned 205

Chapter 24 Question and Answer Time!
Take the Opportunity to Ask This Expensive Lawyer Your Questions . . . at No Charge 207

Chapter 25 A Random Sampling of Cautionary Tales from the Inheritance Arena
Read about, and Learn from, My Previous Mistakes and the Mistakes of My Clients 222

About the Author
An Invitation from the Author to Contact Him at No Charge 243

Index 247