"ABCs of estate planning in 15 minutes"


  • Questions to ask yourself and/or your spouse?
  1. Why and how much do we want to give to our heirs? (Hint: ages, asset type, charity, liquidity, religion, taxes & wealth)
  2. When and where do I want my heirs to receive an inheritance? (Hint: trust vs outright, enabling vs supporting, failure, social pressures)
  3. Do we want the ability to choose who or what entity manages our trust assets?

  • Questions to ask your estate planning attorney?
  1. Please give me some perspective like in non-lawyer words on the aggressiveness of my future estate plan? (Hint: IRS risk, control from the grave, high administrative cost and/or maintenance)
  2. How can we make the administration of a trust more effective to lower future trustee fees? (Hint: HEMS trust distributions with broad definitions)
  3. What are the downsides to creating a trust during my lifetime, and at death? Why?

  • Three big issues to consider
  1. Allow a beneficiary or the majority of beneficiaries, if sharing a trust, to remove and to appoint trustees without a court or judge required.
  2. Allow a current or successor trustee to change the governing law of a trust for situs and trust administration without the approval of beneficiary, court or judge.
  3. Executors of a Will need to follow rules and ask questions for guidance. No shortcuts

  • Two side issues to address
  1. Review Medical Power of Attorney every 5 years. Be very clear on who you choose and will they follow exactly what you want. (Hint: German vs. Italian)
  2. Review Financial Power of Attorney every 5 years. Be very clear on who you choose and why. (Hint: Smart and wise are not the same).


Staying smart on family and money estate planning 'stuff' from the trustee  expert