Many attorneys (even those that do not specialize in estate planning) will attempt to assist clients with setting up a revocable living trust. In the right circumstances, a revocable living trust can provide a number of benefits for clients. However, most attorneys come up short in a number of areas.
1. Your Trust Does Not Get Funded. Many attorneys will prepare legal documents for you and then disappear. They might even write a letter to you explaining your need to transfer your assets into your new trust (known as "funding" your trust). Rarely, however, will the attorney actually take the time to make sure the trust is funded. They leave the second half of the legal work up to you, the client. If the trust is not funded properly, it may not be able to provide the necessary protections for your assets. It won't even avoid probate!
2. Not Asking The Right Questions About Your Heirs. Have you ever had an attorney ask who you wanted to pass your estate on to, but not ask anything else? Most of the time, the estate plan just addresses the "who" and the "how much". The attorney never asks what happens to the heirs when they receive the inheritance. Is anyone too young, irresponsible, sick, or influenced by someone else (spouse, parent, etc.) to receive all of their money at once? An experienced attorney should go the extra mile and work with the client to establish a specific, customized inheritance plan that takes all factors into consideration.
3. Not Reviewing The Estate Plan. Most people never hear from their attorney again after they have received their legal documents. Attorneys see estate planning as a one-time transaction, not an ongoing professional relationship. It is best to review your estate plan every three to four years, or sooner if a major life event changes things. What may be appropriate for a client right now may be different than what the client wants 10 years from now.
If you or a loved one are unsure if there are issues with your own estate plan, call The Rosenbauer Law Office, LLC at 513-463-6789 to schedule a free estate plan review meeting today!