A Revocable Living Trust: In “Real People” Terms

Posted on April 5, 2017

Article by Beth Ann R. Lawson, Esq.

At a recent event, a young woman asked me to define a Revocable Living Trust (Trust) in “real people” terms rather than legal language. To do so, I used my children and my pets as real life examples to show how a Revocable Living Trust works. It doesn’t get more “real” than children and our pets.

When my children were small, I would leave them and my pets with my parents or other family caregiver for a few days while I traveled for business. I always left extensive written instructions along with medical cards and money to make sure the caregivers could act promptly and know exactly what to do in many different situations. A Revocable Living Trust is the formalized, more detailed and legally enforceable version of the scribbled notes left on the counter for the sitters. Continue reading

Posted in Estate Planning

Who Should Be Your Successor Trustee?

Posted on February 24, 2017

If you have a revocable living trust, you probably named yourself as trustee so you can continue to manage your own financial affairs. Eventually, however, someone will need to step in for you when you are no longer able to act due to incapacity or death.

The Successor Trustee plays an important role in the effective execution of your estate plan. The choice of a Successor Trustee is one of the most important choices our clients make.

Responsibilities of a Successor Trustee

At Incapacity:  If you become incapacitated, your Successor Trustee will step in and take full control of your finances for you – paying bills, making financial decisions, even selling or refinancing assets. Often your Successor Trustee will also serve as your Agent under your Financial Power of Attorney.

After Death: After you die, your Successor Trustee acts just like an executor would – takes an inventory of your assets, pays your final bills, sells assets if necessary, has your final tax returns prepared, and distributes your assets according to the instructions in your trust.

What You Need to Know:

  • Trustees are fiduciaries. A fiduciary is a person to whom property or power is entrusted for the benefit of another. A fiduciary duty in a trust is the legal duty to act solely in the beneficiary’s interests. Your Successor Trustee will be able to do anything you could with your trust assets, as long as it does not conflict with the instructions in your trust document and does not breach any fiduciary duty. Continue reading
Posted in Estate Planning, Legacy Fiduciary Services, PLC, Trust & Estate Administration

Jeremy L. Pryor Selected Speaker for NBI Workshop

Posted on February 9, 2017

Attorney Jeremy L. Pryor was selected to instruct a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) workshop for the National Business Institute (NBI). The program will take place on March 9th in Richmond, Va. The title fo the program is Protecting Assets While Qualifying for Medicaid.

The National Business Institute (NBI) is a national provider of continuing legal education and training.

Posted in Asset Protection Planning for Long Term Care, Attorneys in the News, Elder Law

‘Til Death Do Us Part – Estate Planning Tips for Commitment Without Marriage

Posted on February 6, 2017

Content provided by WealthCounsel; reviewed and edited by Beth Ann R. Lawson, Esq.

Advice columnist Ann Landers once observed that “love is friendship that has caught fire.” For many Americans, such feelings are not being formalized by marriage. This growing group of committed partners includes all ages with many seniors now expanding the numbers.


  • Per the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 112 million people in the U.S. are unmarried;
  • 45 percent of our country’s households are “unmarried households.”
  • In 2013, the CDC found that “cohabitation [without marriage] is now a regular part of family life in the U.S.”

The law has not kept up with these societal trends. If you and your significant other love each other but do not want to tie the knot, you need an estate plan that provides for each partner’s specific needs which protect both the partner along and any other loved ones you wish to protect. When the cost of long term care enters a family’s life, then marriage is a true legal tie that binds the two incomes and assets to the cost of the long term care for one or both.  For many seniors, paying long term care for a second spouse at the risk of leaving nothing to their own family is too big a price to pay. Continue reading

Posted in Estate Planning

Caution: Creditors May Have Easy Access to Inherited IRAs

Posted on January 9, 2017

Content provided by WealthCounsel; reviewed and edited by Kenneth A. Dodl, Esq.

Do you have IRAs or other retirement accounts that you plan to leave to your loved ones?  If so, proceed with caution.  Most people don’t know the law has changed: inherited retirement accounts no longer have asset protection, meaning they can be seized by claims against your beneficiaries.


How Can Inherited IRAs Be Protected?  Enter the Retirement Plan Trust

Fortunately, you can still protect your retirement account for your beneficiaries but only if you take action.  Many people are now using Retirement Plan Trusts as part of their estate planning to protect retirement assets.  The Retirement Plan Trust is a special type of trust  Continue reading

Posted in Estate Planning, Retirement Planning Trusts Tagged |