The Importance of Trust Reviews

As part of our practice at the Law Offices of David L. Carrier, PC, I meet with over 300 families every year
for a “Trust Review”. This includes our past clients that have questions about their Trust documents.
Sometimes they need a refresher of how the Trust works or want to make specific changes. I also meet
with clients that have a trust drafted by another law firm and they sometimes want a second opinion or
have questions how the Trust works, or they want to make changes to an old trust.

If you have a Trust, then you know that there are many benefits of a Trust: Trust assets avoid probate,
they make it easier for someone to manage your assets if you are incapable to doing so yourself. Also, the
properly drafted Trust can protect your assets when you need skilled care. (You have heard David say on
the TV and Radio: “Avoid Nursing Home Poverty”).

For Trusts to be used to their full potential, Trusts must be properly funded. This means transferring
ownership of assets to the Trust. Some assets must be held in your name. For example: IRAs, 401K’s,
403b’s and similar tax advantaged accounts can’t be owned by a trust for tax reasons. For those accounts,
we often designate either the spouse or the Trust as the beneficiary. Failing to properly fund a Trust is
the most common reason why a Trust fails.

At our Trust Reviews, we cover many topics, besides making sure that the Trust is properly funded.
Questions that are often asked include:

• Who are your current and successor trustees?
• What are the terms of your trust?
• Who are your beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries?
• Does your Trust still suit your needs?
• Do you have a current and properly drafted Durable Power of Attorney for Financial?
• Do you have a current and properly drafted Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare?
• Has the law changed, and should your documents be updated to take advantage of a new law?
• What changes have happened in your life that might require updating your trust documents,
(death, marriage, divorce, births, substantial changes in your finances)?

I have seen client’s estate planning documents that were drafted years ago, when the children were
minors. Today, the parents often want their adult children to be named as their successor Trustee in their
Trusts, as well as Agents for both Financial and Healthcare decisions.

We review Estate Planning documents (Trusts, Wills, Financial and Healthcare Power of Attorney
documents, Designation of Funeral Representatives) that were drafted by our office, and also drafted by
other attorneys as well. We make recommendations on what needs to be updated and why.

There are many types of Trusts, but all Trusts should be reviewed periodically to make sure that they are
up-to-date and properly funded. Have you had your Trust reviewed lately? How about your other Estate
Plan documents? If not, perhaps it is time to call our office and schedule your free Trust Review with me.

Jim Henke

Why Trust Reviews Are Important

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