Tag Archive for: revocable living trust

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QUESTION: What is it called when one deprives another notification of their parent’s death so to deprive them of their share of benefit?
I just found out that both of my parents have died, but years ago. After hoodwinking and railroading them, my mega millionaire sibling had taken measures to cut me off from them, before they’d died. It has been horrendous for me. Even just to find out that my parents had passed was bad enough, but that the way and how they’d died never would have happened if I’d not been cut out of their lives as I had been, after taking great and particular care of them myself, beforehand.

Short Answer: “Horrendous”? More like “Preposterous”! Mom and Dad die years ago. But until evil sibling got involved, you provided “great and particular care” that would inevitably have prolonged their lives. For years. But you, the “great and particular” caregiver, never wondered why all those Christmas and birthday cards kept getting returned? Are there no telephones? Did they live on Gilligan’s Island? Did you? I have “smell test” issues with this one… A little too self-serving, methinks

Long Answer: On the other hand, it is not unusual to see relatives who isolate and sequester disabled loved ones away from other family members. Sometimes the child acts from the best of generous, honorable motives: offering a refuge of peace for the loved one, away from family feuding, squabbling, and raw emotional outbursts. Sometimes domineering impulses, seasoned with jealousy, and spiced with greed motivate the selfish child to restrict access.

Unless there is objective abuse, usually, working out the currents of control are left to the family. Courts and judges have no interest or expertise in resolving the emotional debris of decades, and in some cases, generations. Judging from the unceasing torrent of self-help books on the subject, it does not seem that anyone else has any “great or particular” success with these heartfelt matters either. We must all do the best we can. “It’s a fool who looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart.” Joel Cohen.

Longer Answer: But this question is not all about “hearts and flowers” is it? Oh no! Our correspondent is particularly concerned that the mega millionaire sibling acted “so to deprive them of their share of benefit”. And by benefit, our correspondent means money. Or property. Or other stuff. So, what about that?
When stuff is at stake, courts do get involved. It is what they do best!

“Undue Influence.” is the legal theory. Here is how it works. Four (4) scenarios. Mom has money. Mom also has 2 children, A and B.

Scenario #1 No Undue Influence
1. Mom likes Child A better. And always has.
2. For years, without change, Mom’s will or trust leaves all her stuff to Child A.
3. Mom lives and acts independently.
4. Mom up and dies.
5. Child A gets everything. Child B is sick as mud.
6. Child B can go pound sand.

Scenario #2 Challenger Must Prove There WAS Undue Influence
1. Mom likes Child A better. And always has.
2. Recently, Mom, changed her will or trust to leave all her stuff to Child A.
3. Mom lives and acts independently.
4. Mom up and dies.
5. Child A gets everything. Child B is sick as mud. Child B sues.
6. Child B must prove that Child A unduly influenced Mom. An almost impossible task.
7. Child B can go pound sand.

Scenario #3 Defender Must Prove There WAS NOT Undue Influence – Formal Fiduciary
1. Mom likes Child A better. And always has.
2. Mom appoints Child A as her Trustee and Agent. In writing.
3. Mom changes her will or trust to leave all her stuff to Child A.
4. Mom up and dies.
5. Child A gets everything. Child B is sick as mud. Child B sues.
6. Now it is Child A who must prove that Child A DID NOT unduly influence Mom. An almost impossible task.
7. Child B gets a half-share. Child A can go pound sand.

Scenario #4 Defender Must Prove There WAS NOT Undue Influence – Informal Fiduciary
1. Mom likes Child A better. And always has.
2. Mom moves in with Child A. Child A helps with all Mom’s decisions. Child A prevents others from visiting Mom. Mom is totally dependent on Child A.
3. Child A is not Mom’s Trustee and Agent.
4. Mom changes her will or trust to leave all her stuff to Child A.
5. Mom up and dies.
6. Child A gets everything. Child B is sick as mud. Child B sues.
7. Now it is Child A who must prove that Child A DID NOT unduly influence Mom. An almost impossible task.
8. Child B gets a half-share. Child A can go pound sand.

Key Take-aways With Undue Influence: If you must prove it, you lose it. Also, if the beloved parent has appointed you formally, in writing, as their trusted agent/advisor/trustee, then you must prove you did nothing to “unduly influence” the beloved parent. The same rule applies, even if there is nothing in writing, if the beloved parent is dependent on you.

So, if you are caring for mom, dad, auntie, grampa, and providing for all their needs, or they “honored” you with the responsibility of trustee or agent, you MUST establish, by affidavit, deposition, or otherwise, that the beloved relative was acting independently. If you do not, you will lose.


Mom is elderly.. She is of sound mind and has mentioned to me that she would like to get my name on her condo.. what does that entail?
Is that what joint tenancy is? What will alleviate issues upon death – in other words avoid probate…. My guess is she needs to hire an attorney. What paperwork should I have her gather together.

Short Answer: “Best Way”? How about “No Way”!

Long Answer: Folks like to put their kids’ names on deeds, stock certificates, bank accounts, investments, and anything else they can think of. There is simply no good reason to put your kid’s name on this stuff. If you only want to avoid probate (dumb!), use a revocable living trust. If you want to avoid probate and nursing home poverty, and have time, use a LifePlanning™ Trust. If you don’t have time, use a trust plus a transfer-on-death deed (in Michigan and a few other states).

The Thing: Here’s the thing, most “estate planning” attorneys cheerfully admit that they have no clue as to what is going on with long-term care. Most so-called “elder law” attorneys should admit the same thing. It is tough to discern good advice when it comes to planning for long-term care. That means you have a tough job, but it is doable.

Ask the following questions:
1. How many Medicaid divestment trusts have you drafted for clients?
2. What happens after I sign the documents?
a. Do you have a mandatory process to get my stuff into the trusts?
b. Do I get my original trust documents?
c. How do you verify that my stuff has been retitled to my trusts?
3. How many Medicaid programs are available for long-term care?
4. Can I get help with skilled care at home? How much will that cost?
5. How many Medicaid applications have you personally prepared and filed for clients?
6. What is the PACE program?
7. What is Medicaid waiver?
8. What is the Initial Asset Assessment? When does it happen?

There are lots more questions to ask, but by this time, most attorneys will be shaming you for wanting to preserve your lifesavings. They think it is ridiculous that you should get some pay back on the tax dollars you paid in. They think you should go broke. They think your spouse or family should be happy with crumbs. Do you think they are on your side? Let’s not be too harsh… maybe they just don’t know any better. It’s more than possible, it’s likely.


My older friend wanted me to come stay with him to due to personal and cancer reasons. he asked my ladyfriend to become his caretaker and he would cover her living expenses. She ended up paying for everything food etc….. he even spent checks he was suposed to give her…. He passed away almost a year and a half of her caring for him like an angel being maid nurse cook, but she wants to know how long she has to pack up.

Short Answer: As long as you can drag out the eviction process.

Long Answer: You and your lady friend the angel have nothing in writing from your deceased “older friend”. Probate law will not allow you to make any claim for payment or even reimbursement for the “food ect”. Plus your friend embezzled the checks the angel was supposed to receive!! That all stinks. But in this world of ours, the reward for generosity is often resentment and selfishness. Look around. You know I’m right.

Longer Answer: They cannot make you leave the house without going through the formal eviction process. In some places, COVID rules may still prohibit evictions. It’s worth finding out. Legally, you are a holdover tenant or tenant at sufferance. The new owners of the house cannot simply put you on the street. They must give you 30 days’ notice, Termination of Tenancy. You can leave at that point or make them go to court for an Order of Eviction, after a Summary Proceeding.

Why not make them go through the whole darn process? Unless they agree to reimburse you for the grocery money. And a few bucks on top?

Moral of the Story: You are not a bad person for wanting to get a written agreement to pay you money in exchange for services. You are a smart person, with a good heart, who does not want to be played for a chump. So get it in writing!

Medicaid Observation: The payments you get under the agreement will not be acceptable to Medicaid and will be treated as gifts with penalties to the “older friend.” So what? If the friend needs you to give the money back, do so (if you are able). Then do a promissory note with interest so that eventually you will get every nickel to which you are entitled. And not a penny more.

Lawyer Sales Pitch: Don’t try to do this yourself. You have to pay for the privilege of working diligently for 18 months and when it is all said and done, you will get evicted. Is it possible that all this could have been avoided? Maybe with a little legal counsel? Maybe?



I’m As Mad As Hell And I’m Not Going To Take This Anymore!
Howard Beale, Network, 1976

How Did It All Go So Wrong, So Quickly?

We’re Not Gonna Take It, No, We Ain’t Gonna Take It, We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore!
Dee Snider, Twisted Sister, 1984

Traditional estate planning is concerned with avoiding probate, saving taxes, and dumping your leftover stuff on your beneficiaries. After you die. Nobody cares what happens to you while you are alive. How does that help anyone? Stupid.

Traditional estate planning fails because the overwhelming majority of us will need long-term skilled care. 70% of us. For an average of 3 years. And we will go broke paying for it.

Is it surprising that thousands of recreation properties: cottages, cabins, hunting land, are lost to pay for long- term care? Why is your estate planner hurting you and your family? It is evil intent? Or stupidity?

LifePlanning™ defeats Nursing Home Poverty. Keep your stuff. Get the care you have already paid for. Good for you. Good for your family. Good example for society,

When my mother suffered from the dementia which led to her death, over 10 years ago, their estate plan preserved their lifesavings. Mom’s months in the nursing home did not mean Dad’s impoverishment. Dad spent the last years with security and peace of mind.

Is Now A Bad Time For A Real Solution?

Perhaps you think you already have an answer to this problem. Maybe you do not see this as a problem at all. It is possible that you do not believe in the passage of time or its effects on you.

Peace of mind and financial security are waiting for everyone who practices LifePlanning™. You know that peace only begins with financial security. Are legal documents the most important? Is avoiding probate the best you can do for yourself or your loved ones? Is family about inheritance? Or are these things only significant to support the foundation of your family?

Do you think finding the best care is easy? Do you want to get lost in the overwhelming flood of claims and promises? Or would you like straight answers?

Well, here you are. Now you know. No excuses. Get the information, insight, inspiration. It is your turn. Ignore the message? Invite poverty? Or get the freely offered information. To make wise decisions. For you. For your loved ones.

The LifePlan™ Workshop has been the first step on the path to security and peace for thousands of families. Why not your family?

It is not chance. It is choice. Your choice.

Get Information Now. (800) 317-2812

What Comes Next Is Frequently Worse

Death Comes For Us All

Our time on this planet is limited. We do our best while we are here. To be a good spouse. A loving parent. A loyal sibling. A true American. To be able to look back on a life well-lived. You have worked hard. You played by the rules. You planned. And when you pass, there will be leftovers.

Maybe it is a loved one who has died. After the grief comes the realization that you have a big job to do. You are responsible to take care of what has been left behind.

Now what? What comes next? You have heard the stories of family strife. You “know” that this will take at least a year, probably two. You keep hearing that probate or trust administration costs will swallow up 4-10% of the leftovers. Pretty discouraging.

It does not have to be that way. Let us show you.

Will vs Trust

Wills only work in probate. A will is simply instructions to the Probate Court and the Personal Representative (Executor). Wills do not avoid probate. Did I mention that the will only works in Probate Court?

Millions of families have believed that revocable living trusts would avoid probate for them. Millions of families have been disappointed. Trusts only work on assets that have been retitled into the trust.

Attorneys, bankers, accountants, insurance agents, annuity salespersons, financial advisors, and the guy who mops the floor at the bank all know something that you do not. Everybody else knows that trusts do not work in the real world. That fact has nothing to do with the trust itself.

Trusts only work on stuff in the trust. And your stuff is not in your trust. Inconceivable!

Remember all those papers in that trust binder? All those papers you did not read? All those papers your loved one did not read either? Well, there was a memo about putting assets into the trust. Whoopsie. Say hello to probate! This is not a mistake. New estate planning lawyers are taught not to worry about funding, in reliance on probate. I wonder if the probate attorney fees have anything to do with it… Inconceivable!

Everybody knows you will not put your stuff into the trust. That is why you get a Funding Coach at the Law Offices of David L. Carrier. Someone to help you, nag you, enable you. To truly avoid probate. And nursing home poverty.

Simple will or the typical trust? Does not matter. Say hello to probate.

Delay Destroys De Family

Probate or trust administration drags on. Month after month. Family members wonder what is going on. One year. Two years. And on. Family fights fester. First, grief at mom’s death. Then, impatience. Soon, annoyance. Next, suspicion. Finally, anger.

“But our kids get along so well!” Check back 12-24 months after your death. No final resolution. No visible signs of progress. Tough? You bet. Inevitable? No way!

Git ‘Er Done! Six Months Or Less!

Preserve your family. Preserve your sanity. You do the grieving. We do the paperwork. Six months after you say “Go!”, we say “All done!” And four months of that time was required by the newspaper Notice to Unknown Creditors. Consistent communication calms kids.

Your Probate And Trust Administration Team

Attorney Terri Macklin and Senior Paralegal Lea Dillard head up your Team. Our staff accountants, paralegals, and client service agents back them all the way. Attorney Claire Clary rounds out the Team. As former executive director of Widowed Persons Services, Claire adds years of insights from helping hundreds of newly widowed persons.

Six Months! Really?

Not every time. But it is always our goal. We work hard to beat your expectations. Hundreds of times, hundreds of families, every year.

Unexpected Covid-19 Deaths Are Rising

You did not expect your loved one to pass so soon. You thought you had time. They did too. Things will get worse before they get better. Get help now.

What Now?

Preserve your family. Preserve your sanity. Call the Probate and Trust Administration Team now. It costs nothing. It could save your family. Make the rules work for the folks who play by the rules.


Send Email: TMacklin@davidcarrierlaw.com

Never a charge to talk. What are you waiting for? “What could it hurt?”

by Samantha Sprague, Attorney

CONGRATULATIONS! Becoming a parent is an amazing experience. One thing you should be accustomed to by now is asking questions. Sometimes you get a lot of ‘answers’ to questions you may not have even known to ask.

Whether you’re brand new to the parenting gig, or have several years under your belt, below are 3 common questions that every parent should consider.

1. What happens if I can’t make my own choices?

Self-care is important, to your sanity and to your health, and sets an important example for your little one. I meet with a number of parents who come in with the primary goal of taking care of their kids.

It doesn’t matter if the kids are 2, 22 or 55 – every good parent wants to make sure their kids are protected. However, the first thing any parenting book will preach is to make sure you take care of yourself.

Estate Planning is no different. Even before you bring your bundle of joy into the world, there are two documents you should have in place: (1) Healthcare Power of Attorney and (2) Financial Power of Attorney. This is the entry level of protection to make sure that if something awful occurs (e.g. car accident, stroke, medical procedure, etc.) you know who will be managing your assets and making medical decisions for you.

This is something that you should have in order before your little one arrives, but if they’re already here, there’s no time like the present to get started.

2. Who is going to take care of my child if I can’t?

No one person is invincible. You need a backup plan in case life goes drastically wrong and you are no longer able to care for your children.

What happens if you die?

Some people leave it up to chance and rely on the probate courts to pick someone to raise their kids. Generally, the courts will give preference to family members, but there are a lot of factors that are taken into account for something called “Judicial Discretion.”

Judicial Discretion means that where your kids end up is entirely in the hands of the probate judge, a person who has never met you, does not know your family, and is unaware of your wishes.

What can you do?

Every parent – regardless of how much money they have in the bank or what they own – should have a will. A will is where parents get to determine who is going to raise their kids if they cannot.

If a parent has guardianship and conservatorship language within their will, they get to choose who their child will live with and who will manage the stuff they leave behind for their child.

This does not eliminate parental rights if your child still has a surviving parent. However, if both parents should die or be incapacitated, the testamentary wishes (Will) outlined by the parents serve as guidance for the court.

There are other considerations that should be addressed with blended families, step-parent’s rights, and same-sex parents.

Each situation is unique and you should consult with an attorney on what your legal rights are and how you can make sure you are putting the right documents in place to provide surety that you decide who raises your kids.

3. How do I protect my kids with my Estate Planning?

As parents, we are hardwired to look out for our kids, to protect them, and to teach them to protect themselves when they are able to.

However, everyone approaches parenting a little differently.

There are helicopter parents trying to ‘bunk’ with their college-aged kiddo, and then there are those employing the sink-or-swim method my grandpa used to teach my mom how to swim in Lake Erie.

With your estate plan, you can put ‘safeguards’ in place for minor children, so the assets you leave are protected both FOR them and FROM them until they learn how to manage the money.

One way to ensure that anything you leave is protected is to create a Revocable Living Trust. This is a document that can be modified as your family grows and requires different types of protection.

A common practice within trusts is to put age restrictions in place. When you have multiple children of different ages you can ensure that minor children receive what they need while still allowing for a fair distribution.

If you are like many young parents, you may find that you are worth more dead than alive due to the low cost of life insurance. Making a trust the beneficiary of life insurance policies can ensure the money is protected for your kids.

There are numerous options for protecting assets for your kids. However, whatever you decide to put in place, it is important to remember that as your life changes and your kids grow, you should plan to update your documents. We recommend annual or semi-annual reviews to make sure your documents evolve along with your family.

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