Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Trusts and estate planning

Living Trust Attorney LTD is a small law firm dedicated to estate planning in Northern Virginia. The firm gives public seminars, typically once a month, on some topics related to estate planning, such as living trusts, endorsements on life insurance policies, and “segregating” instead of “comingling” inheritances.

I had intended to attend last night and did not because of heavy thunderstorms in the area.

The website is called “Trust Bishop” and is here. The website has the interesting tagline “Personal attention is not boilerplate!” One of the major themes of the site is to explain the value of trusts (relative to wills). Trusts may in some cases enable persons to ensure that their wishes will be followed after they are gone. It may cost more money (relative to the size of potential inheritance) to set them up, than do simple wills.

The colloquial term for the enforcement of post-mortem wishes is the “dead hand”. In some cases, recipients of inheritances may be required to fulfill certain behavioral obligations in order to get or keep the money. The general impression I have is that this practice is more common in Britain than in the United States, and it was often a theme in some Victorian novels. A screenwriter and entertainment attorney friend of mine in Los Angeles had discussed the practice with me one time when sharing an unpublished manuscript with me, in which this was a major plot element. It has occurred in a few commercial movies

The visitor may want to explore the content particularly at the “Trust Administration” and “FAQ” buttons on the website.

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