The Wealth Advisor
Modernizing an Outdated Estate Plan
What to do with a Confusing, Old Trust
Estate plans evolve. Or at least they should. Any plan that fails to achieve your goals and doesn’t match your current financial and family circumstances is out of date and is in need of an overhaul. We can help you revitalize the obsolete aspects of your plan and get you back on track for the future.
How to know if you have an outdated trust
If you signed your will or trust after 2013 and it’s been more than a year since we talked, now is the time to make sure your plan still meets your needs and avoids confusion along with needless complexity, costs, and taxes.
You may also be the beneficiary of a deceased loved one’s will or trust. These older trusts left by a parent or grandparent can often benefit from a “remodel” or modernization.
Quality estate planning is an ongoing process
You are not trapped by old plans, even when they’re “irrevocable.”
Many of you probably have an irrevocable trust of some kind as well, an inheritance from a parent or grandparent or even one you made yourself. There are more boundaries and modernization is a more involved process for an irrevocable trust, but we have an array of tools (decanting, trust protector restatement, judicial modification, or non-judicial settlement) at our disposal to “remodel” or modernize an existing irrevocable trust. You’ve probably heard about decanting. It is an increasingly popular option and borrows its name from the decanting process used for wine. Just as you can decant wine by pouring it from its original bottle into a new bottle, leaving the unwanted sediment in the original bottle, you can pour the assets from one trust into a new trust, leaving the unwanted terms in the original trust.
Just as there are many ways to remodel a home, there are many strategies and legal tools that can be used to modernize old estate plans. Since each plan is unique, the way to update it will be as well. Coming up with the most effective strategy requires careful consideration of your current goals and needs, as well as your tolerance for risk.
Even though there is no way to know for sure what to do until some analysis is complete, it’s better to have an informed choice rather than acting upon the assumption that your plan will work as intended, especially if it hasn’t been professionally reviewed. These are complex legal processes, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
We want you to have the best possible plan for your family. Since you and your circumstances are unique, give us a call today and let’s explore the options. We look forward to hearing from you.
Law Offices of J.R. Hastings • 1003 Third Street, San Rafael, California 94901 • 415-450-6692