In 2005 a trust beneficiary filed a law suit against her trustee (her father) claiming that her father illegally transferred $2 billion of her money to a trust for another beneficiary. The case was settled for just under $1 billion. The father and daughter in this story are members of the Pritzker family (Hyatt Hotels,…

Groucho Marx is the poster child for what can go wrong with estate planning. At the end of his life Groucho was placed under legal guardianship, against his will, by a California Court. Last year, there was a disagreement over health care decisions for Casey Kasem, the beloved host of “American Top 40”. How does…

For decades a debate raged in legal circles about which documents were better – wills or trusts. Members of the public didn’t really know the difference, but there was a perception that trusts were more complicated and expensive – and were primarily for wealthy people. Those who favored trusts told the story of Ellen. When…

Today it is common practice to use a revocable living trust as the foundation of an estate plan. One of the reasons professionals recommend trusts is so that their clients can avoid the time delays, costs, and publicity of probate. Indeed, a trust that is fully funded (i.e. all assets are under trust control) does…

When it comes to estate planning, you will often hear the phrase “title = result.” The phrase means that the ultimate results of an estate plan will depend on how each asset in the estate is titled. If something is titled incorrectly, it will remain outside the control of the estate plan, and will likely…

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