E353 November 17, 2010
1. Got Kids? Estate Planning is Recommended.
2. Selecting Trustees
3. No Statement Admissible by Non-Appearing Witness
4. Investigatory Stop Permitted where Police has Articulable Suspicion of Drugs.
5. Once Impounded the Police were Required to Obtain a Warrant Prior to Searching the Vehicle.
6. Fun Upcoming Running Races in November / December Selected by Kenneth Vercammen, Esq.
7. Ken's Knee Rehab Update.
8. Our New Email Address
1. GOT KIDS? ESTATE PLANNING IS RECOMMENDED.
If you have minor children and do not have a will, one author wrote you are doing them a great disservice bordering on child neglect. If you do not name a guardian for your minor children think of the worst relative you have and that's who will get the kids. Makes you shudder, doesn't it?
We've finished the graduation season and kids have started college. Do you have a recent high school grad? Is your son or daughter over 18 and heading off to college? Did you remember that your child is now an adult and your control over them is limited? For example, if your daughter becomes ill while at school and is admitted to the hospital or student health center, you are NOT legally entitled to know about it-or about her condition; even if you are paying for everything.
So, here's the plan. Have your college son or daughter prepare a HIPAA authorization form. This allows your child to name the parents as the persons to discuss health care matters with medical personnel. Without it, you cannot legally learn anything. It's something that most parents never think about.
It may also be prudent for your child to execute the basic documents listed above, including the Durable Power or Attorney and Advance Directives. Once a child turns 18, your legal connection is irrevocably changed.
Do you own real estate? How is it titled? Is it a survivorship deed? Have you considered a transfer on death deed? Some states permit those and they work very well. Do you have a second home? Is it outside your home state? What are the laws in that state regarding the inheritance of property?
Schedule an appointment with your attorney.
2. Selecting Trustees
One of the more critical decisions you'll make when setting up a trust is selecting a trustee. Depending on the trust's provisions, the trustee can serve for decades, with broad discretion in managing assets and distributing income and principal. The trustee's performance can significantly impact your beneficiaries' distributions. Some thoughts to consider when deciding on a trustee include:
Decide whether to choose a family member, friend, or professional trustee. You want an honest individual with some basic financial aptitude. You could decide to name two trustees, perhaps a family member and a professional. The professional could handle investment decisions, while the family member could oversee those decisions and make distribution decisions. Before naming a trustee, obtain that individual's consent and ensure that the responsibilities are understood.
Don't rule out a professional due to the fees involved. While friends and family may serve without compensation, consider whether they could handle these financial decisions as well as a professional could. The trustee's duties can be complex and time consuming. You should consider whether a friend or family member has the time and aptitude for the task.
Name a successor trustee. If your trustee dies, becomes incapacitated, or decides he/she doesn't want to serve as trustee, you should have a successor trustee named or at least describe how one should be selected, such as through a majority vote of the beneficiaries.
Set up performance guidelines. That way, if the trustee does not meet those guidelines, your beneficiaries will have a means to change trustees.
Write a letter to your trustee explaining your wishes. This letter should explain your objectives for the trust, information about the beneficiaries, and other factors that will help the trustee make decisions.