Will your Trust actually work as intended? A harsh lesson that lost the family home.

So you have a Trust. Good move. But when the time comes, will your Trust actually perform as intended?

A poorly written Trust will only give you a false sense of security, and even if your Trust is well-written, neglecting to fund or follow the provisions of your Trust will render the document worth little more than the paper on which it was printed.

From the annals of "you don't have what you thought you did" comes the instructional story of a Newport Beach homeowner, who thought he had protected his multi-million dollar home with a "QPRT" (Qualified Personal Residence Trust), only to find out at the worst possible time that his Trust failed miserably.

As an attorney with high-net-worth clients who turn to me to protect their assets, I understand well the importance of meticulously drafted Trusts that can withstand all challenges. As a litigator, all too often I see rusts that do not perform as intended.

I encourage you to read this article, published in Forbes by Jay Adkisson, and linked below, but the principal lessons are:

  1. Laws and circumstances change. Your Trust is a living document that must be kept up to date.
  2. A QPRT can be an excellent tool to mitigate future estate tax liability, but only if drafted effectively, which brings us to the next lesson:
  3. Irrevocable means irrevocable. Even if your Trust is supposed to be irrevocable, if provisions therein allow you to revoke it, then you may be at risk.
  4. Finally, filing for bankruptcy must be approached with extreme caution.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jayadkisson/2015/09/30/qprt-deemed-revocable-and-fails-to-protect-home-in-ferrante/

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