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  • Writer's pictureJoseph L. Boles, Jr.

The Wayward Son

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

The son who was to receive one third of their estate was not a child to inspire confidence in his parents.

"Carry on my Wayward Son" is a great song by the rock band Kansas. Their words came to mind as the couple sitting in front of me in my conference room described their 37 year old son. They were both in their seventies and were setting up an estate plan using, of course, a revocable living trust to avoid the time and cost of probate.

The son who was to receive one third of their estate was not a child to inspire confidence in his parents. He still lived at home, had been unwilling to complete any college courses and could not keep gainfully employed much less establish a "career". The car he drove belonged to his parents and his Mom did all of his laundry and cleaned his room. Not only was there a "failure to launch", so to speak, he couldn't even "strap on the rocket!" His father stated flatly that, "If we die he will starve to death trying to figure out how to open a can or start the microwave."

Their wish was that he always have a place to live and money to live on, for at least the basics of life. If he received his one third of their estate the concern was that he would not be able to manage things on his own. His brother and sister hated him due to years and years of frustrated interaction, (and probably a little jealousy over his parent's lifelong support) so they would not be the ones to help. For me it was obvious that he could not receive his inheritance directly so the Successor Trustee of their trust would have to keep his share in the trust for his "protected and organized" use and benefit. I became the Successor Trustee and I added another attorney as the backup that is twenty years younger than me so there would be someone to continue until his death.

That is the beauty of a Revocable Living Trust. While initially designed to empty out after the death of you and your spouse with all the assets going to the beneficiaries you have named in your trust, if there is a need to stay in place it can. A trust, like a big cookie jar, never expires it just "empties all the cookies out" to your heirs. But if you need to hold some "cookies" (home, money etc.) for a beneficiary like our "Wayward Son" mentioned above we can do that with ease. Everybody wins! You get the peace of mind knowing your child will be cared for after you are gone and your child can't fritter away or get scammed out of his inheritance.

This system also works well for a child that is an alcoholic, has mental and emotional issues, financial difficulties or judgments. There may also be a spouse-in-law that you are worried about exerting undue influence on your beneficiary to their detriment. We have all heard stories about the lowdown, no good Husband talking his Wife, (your daughter) into using her inheritance to start up that "get rich quick" scheme he's thought up while sitting on the couch drinking beer in the middle of the day while she goes off to work.

What we are talking about is you being able to leave your loved ones your assets without worrying about those assets going down the drain. With a Trust you are only limited by your own creativity! It's a private document and you get to call all the shots, even from the grave. Call Suzi at 904-824-4278 and come in and let's talk. There is no charge for the initial consultation, ever, so what have you got to lose except some sleepless nights worrying about your kids after you are gone.

Next time we will talk about the "Special Needs Daughter" and the "Ten Year Old Twins" both of which take trusts of a different type! It's fascinating so tune in next issue!

Joseph L. Boles, Jr. Attorney at Law

Boles Law Firm (904) 824-4278

Originally Published in the St. Augustine Woman's Journal April 2017

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