Sponsor Spotlight: Spousal trusts — nothing says romance like a visit to your lawyer

Love is lovelier the second time around
Just as wonderful with both feet on the ground
It’s that second time you hear your love song sung
Makes you think perhaps that love, like youth, is wasted on the young
Love’s more comfortable the second time you fall
Like a friendly home the second time you call
Who can say what brought us to this miracle we’ve found?
There are those who’ll bet love comes but once, and yet
I’m oh, so glad we met the second time around
Who can say what brought us to this miracle we’ve found?
There are those who’ll bet love comes but once, and yet
I’m oh, so glad we met the second time around

Lyrics by Arthur L. Porter.  Sung by Frank Sinatra

Last Valentine’s Day, we tried to convince you about the romantic nature of marital agreements.

This year in time for Valentine’s Day, we’re in a romantic state of mind again.  Of course, the first thing that pops to mind are spousal trusts and other documents that can be used to show the true depths of your love for your spouse.

Chocolate, flowers, and diamonds are lovely, but may we also suggest a trip to your local elder law attorney to fine-tune your estate documents?

A surprising number of people are getting married for a second or third time — rarely to the same spouse. Many of these marriages result in what are known as “blended families,” or families where the spouses have children from a previous marriage and/or relationship. We find that more often than not, the tension surrounding these marriages is often rooted in insecurities regarding inheritance, assets, and the financial security of the parent.

Recently, we heard about a couple in their 90s who had been married for a number of years. Both were living in a care facility.  Her relatives flew to Washington for a visit from North Carolina and took the wife back to North Carolina with them, unbeknownst to the husband.  Sadly, this kind of scenario is surprisingly common. While the love of money is indeed the root of all evil, what we commonly find is that the couple does not have adequate estate planning documents in place to alleviate the concerns of the spouse and children. Thus they might react rashly.

Traditionally, spousal trusts were included in estate planning documents to provide a couple with benefits for the purpose of avoiding estate taxes. Such spousal trusts are known as credit shelter trusts, A-B Trusts, and Q-Tip trusts. What these trusts all have in common is that the surviving spouse retains a lifetime benefit in the trust assets, as defined in the trust agreement. At the death of the surviving spouse, the trust assets are distributed to the beneficiaries previously listed in the trust document.  With the taxable estate values increasing significantly in the last three years, many believe that they do not need such trusts.  However, we have found spousal trusts to be an estate planning tool worth discussing for blended families, and even for first-time marriages.

Spousal trusts can be adapted to various family situations and can provide various protections for the both the spouse and the secondary beneficiaries of the trust assets. These trusts, together with other protections recommended by your elder law or estate planning attorney, can help alleviate some of the tensions surrounding blended families.

Love is lovelier the second time around
Just as wonderful with both feet on the ground…

With our legal house in order, with both feet on the ground, we can spend our time and our energy paying attention to each other. We think this is a different, deeper kind of romance. We can let our hearts fly away.

For the legal needs of seniors, their families and younger families, feel free to call Sanders Law Group in downtown Edmonds:  425-640-8686

— By Roxana Florea, Attorney, and Ralph Sanders Sanders Law Group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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