October 18, 2019

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Estate Planning and Elder Financial Exploitation

The Revocable Living Trust

Perhaps no better legal document exists to protect the Senior Member from elder financial exploitation than the Revocable Living Trust.  As trustee, MEMBERS Trust Company holds legal title to property and the perpetrator must go through MEMBERS to steal or misappropriate the assets of the senior.

In many cases, the senior may wants to act as the initial trustee. With a standby provision, MEMBERS Trust Company will assume the role of trustee in the event the grantor becomes incapacitated. This condition can be attested by a family physicians, relatives or friends and MEMBERS Trust Company can immediately assume management of financial affairs without going to court.

With a trust, the seniors remain in control over their property but is just adding a Protector between the bad guys and the assets of the senior.

Senior Trust

Recently, trust professionals have been advocating a Senior Trust to protect elders against undue influence to change the disposition of the trust.  Most seniors want to remain in control of their assets while they are competent but want to protect their assets from misappropriation in the event of incapacity. So, the senior want to retain the right to change or modify the trust during lucidity but recognize the need to forfeit this right in the event of incapacity. The Senior Trust is being used to accomplish this goal.

Take the situation with a blended family in which both spouses want to protect their families from undue influence, in the event one spouse dies or become incapacitated.   With a senior trust, the grantors retain full right to amend or revoke as long as long as both grantors are living or fully competent.  Upon the death or disability of either spouse, the trust converts to an irrevocable trust so the surviving spouse will not be at risk of undue influence to make changes in the final deposition of assets. A special trustee is named to act on any changes in the disposition of trust assets and a limited power of appointment is retained to avoid the trust from becoming a gift (See article from Trusts & Estates).