Survivorship Periods in Wills and Trusts

It is becoming all too common where wills and trust documents are being prepared by individuals themselves through on-line services or with the help of service providers that declare they “do not provide legal services,” just before they go ahead and provide legal services to consumers.

Individuals are not permitted to provide legal services to consumers, without being licensed by a state bar.  A good rule of thumb with respect to seeking legal advice — if it feels like you are getting legal advice, you probably are, and the person giving it to you should be licensed by the state.

The end result in these situations is the legal document prepared does not effectuate the intended result.

There are many terms of art in the drafting of estate planning documents.  Most recently I have received inquiries regarding the need for survivorship periods in wills and trusts.  A survivorship period is a standard feature that states a named beneficiary in a document cannot inherit unless they live for a specified amount of time after the will or trust maker dies.  This period can be used to avoid estate taxes for successive estates and to ensure property passed to beneficiaries ends up where it was intended.  It is extremely important for estate planning purposes that those who are seeking a will or trust recognize the importance and impact of terms of art such as survivorship periods.

Other provisions to consider are common disaster clauses, tax apportionment clauses, as well as executor/guardian and trustee appointment provisions.  To discuss any of these concepts or determine which may be right for your estate plan, contact Dimond Law Office.