Jeff Fouts: “Estate planning attorney Jeff Fouts here. In the past, I’ve told people that 65 percent of all people die without an estate plan. That is a very real number. Scary, but if 65 percent (about two thirds) of all people die without an estate plan, that must mean that 35 percent (about one third) die with an estate plan.
That is correct. That might sound good and encouraging. You may be in the 35 percent that has an estate plan. You could say, “Honey, we’ve got our estate plan done. We can mark this “To-Do” off of our to-do list. We’ve got it stored safely in the cabinet in the basement. We’ve done it.”
Well, perhaps not so quick, because almost all the estate plans that I see (and I’ve reviewed hundreds and hundreds, probably thousands) fall into basically two groups. What are those two groups?
There’s a group of estate plans that are very, very simple. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not trying to knock an estate plan being simple. Simple can be a very good thing – if it’s appropriate. Buta simple estate plan usually has no protection, so you must understand that you’re paying a price for that simplicity.
Then on the other hand there are the estate plans that are overly complicated. Maybe inside your’estate plan you have what is called an A-B Trust, or maybe a Credit Shelter Trust, a By-Pass trust, a marital trust, or a family trust.
It may look like you have something that’s very well done, but here’s the issue. Sometimes those plans have glitches in them, that when the first spouse dies, and the second spouse is now going to have to live under that estate plan as it were, there are going to be things that hinder and harm that surviving spouse, normally the wife, that no one has ever thought of.
I would strongly encourage you to get your estate plan looked at, that there’s no such thing as a cookie cutter estate plan being good for everyone. Have a good day.”