Scriber Law Group, LLC.

Category: Blog

Why Would Robin Williams’ Widow Start a Fight Now?

When Robin Williams committed suicide six months ago, he left behind three grown children from his first two marriages and a widow of less than three years. Unlike many Americans, Williams actually went out of his way to create a thoroughly detailed estate plan, including several trusts that were crafted to benefit all of them. Even the trust he established for his widow was consistent with the prenuptial agreement the two of them signed before they were married in 2011.   By creating such a thoughtful plan, it's obvious Williams intended to avoid the family fighting that often accompanies probate proceedings,… Read More

How Can Children Access Funds in a Marital Trust?

With portability now a crucial tool in the estate planners' arsenal, a great many have turned away from a traditional approach to estate planning, in which the estate is divided between a marital and bypass trust.  If the entire unused estate tax credit will continue to be available at the death of the surviving spouse, there is less need to use the bypass trust at all, because everything can go to the surviving spouse via a marital trust. Unfortunately, other questions arise, such as, what if the children need to use funds that are tied up in the trust while… Read More

How Can an Irrevocable Trust Become Revocable?

The first quarter of any year is a great time to undertake a thorough review of your estate plan. At the very least, everyone with an estate plan should undertake a review every few years, since some key aspects of your plan may no longer be relevant to your family's needs. One great example of this comes with irrevocable trusts, or even revocable trusts, which can often become irrevocable after the person passes. The main purpose of an irrevocable trust is to keep certain assets away from taxable estates. However, as people age and their family transforms and changes, an irrevocable… Read More

Estate Planning for the Non-Traditional Family

It's 2015, and let's face it; the idea of the "traditional family" has become very dated. Unfortunately, when it comes to putting together an estate plan, the laws still favor the "traditional family" as it existed back in the 1950s. If you have that, great; your plan will probably be easier to set up. But if it's not, there may be a lot more to think about. If your family structure is non-traditional, you may derive comfort from numbers; you are in no way alone. In the United States, the number of households headed by married couples has been falling for years… Read More

Current Law Leaves Online Lives in Limbo After Death

If you are typical these days, a significant portion of your identity is probably located online. If you have social media accounts like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, then you likely interact with family and friends that way. You may even have a lot of photos of family on social media, including some you may not keep anywhere else. Increasingy, people are buying music and videos online and storing them there.    Let's face it. Even if you don’t spend a lot of time online, there is a good chance a significant portion of your life and assets there. But what… Read More

The Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes

When discussing common estate planning mistakes, the first one you have to deal with is the elephant in the room; the most common mistake people are prone to make with regard to estate planning, and that is the failure to even create one. Create an Estate Plan This is the biggest mistake anyone can make and, unfortunately a majority of people will make this one. Why is this the case, given that the one certainty about our lives is that someday we're going to die? Reasons are varied, of course; as individual as each person. Some people feel intimidated by… Read More

Trust Funds are not Just for the Rich

Many people see the term "trust fund," and immediately think of irresponsible rich kids yachting around the Caymans and wasting their parents' money. However, there is a lot more to trust funds than meets the eye. In fact, for a great many people in a wide variety of income brackets, a trust fund can be an excellent tool for their estate plan. That's because a trust isn't a bad thing. It's an efficient way of transferring assets to someone else, and it's often a preferred method for people with children, especially those who are still minors or if they have a… Read More

What is a Sweetheart Trust?

As you and your estate planning attorney are discussing the wide variety of options available to you, he will most likely discuss a variety of revocable living trusts. If you are married, one he is likely to mention is a structure known as a “Sweetheart Trust.” Here's an explanation of that concept.   First of all, the Sweetheart Trust grants a significant level of control and discretion to the surviving spouse when the other spouse passes away. While both spouses are alive and competent, either one of them is able to revoke their share of the trust. Also, at any time,… Read More

Celebrity Estates Offer Cautionary Tales

There is little doubt that setting up an estate plan is a potentially arduous process, especially if you are a person of means, and there is a significant amount of money and property in your estate.  You not only have to discuss difficult subjects with your estates and trusts lawyer and let them know who you want to have what, but you'll also have to make sure all bases are covered, so as to avoid complications after you're gone. It's actually quite easy to foul up an estate plan. Even very high profile celebrities with a ton of money have managed… Read More

Single People and Estate Planning

Quite often, single people are under the impression that they don't need an estate plan, especially if they have no apparent heirs, such as children. However, single people with assets not only should develop an estate plan, but they should keep up with it over the years. A solid plan is the only way you get to decide where your assets go when you pass away. If you don't have a plan, the state gets to decide that. What if you have a favorite charity that you'd like to support; would it be better for the state to send your… Read More