Read an Excerpt
What This Book Will Do for Youor
Why Learn the Hard Way When You Can Read This Book?
Some attorneys are in the business of helping you accumulate money and property. I am in the business of transferring your lifetime of accumulations to your children and/or other heirs after you die. In short, what I do is create inheritance plans.
An inheritance plan speaks for you "from the grave." Often it will be in the form of a Will. Sometimes it takes the shape of a Living Trust. It could be as simple as a single written sentence or as complex as a hundred-page instruction manual.
Whatever the form, an inheritance plan boils down to one purpose: It is your instructions as to who inherits your money and property, when they inherit, and on what conditions they inherit.
In my thirty-five years of practice, I have created inheritance plans for hundreds of clients. Of course, my clients, being dead, will never know the outcome of these plans. I, however, serve as their "periscope from the grave." I witness firsthand the impact of my advice and judgment calls on my clients' children, spouses, and other heirs.
As an inheritance-planning lawyer, I have seen a lot of these plans play out over timeboth mine and those of my colleagues. And what have I seen? On most occasions, it is the smooth transition of wealth from client to heir, from spouse to spouse, from parent to child to grandchild. The client dies, the inheritance plan is read, the money and property is distributed, and life goes on.
Many times, however, an inheritance plan "goes sour," leaving bitter family legacies.
I have seen plansunintentionally result in battles between disgruntled and combative heirs. I have watched helplessly as "sound" inheritance advice of years ago inadvertently create chasms between children that may never be bridged. I have read the inheritance instructions of Wills and Living Trusts that seemed well conceived on paper, but in practice left legacies of conflict and chaos.
I have, in essence, learned that there is a right way and a wrong way of leaving money and property to spouses, children, grandchildren, and other heirs. You, however, do not have to learn the hard way. That is why I wrote this book. The stories and examples I describe may point out inheritance conflicts that could arise in your family, with strategies you can implement to avoid them.
Inheritance planning, however, is more than just preventing and resolving inheritance conflicts. It is also recognizing the numerous other inheritance problems that may rear their ugly heads. And as the old saying goes, recognizing a problem is 95 percent of its solution.
When I started in this business, I simply could not fathom the myriad problems and risks that often surface in inheritance situations. After thirty-five years of seeing "what happens" when wealth is transferred to heirs, I believe I have witnessed the entire parade of horribles.
I have seen the surviving spouse who lost the family money to the last caretaker.
I have seen the daughter who lost her inheritance to her husband in a divorce.
I have seen the son whose business creditors "ate up" his entire inheritance.
I have seen the charity that used my client's money to buy Cadillacs for its directors.
I have seen clients' hard-earned money and property end up with their daughters-in-law's second husbands.
I have seen the children who had to give the IRS one-half of their inheritance in death taxes.
I have seen the daughter who magnanimously bestowed her entire inheritance to a cult.
I have seen the son who was supposed to handle his disabled sibling's share of the inheritance but who instead put it in his own pocket and walked away.
In this book, I will open your eyes as mine have been opened. I will show you the many fates that may befall your family. I will bring your attention to problems and issues in inheritance planning that you may not have otherwise considered. I will show you risks your money and property could be subject to once they are in the hands of your children, spouse, or other heirs.
By making you aware of these problems and giving you solutions, you can avoid the traps that so often hurt those whom you sought only to help...