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  • John Stevens

Is Our Trust Sufficient?


It happens every few weeks. Someone or a couple comes to one of my live events and asks me about the trust documents they already have. Most recently, I met with a beautiful and gracious older woman who purchased her estate planning documents through an insurance agent. The documents were prepared by a lawyer, who she only met when the lawyer came to their house to sign the documents. The documents were valid but they contained tax avoidance language that is wholly unnecessary and out of date. The trusts did not contain sufficient language to avoid nursing home poverty, which was her families primary concern. She wanted to know what she could do now that her husband had passed away and the trust was irrevocable?

Decant. As explained by Todd Ganos in this recent Forbes.com article, Tennessee’s law is a national leader in trust law to help people and families stuck with a trust that no longer meets their estate planning needs.

The article explains decanting as follows:

“The term is borrowed from those who consume fine wines. Typically, a fine wine is allowed to “breathe” after its bottle is opened. And, it is common to decant a fine wine from its original container into another container. Decanting of a trust is when the assets of one trust are poured into a new trust. The new trust has terms and provisions that reflect the updates in estate law, tax law, and the family’s situation.”

Folks in this situation attend our live events because they know, deep down, there is something wrong with their documents. If you are in that situation, do not fret. There is help available.


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