This afternoon I will watch El Dorado Musical Theater’s (EDMT’s) wonderful production of A Christmas Carol for the sixth time. Yes, my daughter is in the show. It is a fantastic performance based on the Charles Dickens story. It brings to mind what may be Dickens best novel, Bleak House, about years and years of litigation over a will.
Two of my lawyer friends are probate and trust litigators. They help family members protect their inheritance from what are at best greedy or at worst intentionally fraudulent executors or trustees.
How smoothly everything goes when an updated estate plan is in place. We do a lot of trust administrations, and by far the majority of them are done effectively without the need for court intervention and the costs and anxiety that go with litigation,
These trust administrations go smoothly because the parents named responsible people to serve as the role players in their living trust, will, durable power of attorney, advance health care directive and HIPAA, and they funded their living trust so their assets were owned by the trust and not subject to probate. And, they kept their estate planning documents up to date by reviewing them with their attorney every few years.
By the way, what goes unreported in A Christmas Carol is that after Scrooge’s change of heart following his experience with the ghost of Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, he worked with his estate planning attorney and executed an estate plan naming his nephew Fred as trustee and executor and leaving his fortune to Fred and the Cratchit family. And he kept his estate plan up to date until the day he died.