Life Estate Trusts

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The Scales of Justice

The appointment with the lawyer I saw this morning didn’t turn out to be all bad. Extremely stressful and beyond triggering the feelings of being stuck and powerless, but I was given a referral which may prove to be helpful. He gave me information about a non-profit referral agency for Probate attorneys who work in agreement with the referral agency to charge specific rates based on income. THANK YOU UNIVERSE!!! I’ve been trying to locate a lawyer who does this through any means possible.

Daddy & i both had a massive meltdown from the extended stress. I gave in and cried, screamed and broke a few things which was immensely therapeutic!! There comes a point in which releasing the stress is imperative in being able to move forward and get things done.

I made the call to the referral agency. It’s in the works!!! The rate we qualify for is approximately 10% of what every attorney we’ve spoken to charges. It brings it into the realm of possible and manageable.

Why don’t they make services like this easier to locate? Seriously?!! It’s frustrating that it’s taken me 6 months of struggling to find out how to get a lawyer I can afford. Remember my post yesterday about what makes me really angry? THIS!!

I’m the beneficiary of a Life Estate Trust. What does this mean? Ohhh… let me explain. A Life Estate Trust provides the beneficiary the right to live in the home for the remainder of their life. So, my mom put her home in said trust giving me the right and all of the financial responsibilities for the home. I can sell and relocate at my desire. I pay all the taxes, insurance, up keep, maintenance, etc. The home is for all intents and purposes mine. When I die (yes, I know… grim thought) the home in the trust will be sold and the proceeds split among my 3 older brothers or their children if I out live them.

I’ve been the beneficiary of this trust since 2014. I’ve experienced just about every issue which can come up with home ownership, buying & selling, and trust administration. I can tell you that this is a HORRIBLE choice for providing for your loved one. I’ve had more than one lawyer over the years tell me they would NEVER recommend a life estate trust to their clients unless they have a severely disabled family member with the need to care and provide for them along with the money required to handle the care of the home and the trust administration costs for the remainder of that person’s life. It can be serious financial burden on the beneficiary otherwise, not to mention having limited control over your home.

To be honest, I hate the trust and how it was written. I wasn’t involved in the decisions regarding the trust and my status as beneficiary. My rights and responsibilities weren’t explained to me prior to drawing up the trust. I had no option of refusing to be the beneficiary or discuss other options. It was sprung on me upon my mother’s death. This is an incredibly irresponsible way to handle probate issues which impact the life of another in such a major way.

In the case of my family, this type of trust has caused a lot of pain to us kids, torn family ties beyond repair, created massive financial hardship for me, legal issues along with more stress and frustration than one person should have. Whatever good intent my mom had was lost in creating this trust without really looking into all of the implications of her choice.

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