Boothbay, ME asked in Estate Planning for Maine

Q: Is a Living Trust good for me.

I am single, age 70, no children or partner. I have 1 brother and no close relatives but 1 nephew who I do not want to inherit from me. I own a home and property. I wanted to leave my house and property to charity but if I die before my brother I did want him to benefit from proceeds of the house and then have it go to charity. Could my brother be the beneficiary and have control in a Living Trust ? I have read trusts are expensive and I did not want someone else in control of the trust to cause problems for my brother. With a Will going through probate I am afraid if my brother died before it went through probate or did not have his Will squared away and died... all would go to my nephew and that is my great worry. I need more control of where the house and property goes and do no want to leave things to chance.

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3 Lawyer Answers
Steven Basche
Steven Basche
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Glastonbury, CT

A: A living trust would be a good option. For one thing, a trust is a private document, and is generally harder to challenge than a will. By avoiding probate with a trust, you make it more difficult for your nephew challenge your plan or have money go to him through your brother. Your brother could be the beneficiary and the trustee of the trust, saving the costs of an outside corporate trustee. While you could accomplish most of your goals with a will and testamentary trust (a trust set up by your will), I think the living trust gives you the most control.

Nina Whitehurst agrees with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

Fred Bopp III
Fred Bopp III
Answered
  • Yarmouth, ME
  • Licensed in Maine

A: A living trust could be an important part of an overall strategy to accomplish your goals, but it sounds like you will need other instruments in place as well, because a living trust typically is only effective during the life of the grantor (you), not after death, and you say you would like to control the disposition of at least some of your assets after you die (if you die before your brother). Your situation is complex enough that you should consider contacting an estate-planning attorney admitted to practice in Maine to discuss it further and to learn what your available options are under the circumstances. My partner, Cecilia Guecia, practices in this area and I would be happy to connect you with her if you are interested.

1 user found this answer helpful

Daniel J. Eccher
Daniel J. Eccher
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Winthrop, ME
  • Licensed in Maine

A: Your situation seems to lend itself to a "testamentary trust" - that is, setting up a trust for the benefit of your brother in your will. That way, your estate could benefit him for the rest of his life (if he survives you), and you could say where the remainder goes after he passes away - sort of a "win-win."

You should definitely talk to a lawyer about helping you achieve your estate planning goals, especially because you do not want your nephew to inherit from you (which he likely would if you do not carefully prepare an estate plan).

1 user found this answer helpful

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