I’ve noticed an alarming trend in the way revocable trusts are drafted. I’d bet you 50 cents that more than 90% of revocable trusts allow distributions based on the four “standards” accepted by the IRS — health, education, maintenance, and support (aka the “HEMS” standards). Lately, I’ve seen a lot of revocable trusts that don’t […]

Yes, you CAN name your brother as trustee of the irrevocable trust you created for your kids. Next month marks 26 years of my being an estate planning lawyer. One of the statements I’ve heard repeatedly is that when you create an irrevocable gift trust, you *must* name an independent trustee. That’s just wrong, and […]

When you boil it down, an incentive trust encourages certain types of beneficiary conduct and discourages others. How? When the trustee likes what a beneficiary is doing, they’ll give bigger distributions. They’ll reduce or hold back distributions when they don’t like what they see. Bribery is the word that comes to my mind. One colleague […]