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 allow distributions for the surviving spouse’s education. I can’t figure that out.
You need to plan for what you will do during the first couple of years of retirement to ease away from a career’s worth of hustle and bustle. One of the first things I’ll do when I retire from practicing law is get my master’s degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis.
Education *is* my plan, and that’s true for many others.
Just last week, I talked with someone whose mother got her GED, a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s degree after she turned 60.
It’s not just formal education. I can’t begin to count the times I’ve seen surviving spouses busy themselves by taking painting, ceramics, cooking, or gardening classes. One of my clients took up rock climbing at age 65.
And what about the educational experiences of traveling?
Why the trend of removing education? Are there real reasons for telling the surviving spouse, “Nope, sorry — you missed your chance for education, and the trust isn’t going to help you on that front?”
I’m legitimately curious about this and welcome your thoughts and comments on the topic.