When explaining a general estate plan or trust to clients, I often use a number of metaphors to help bridge the understanding gap and cut through the complexity of the process.
During a recent appearance on fellow Attorney Robert Monahan’s new Everyday Law TV webseries, I was able to explain the metaphor that generally provides that most clarity.
It goes something like this:
Imagine a bowl of candy: the bowl is the trust and the candy, your assets.
When you put the candy inside of the bowl, it’s called ‘funding the trust’.
A trustee is the person that holds the bowl and can take the candy out of the bowl.
Anyone who is given candy from the bowl is a beneficiary.
When you set up a general estate planning trust you control your bowl can have as much candy as you want.
If something happens to you, then control of the bowl passes to somebody else – who then holds the bowl. And while you’re alive they continue to feed you candy based on your wishes.
When you die, someone else of your choosing then gets to hold the bowl. And there are rules. The rules say: pay your debts and split the rest evenly between your kids.
That’s it. And as Robert and I agreed (in unison as it turns out) on the show, it does sidestep the tiresome and expensive business of probate.
If you’re interested in setting up a trust, please contact us to talk. It will save you headaches and complications when you’re alive and similarly for your loved ones after your death.