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Legalease, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 16379
Experience:  15 yrs experience: Elder Law, Wills, Social Security Issues
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I am considering setting up a revocable living trust in Vermont

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I am considering setting up a revocable living trust in Vermont with multiple relatives as beneficiaries. Originally, I intended for everyone to receive their share in a lump sum, but I have come to believe that one is in an abusive relationship and wish to protect the money from the spouse.

I not only wish to keep the money from the spouse in event of divorce, but also from being spent on the spouse should they remain married. The spouse has been known to spend excessively, insist on more house than they can afford, etc. My beneficiary is the primary wage earner. I'd like to specify that the trust bypasses the spouse in event of his death and passes to his children. Is this do-able, and if so, will I need two separate trusts?

Hello there


Under VT law and the law all across the US, you have the absolute right to specify who receives your money in any manner that you want to do so. Under these circumstances you would not need a second trust. You simply need to write the trust up with the exact instructions regarding who are the primary beneficiaries and then who are the secondary beneficiaries in the event that the primary beneficiaries are unavailable or pass away before the trust has been distributed. My suggestion here is that you name secondary beneficiaries in ALL of the cases for ALL of the recipients -- that way it will not appear that you have singled out this particular person and in addition to this, you should be sure that you name someone other than the spendthrift parent as the trustee of any monies that the secondary beneficiary children get from the trust if the primary beneficiary is deceased or not available to receive the funds -- if it is your intention to keep the funds from the hands of the spendthrift parent, then you do not want a court appointing him/her as the trustee of any funds that would pass to the children as secondary beneficiaries in this case. I also strongly suggest that you hire an experienced estate / probate attorney in your area to write this trust up for you so that you can put in exactly what you want to do for each beneficiary -- how the money is to be paid out (you can even have different beneficiaries paid out in different manners -- some in a lump sum and others in staggered payments if that is what you desire to do), who inherits in the event of the death of the primary beneficiary and who is the trustee of any funds for any minor secondary beneficiary in the event that the primary passes away before the secondary child beneficiaries reach adulthood -- you want it written properly so that it cannot now and can never be challenged (you should also have it convert to an irrevocable trust in the event of your death and then that way it can not be challenged that the money remaining in the trust is now part of your overall estate).

To find an attorney to write this up for you, you should contact the Vermont bar association -- they have an attorney referral service on line and you can ask for attorneys in your county who handle these trusts and estate issues as a matter of specialty. You can speak with a few of the referred attorneys and then proceed from there to choose an attorney who will set up the manner in which you want this trust administered on paper.


Please let me know if you have any questions.




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