In March, many New York college basketball fans were excited to hear about a revocable living trust in which provisions were made for 180 former players. The trust's grantor was a former coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his action was reportedly a private salute to the many players he had interacted with over the years. Following his death, several of the players shared the event in various public Internet forums.
According to one investment adviser, however, the coach's strategy may not be appropriate for all grantors. Although a revocable living trust provides the grantor with some flexibility, such as the right to nullify the trust relatively easily, investment consultants claimed that will structures also had advantages that were worth considering. Most of these advisers recommended the use of some form of will in conjunction with any kind of revocable trust.
One investment management principal noted that revocable trusts may not be appropriate for certain types of assets and suggested the use of a pour-over will to disburse such properties. He also said effective trusts require ongoing administration and accompanying fees that might make wills more financially prudent. Some trusts require more effort to enact and maintain, and one law firm partner observed that a significant number of grantors fail to account for everything they owned prior to their deaths.
Revocable trusts, wills and other estate planning documents differ, and their nuances can greatly impact the eventual administration of an estate. Grantors who do not understand the variances may find it harder to transfer property effectively should multiple parties make claims on the same assets. Talking to a legal adviser could potentially clear up misconceptions about the best way to create an effective and comprehensive estate plan.