I will begin syndicating the responses I give to certain estate and probate questions posted on the advice website Avvo.
We begin with a question regarding estate planning. I'll place the question here and then my answer after the "read more" break.
What is the process we need take on adding me to his deed, or doing a trust?
My dad has property in Ga., and it only has his name on it. At this time he has no will. He's 73 yrs old. We are wanting to put my name on the deed and he is wanting to do a trust will. If he does that type of will does he need to put my name on the deed? My mom is deceased. And there are three other kids besides me. I'm the one that writes out bills and does his banking for him. Basically looks after my dad.
The Georgia Supreme Court recently handed down the case of Smith v. Ashford (full text below the break), in which it dealt with a testator's use of a "power of appointment."
What is a power of appointment?
In estate-planning parlance, a power of appointment is used when a benefit is given, together with a right (a "power," as it were) to decide who gets that benefit when the initial beneficiary dies. The possessor of that right has a "power of appointment."
In a common example, parents may leave their wealth in trust to a child, together with an unlimited power of appointment. The child draws benefits pursuant the trust during his lifetime and has the power to decide, in his own will, who will inherit his share of the trust when he dies.
Drafters of trusts governing large estates like to use powers of appointment when they trust the beneficiary (often their child) to decide who most deserves to receive the benefit of the trust years or decades into the future.
In Smith v. Ashford the Supreme Court interpreted a will in which the holder of a power of appointment sought to give the power itself to his wife. Without holding on the question of whether you can inherit a power of appointment itself (you can), the Court said that it didn't matter - the original power of appointment stated that it had to be exercised before its holder died. Since it was not so exercised, the power lapsed.
Tanner Pittman, LLC is a West Georgia law firm that specializes in estate services, civil litigation, and legal transactions.
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