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F*R*I*E*N*D*S without Benefits

By Attorney Nathan Begley


Actor Matthew Perry, famous for playing the sarcastic Chandler Bing on the 90's sitcom F*R*I*E*N*D*S passed away recently, leaving his estate to a trust as well as family and friends. What many people have found notable is not who Matthew Perry bequeathed to, but who he excluded. While Mr. Perry had no children to his knowledge; he specifically excluded any theoretical children who might be discovered to be his offspring in the future.

To the uninformed reader, this purposeful exclusion may seem an unnecessary cruelty, a cheap shot from beyond the grave at an unacknowledged child. However, this is just the sort of preventative language that a good estate plan will feature. A well-crafted trust will have special clauses that will prevent future beneficiaries from taking out loans against their inheritance, give instructions about how to pay death taxes, and ensure that final bills are paid in the correct order of priority.

In some ways, estate planning is a lot like bowling, you set things up as well as you can, aim towards the goal, and once you've let go of the ball, all you can do is hope that the efforts you put in will come to fruition.

Now, I can't guarantee a strike every time, but if I install some bumpers to act as guard rails, I can prevent a gutter ball. In similar fashion, I cannot guarantee your heirs will follow your wishes perfectly, but a good estate plan can help you put them into a position to avoid disaster. A well-designed estate plan will avoid probate where possible and get out in front of possible challenges, both likely and unlikely. 

An estate plan may seem unnecessarily complicated, but it’s not nearly as complicated as having an insufficient estate plan that will leave your children open to fighting and your legacy vulnerable to creditors and the government.

Call an estate planning attorney today to discuss how to protect your Family, Dignity, and Legacy.



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