I was fortunate to have been able to observe Robert Meyring provide much needed guidance at the Fulton County Probation Information Center through his volunteer work with Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. His questioning was probative and his counsel was highly effective. Attorney Meyring clearly cares for individuals who face what can be daunting challenges in a wide variety of Probate Court ...

Opportunities, Legacies Lost or Leveraged

Imagine buying something for tens of thousands of dollars - or even hundreds of thousands or more - and then, not even using it. What about spending that kind of money, finally getting the product and then it’s not used as you originally wanted? What if that product is instead delivered to and used by an ex-spouse or ex-brother or sister-in-law, yet the purchase was originally intended for your children? Well, that’s the nature of life insurance – it can be something really good when paid to a spouse or a child’s guardian in times of need, or it can turn out far less than “good” when the insurance monies are received by and consumed by ex-spouses, sibling guardians or unprepared coeds and spendthrifts - instead of being spent on an orphaned child’s education, upbringing, and support.

The deal is that if you have life insurance and you are a parent with children less than 18 years of age - and you do not have a will that directs life insurance money into a “ testamentary trust ” for the support of the children, you are actually paying lots of money for something that will most likely be unused and then neglecting to plan for the possibility of when that money could be used. Generally, about 98% of the time, term life insurance will not pay off - but 100% of the time every lifeline will end. The testamentary trust is a simple, yet complex, planning device by which a parent or benefactor can direct money from an estate or life insurance policy into the hands of a trusted person with instructions to use the trust fund for the support, education, upbringing and financial management of children over the years. The testamentary trusts are individually tailored, with rules determined now that are legally binding on the trustee in the future. That means if an aunt or uncle receives a million dollars of life insurance money as a direct beneficiary for the upbringing of an orphaned nephew or niece, they just received a gift from their dead sibling and do not have a legal obligation to spend it on the orphan. Rather, if the beneficiary designations are changed in conjunction with the planning, drafting and signing of testamentary trusts, then the aunt or uncle as trustee could be in legal trouble if they spent the money on themselves instead of the orphan.
Life insurance is an awesome product, but it can create unintended consequences when combined with apathy, ignorance, or fear of death. Plan properly for what you know will happen and your legacy will help care for your family, especially if your term is shorter than your policy’s.

* Robert S. Meyring, of Meyring Law Firm offers free 10 minute phone evaluations at 678-217-4369. The Meyring Law Firm is located 200 feet east of the railroad crossing on Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta. More information at www.MeyringFirm.com