Creative Will Provisions: Protecting House Plants

Most individuals draft a will to protect their children, create a mechanism to transfer assets or make charitable contributions. I recently came across a news story in which a woman included specific provisions in her will for her 42-year old house plant. The Pittsburgh woman realized that her beloved philodendron would outlive her and she needed to ensure it was provided for. Thus Ms. Scoratow included a provision in her will which granted a friend $5,000.00 to use in caring for her plant. Unfortunately, while Ms. Scoratow owns many plants, this was the only plant she provided for, stating: “I don’t have the same love with them. I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t want to be cold or anything.”

While I have reviewed pet trusts and other provisions to provide for loved ones, this is a first regarding the care of house plants. This story illustrates the creative power of estate planning and how individuals and attorneys can establish innovative means for carrying out a client’s wishes.

I wish you all the best,

Josh Robbins

Of Counsel

Scafidi, Juliano & Hurd, LLP

310 Washington Street, Suite 201

Wellesley, Massachusetts 02481

(T): 781-210-4710

(F): 781-210-4711

(E): jrobbins@sjh-law.com

Disclaimer:

This Blog/Website is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice (or any legal advice).  This blog is for general informational purposes only. Joshua N. Robbins, Esq. does not offer or dispense legal advise through this blog or by emails to or from this site. By using this Blog / Website you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Website publisher.  The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state or jurisdiction. This blog is not published for advertising or solicitation purposes. Regardless, the hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon a Blog / Website. The information on the blog may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. While the blog is revised on a regular basis, it may not reflect the most current legal developments. The opinions expressed at or through the blog are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in Circular 230, we inform you that any tax advice contained on this site (including any links provided) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.

Co-Signing a Loan: Unintended Estate Planning Consequences

Every year thousands of students take out loans to fund their education. Since most students have very little credit history, they often will have a parent (or sometimes grandparent) co-sign their loan. Students and parents often sign for such loans without full understanding of potential consequences.

Within these loan agreements are often a provision that can cause a family considerable harm: if the co-signer dies or files for bankruptcy, the loan holder can demand complete repayment. Thus, if a grandparent c0-signs a loan with a student and passes away, the student may be compelled to make complete and immediate repayment. If the student fails to do so, then the loan will go into default and negatively impact the student’s credit record. This is a serious concern especially when student and relative have co-signed for a loan of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars.

The converse of this situation can be equally as problematic: if the student dies, the co-signer may be obligated for the full amount of the loan and compelled to make immediate repayment. In 2010, the Wall Street Journal published an article, “When Student Loans Live On After Death” which highlights how this problem can devastate a family.

Either of these scenarios can have disastrous effects on a co-signers, estate plan either by transferring an immediate amount of debt to a student or creating a large debt that can derail retirement plans.

One solution is that students can protect themselves and co-signers by releasing the co-signer from the loan after the student has obtained several years of earning and built up positive credit history. The main point is to THINK BEFORE YOU CO-SIGN.

I wish you all the best,

Josh Robbins

Of Counsel

Scafidi, Juliano & Hurd, LLP

310 Washington Street, Suite 201

Wellesley, Massachusetts 02481

(T): 781-210-4710

(F): 781-210-4711

(E): jrobbins@sjh-law.com

Disclaimer:

This Blog/Website is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice (or any legal advice).  This blog is for general informational purposes only. Joshua N. Robbins, Esq. does not offer or dispense legal advise through this blog or by emails to or from this site. By using this Blog / Website you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Website publisher.  The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state or jurisdiction. This blog is not published for advertising or solicitation purposes. Regardless, the hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon a Blog / Website. The information on the blog may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. While the blog is revised on a regular basis, it may not reflect the most current legal developments. The opinions expressed at or through the blog are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in Circular 230, we inform you that any tax advice contained on this site (including any links provided) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.