The Team You Can Trust to Secure Your Legacy

Frequently Asked Questions 

Estate planning can often seem overwhelming and confusing. To add some clarity to the process, our attorneys have compiled a list of our FAQs about estate planning in the space below. If you have further inquiries, do not hesitate to contact our office, and we will happily answer your questions.

Estate Planning and Trusts

Probate is the court and process that looks after people who cannot make their own personal, health care and financial decisions. These people fall into three general categories: Minor Children (under age 18 in most states); Incapacitated Adults; and People who have died without legal arrangements to avoid probate. Probate proceedings can be expensive and time-consuming. Additionally, the court proceeding and associated documents are all a matter of public record. Many people choose to avoid probate in order to save money, spare their heirs a legal hassle, and keep their personal affairs private.

This is the most common form of asset ownership between spouses. Joint tenancy (or TBE) has the advantage of avoiding probate at the death of the first spouse. However, the surviving spouse should not add the names of other relatives to their assets. Doing so may subject their assets to loss through the debts, bankruptcies, divorces and/or lawsuits of any additional joint tenants. Joint tenancy planning also may result in unnecessary death taxes on the estate of a married couple.

The document a person signs to provide for the orderly disposition of assets after death. Wills do not avoid probate. Wills have no legal authority until the willmaker dies and the original will is delivered to the Probate Court. Still, everyone with minor children needs a will. It is the only way to appoint the new “parent” of an orphaned child. Special testamentary trust provisions in a will can provide for the management and distribution of assets for your heirs. Additionally, assets can be arranged and coordinated with provisions of the testamentary trusts to avoid death taxes.

Sometimes called an Advance Medical Directive, a living will allows you to state your wishes in advance regarding what types of medical life support measures you prefer to have, or have withheld/withdrawn if you are in a terminal condition (without reasonable hope of recovery) and cannot express your wishes yourself. Oftentimes a living will is executed along with a Durable Power of Attorney for Health care, which gives someone legal authority to make your health care decisions when you are unable to do so yourself.

If you die without even a Will (intestate), the legislature of your state has already determined who will inherit your assets and when they will inherit them. You may not agree with their plan, but roughly 70 percent of Americans currently use it.

You may avoid probate on the transfer of some assets at your death through the use of beneficiary designations. Laws regarding what assets may be transferred without probate (non-probate transfer laws) vary from state to state. Some common examples include life insurance death benefits and bank accounts.

These allow you to appoint someone you know and trust to make your personal health care and financial decisions even when you cannot. If you are incapacitated without these legal documents, then you and your family will be involved in a probate proceeding known as a guardianship and conservatorship. This is the court proceeding where a judge determines who should make these decisions for you under the ongoing supervision of the court.

This is an agreement with three parties: the Trust-makers, the Trustees (or Trust Managers), and the Trust Beneficiaries. For example, a husband and wife may name themselves all three parties to create their trust, manage all the assets transferred to the trust, and have full use and enjoyment of all the trust assets as beneficiaries. Further “back-up” managers can step in under the terms of the trust to manage the assets should the couple become incapacitated or die. Special provisions in the trust also control the management and distribution of assets to heirs in the event of the trustmaker’s death. With proper planning, the couple also can avoid or eliminate death taxes on their estate. The Revocable Living Trust may allow them to accomplish all this outside of any court proceeding.

Whether you are young or old, rich or poor, married or single, if you own titled assets such as a house and want your loved ones to avoid court interference at your death or incapacity, consider a revocable living trust. A trust allows you to bring all of your assets together under one plan.

Living Trusts

A living trust is an arrangement under which one person, called a trustee, holds legal title to property for another person, called a beneficiary. You can be the trustee of your own living trust, keeping full control over all property held in trust while you are alive and well.

A “living trust” (also called an “inter vivos” trust by lawyers who can’t give up Latin) is simply a trust you create while you’re alive, rather than one that is created at your death under the terms of your will. Living trusts can help you avoid probate, reduce estate taxes, provide asset protection to your heirs, and set up long-term property management.

The big advantage to making a living trust is that property funded through the trust doesn’t have to detour through the probate court before it reaches the people you want to inherit it. In a nutshell, probate is the court-supervised process of paying your debts and distributing your property to the people who inherit it.

The average probate drags on for months (occasionally even years) before the inheritors get anything. And by that time, there’s less for them to get–in many cases, about 5% of the property has been eaten up by lawyer and court fees.

A “living trust” (also called an “inter vivos” trust by lawyers who can’t give up Latin) is simply a trust you create while you’re alive, rather than one that is created at your death under the terms of your will. Living trusts can help you avoid probate, reduce estate taxes, provide asset protection to your heirs, and set up long-term property management.

The grantor or trust maker will not own property in his or her individual name after their assets are funded into the name of the trust. Technically, they will be owned by the trustee for the benefit of the beneficiary – him or herself — or later beneficiaries. Because the grantor doesn’t personally own this property, probate is not required to transfer ownership to other individuals when he dies. All of this can be handled through the estate settlement process of which The Andersen Firm is able to guide and assist the successor trustee(s).

The trust does not die with the grantor or trust maker, but lives on as a separate legal entity.

Through the settlement process, the administrative or successor trustee named in the trust agreement will have the legal authority to step into the trust maker’s shoes after their death and can then take control of bank accounts, investment accounts, and business interests, collect life insurance proceeds, retirement accounts and annuities, pay the trust maker’s final bills, debts and taxes, and distribute the balance of the trust funds to the trust maker’s other beneficiaries named in the trust agreement — all without probate and court involvement.

The average probate drags on for months (occasionally even years) before the inheritors get anything. And by that time, there’s less for them to get–in many cases, about 5% of the property has been eaten up by lawyer and court fees.

A “living trust” (also called an “inter vivos” trust by lawyers who can’t give up Latin) is simply a trust you create while you’re alive, rather than one that is created at your death under the terms of your will. Living trusts can help you avoid probate, reduce estate taxes, provide asset protection to your heirs, and set up long-term property management.

Making a living trust work for you does require some crucial paperwork. For example, if you want to leave your house through the trust, you must sign a new deed showing that your living trust now owns the house. And in a few states, you may need to use special language in your trust document to avoid wrinkles in your state’s income tax laws. This paperwork can be tedious, but the hassles are fewer these days because living trusts have become quite common.

The trust does not die with the grantor or trust maker, but lives on as a separate legal entity.

Through the settlement process, the administrative or successor trustee named in the trust agreement will have the legal authority to step into the trust maker’s shoes after their death and can then take control of bank accounts, investment accounts, and business interests, collect life insurance proceeds, retirement accounts and annuities, pay the trust maker’s final bills, debts and taxes, and distribute the balance of the trust funds to the trust maker’s other beneficiaries named in the trust agreement — all without probate and court involvement.

The average probate drags on for months (occasionally even years) before the inheritors get anything. And by that time, there’s less for them to get–in many cases, about 5% of the property has been eaten up by lawyer and court fees.

A “living trust” (also called an “inter vivos” trust by lawyers who can’t give up Latin) is simply a trust you create while you’re alive, rather than one that is created at your death under the terms of your will. Living trusts can help you avoid probate, reduce estate taxes, provide asset protection to your heirs, and set up long-term property management.

No. A will becomes a matter of public record when it is submitted to a probate court, as do all the other documents associated with probate — inventories of the deceased person’s assets and debts, for example. The terms of a living trust, however, need not be made public.

Holding assets in a revocable trust doesn’t shelter them from creditors during life. A creditor who wins a lawsuit against you can go after the trust property just as if you still owned it in your own name. However, the assets you leave to your beneficiaries can be protected from their creditors if the inheritance is held in trust for their benefit.

Yes, you do — and here’s why: A will is an essential back-up device for property that wasn’t transferred or retitled into your trust. For example, if you acquire property shortly before you die, you may not think to transfer ownership of it to your trust — which means that it won’t pass under the terms of the trust document. Your back-up (or pour-over) will leave any property to your living trust that you did not put into it before your death.

If you don’t have a will, any property that isn’t transferred by your living trust or other probate-avoidance device (such as joint tenancy) will go to your closest relatives in an order determined by state law. These laws may not distribute property in the way you would have chosen.

But any property left outside your trust will still require probate, even if your pour-over will sends the property into your trust at your death. You — not your trust — owned it at the time you died, so probate will be required to transfer the assets to someone or something that is still “living”. Your best option is to make it a point to transfer all newly acquired assets into your revocable living trust immediately.

A living trust can greatly reduce the federal estate tax bill by creating what is commonly called an AB trust, though it goes by many other names, including “credit shelter trust,” “exemption trust,” “marital life estate trust,” and “marital bypass trust.” Each spouse leaves property, in trust, to the other for life, and then to the children. This type of trust can save up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in estate taxes, money that will be passed on to the couple’s final inheritors.

Wills

A will only controls assets that are titled in your name alone. It does not control jointly owned property, life insurance policies, or retirement accounts. A will cannot help if you become mentally disabled. Finally, a will must go through a legal process called probate in which a court proceeding is used to carry out the instructions in a Last Will and Testament. Probate is costly, time consuming, and public.

The probate court follows the state law which decides who gets what.

While planning their estates, same-sex and unwed couples have additional considerations to bear in mind when compared with married couples, and they really need to have several legal documents in place in order to insure that their wishes are carried out. Estate planning is a complex and highly specialized area of law with many potential pitfalls, and understanding and avoiding these mistakes will help to ensure that you and your partner’s wishes are fulfilled. Working with an experienced estate planning firm will help you and your partner achieve your estate planning goals.

LLCs

An LLC must contain income-producing or investment property. This might consist of marketable securities, real property, closely-held businesses, investment accounts, etc. Personal use property should not be transferred into an LLC. Assets placed into an LLC for personal use will taint the LLC as viewed by the IRS and the courts (i.e. homes, jewelry, artwork).

There are a variety of reasons for using an LLC. Some reasons include providing for continuity of family ownership, consolidating ownership, reducing after-death family controversies over property, protecting assets creditors and divorcing spouses, limiting personal liability, avoiding or decreasing probate and estate administration costs, ensuring the transfer of ownership of property to family members while retaining control, reducing estate or gift taxes, simplifying gifting to family members, promoting and facilitating family communication regarding wealth, family investment philosophies and other family values, maintaining a single portfolio while transferring to multiple beneficiaries, etc.

The LLC may indeed pay a management fee. A management fee is not something that would be paid pro rata. It would be paid to the managing members. The LLC should be cautious when paying out management fees however because there is a potential argument that it is an end around actual distributions to the owners. Should the managing members take a management fee equal to the income for the year on an annual basis, it might appear that they never really intended to give the other members an actual asset. This would open the door for the IRS to attack the entity. Therefore, the management fee should be modest, if paid at all. The amount of the fee may vary based on factors such as the income of the LLC and the complexity of running it.

The tax rate on the management fee would be at ordinary income tax rates. In addition, it would be wages subject to FICA and FUTA.

If the LLC consistently pays out a management fee to the managing members and does not make distributions to the membership as a whole, there is a possibility that the IRS may not view it as a legitimate business or argue that no transfer of interest was actually made.

An LLC may make distributions in cash or other types of property (i.e. securities or real property). The owners of the LLC can absolutely take “in kind” asset distributions. However, distributions must be made to all members on a pro rata basis. Otherwise, any non-pro rata distributions would open the entity up to attack by the IRS. The only exception to this is that non-pro rata distributions may be made, but they will subsequently reduce the ownership interest of the member to whom the distribution was made.

There are two schools of thought on the idea of making distribution from the LLC. The first is that a legitimate business takes profits and distributes them to the owners of the business. It may not do this every year or every other year, but on a fairly regular basis when a profit is realized from the business. The second is that pulling money out of the LLC has the effect of decompressing the value of the money, i.e. $100 outside the LLC is worth $100, $100 inside the LLC is only worth $70 and constantly pulling out money for personal costs makes the LLC look less legitimate. If the LLC creators are not in immediate need of a large distribution of money, the former view tends to work better since the IRS may feel that legitimate businesses distribute profits, if there are any. Using this technique, the LLC can make distributions to all members each year to provide them with additional income.

In some situations, if the LLC creators are in need of money, the best course might be to take a large distribution out of the LLC in order to replenish their disposable funds (rather than here and there) and then, with a trimmed down LLC, make a significant gift of membership interest to their beneficiaries.

It is probably easier for the LLC to account if assets are sold within the LLC and cash is distributed. It is imperative that the accountant take into consideration the allocation of capital gains to the contributing members for “built in gains” experienced by assets prior to the formation of the LLC.

In some situations, if the LLC creators are in need of money, the best course might be to take a large distribution out of the LLC in order to replenish their disposable funds (rather than here and there) and then, with a trimmed down LLC, make a significant gift of membership interest to their beneficiaries.

There is no actual or necessary correlation between taxable income and distributions other than the reasonable practice of making a distribution to cover the owner’s income tax liability resulting from the LLC’s activities.

The best way to distribute funds from an LLC will depend on each particular situation. Each situation requires a different approach. Factors, such as the needs and desires of the managing members and non-managing members, must be considered as well as the LLC purpose, the types of assets, and the annual income.

The LLC will be taxed as a partnership, unless it elects to be taxed otherwise. Therefore, the LLC itself will not be subject to federal income tax. As a pass-through tax entity, the income tax to the owners is determined on the entity level and passed through to the owners proportionate to their interest in the LLC. The owner’s share of LLC income will be included in his or her individual income and taxed at his or her individual income tax rate. The LLC must file annual partnership tax returns and provide this information to its members. However, if the LLC pays a wage or salary, it will be subject to the associated employment related taxes.

A distribution is typically a nonevent for income tax consequences since the members have already been taxed on their share of the LLC income.

Income, expenses, credits, and deductions are passed along to the members. This allows income shifting from parents to children, as gifted LLC interests carry with them the responsibility for a proportionate share of the LLC income.

The manager is responsible for investing and managing the LLC assets, deciding whether or not to make distributions and what type of distributions should be made, providing annual income tax information to the members (schedule K-1), filing appropriate documents and statements with the Secretary of State, overseeing transfers of LLC interests, making any necessary amendments to the LLC agreement, and filing income tax returns on behalf of the company.

Although the majority of the LLC value may be gifted out, the manager will still largely maintain general control over the LLC assets and management.

If the intent of the creators of the LLC is to pass ownership interests to the beneficiaries, then they should indeed be gifting membership interests each year. The problem occurs when the LLC creators either do not wish to give up their ownership or they do not wish to distribute any money to their beneficiaries, yet desire to distribute money to themselves. If the LLC creators are focused on avoidance of making distributions to the minority owners of the LLC, we would not recommend additional gifts which would make this issue even more significant. In addition, in order for the gift to be treated as a completed present gift, the beneficiary must be given the right to withdraw the percentage of their capital account associated with that gift. If the creators are concerned that the beneficiary may exercise these withdrawal rights and do not wish to have money taken out of the LLC, we would also recommend holding off on the gifting of additional interests.

In some situations, the best action is to make a large gift of the LLC membership. This would require the proper valuation of the business property, the business itself, and the value of a minority interest. It would also require the payment of some gift tax in any states that have independent gift taxes. Thus, the large gift could result in some gift tax or the use of the gifting members lifetime gift and estate tax exemption but would save the members considerable professional fees for multiple valuations over time.

If there are already other vehicles through which gifts are being made, this should be contemplated before establishing an LLC and before gifting LLC interests. For example, if gifts are being made to an irrevocable life insurance trust to pay life insurance premiums, this will cut into the amount of LLC interests that can be gifted to the beneficiaries of that trust. In the end, there is only so much you can gift away tax free – currently $14,000 whether it is cash or property.

Lack of Marketability Discount (approximately 20%-40%)
Most LLCs are set up for the purpose of maintaining ownership of assets within a family and are therefore structured so that transfer of LLC interests to persons outside the family is restricted or prohibited. In addition, since membership interests are not readily marketable as are typical corporate stocks, they are not easily converted into cash. When compared with publicly-traded stocks (i.e., IBM) or real estate, which are both easily transferable and marketable, LLC interests are much more complicated to transfer and therefore obtain a discount for their lack of marketability.

Minority Interest Discount (approximately 20%-30%)
Since most transferred interests do not carry with them the ability to control the assets or manage the LLC or influence LLC decisions, the value of these interests will be reduced for a lack of control.

Lack of Marketability Discount (approximately 20%-40%)

In many states, a creditor’s sole remedy against a member of the LLC is a charging order against the member’s interest in the LLC, but not its underlying assets. A charging order merely gives the creditor the right to receive distributions that would normally be paid to the member, but not any voting rights. In addition, although the manager does not have to pay out LLC income, an IRS Private Letter Ruling suggests that the creditor will still be responsible for paying any income tax associated with the attached member’s interest and will therefore end up paying tax on phantom income.

Minority Interest Discount (approximately 20%-30%)
Since most transferred interests do not carry with them the ability to control the assets or manage the LLC or influence LLC decisions, the value of these interests will be reduced for a lack of control.

Private Foundations

A private foundation is a separate, not-for-profit entity which can be controlled by a person, a family, or a business. It is considered a charitable giving vehicle that gives you more control over your assets and how they are distributed, moving the control from the IRS back into the donor’s hands.

A private foundation can be set up with as little as $100,000 and no upper limit on the size of the foundation. The donor will pick an IRS approved 501(c)(3) organization, which would include most charitable, educational, religious, scientific, and literary organizations to which the foundation will donate the assets. Each year, the IRS requires the foundation to give away at least 5% of the foundation’s previous year’s average net assets for charitable purposes.

By opening a private foundation you will have more control over the assets than with any other giving vehicle. You can also take an immediate tax deduction even if the funds that you gave to the foundation are not being immediately appropriated. Gifts to a private foundation are tax deductible up to 30% of AGI for cash, and 20% of AGI for appreciated securities with a five-year carry forward.

While it is legal to appoint family members to the foundation, payment from the foundation’s assets require strict adherence to IRS rules and regulations. The IRS has a strict no self-dealing policy. Things that fall into this category include buying from or selling items to the foundation, keeping foundation assets such as paintings or jewelry on private property, or any personal use of the foundation’s assets.

Frequently Used Terms

Frequently Used Terms

Breach of Fiduciary Duty

The personal representative of an estate or the trustee of a trust owes the beneficiaries of the estate or trust certain fiduciary duties of honesty, prudence and loyalty. When those duties are violated by a trustee or personal representative, a cause of action arises.

Build Up Equity Retirement Trust (BERT)

The BERT is a tax sheltered irrevocable trust that is set up by each spouse for the benefit of the other spouse. Gifts are made to the trust annually and, while still accessible, the assets are exempt from gift tax and estate tax. Also, because the trust is irrevocable the assets are protected from creditors and predators. Then upon the spouses death the assets are passed on to intended beneficiaries.

Crummey Power

For gifts to a trust to qualify for the annual exclusion, tax rules require the gift be of a “present interest.” In other words, the gift recipient must be able to access the gifted property. To maintain the desired flexibility of the trust and qualify for the annual exclusion, the trust should include a Crummey withdrawal right, or “Crummey power.” The Crummey power gives a beneficiary the right to withdraw assets you gift to the trust. The beneficiary must have notice of his or her Crummey power and have a reasonable amount of time to exercise the power before it lapses. Once the time period expires, the beneficiary no longer has the ability to withdraw the assets you gift to the trust.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney allows someone else to handle financial matters for assets in your individual name, particularly retirement plans. It is also used to put assets in your trust if you become mentally disabled prior to your trust becoming fully funded.

Elective Share

Some states provide an elective share to surviving spouses, which provides the surviving spouse with a portion of the deceased spouse’s estate according to a statutory formula. Deadlines may be associated to make the elective share.

Estate Litigation

Estate Litigation concerns actions brought in court against a deceased person’s estate. Types of actions include claims and lawsuits.

Funding

Most assets will need to be re-titled into the trust to make the trust effective for disability planning and to avoid probate. Funding a trust is just as important as creating the trust.

Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT)

A GRAT is an irrevocable trust in which the grantor transfers assets into the trust and retains the right to annual payments of a fixed amount of principal and interest for a prescribed number of years at the end of the period the assets go to the beneficiaries in accordance with the grantors intentions.

Health Care Surrogate / Health Care Power of Attorney

This instrument designates a health care surrogate or health care power of attorney if you are incapable of making health care decisions or providing informed consent. It must also account for HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) of 1996 to be effective.

Inheriting Trust

An Inheriting Trust is a special type of dynasty trust that is designed by the inheritor to receive an inheritance. The trust offers greater asset protection and estate tax planning while still giving the inheritor all the rights, benefits and control over the trust property that the individual would have through outright ownership.

Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust (IDGT)

The Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust (also known as a Grantor Deemed Owners Trust) is an irrevocable trust you establish that is excluded from your estate for federal estate tax purposes, yet owned by you for income tax purposes. The sale can be in exchange for a promissory note. Similar to a GRAT, the sale of the promissory note provides gift and estate tax savings if the return on the IDGT exceeds the interest rate on the note.

IRA Inheritance Trust (IRAIT)

Eventually we are all going to pass on to our greater glory. It is how we are remembered by those who loved us and knew us that keep us alive forever. With the IRA Inheritance Trust a check will be coming to your beneficiaries with your name on it for their benefit every quarter. This will be part of your legacy.

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT)

The irrevocable life insurance trust or ILIT is a special type of trust, that holds and is the beneficiary of, a special type of insurance. This insurance inside this trust is guaranteed level premium, guaranteed benefit and can be placed on the life of one spouse or both spouses. The payout from the policy is not estate taxable and is specifically earmarked to pay the estate taxes.

Limited Liability Companies (LLC)

An LLC is a business entity formed under the laws of specific states and is commonly used for estate compression for tax purposes and asset protection. Shareholders or “Members” of the LLC cannot be personally liable for the debts of the LLC. Also, the assets that are owned by the LLC can be “compressed” and used for wealth transfer.

Lack of Capacity

Under the law, a testator is required to have mental competency to make a Last Will and Testament or trust and to understand the nature of his or her estate assets and the people to whom the estate assets are going to be distributed. A will or trust can be declared void if lack of capacity can be proven. Usually, incompetence is established through a prior medical diagnosis of dementia, senility, Alzheimer’s or psychosis.

Lack of Formalities

Proper execution of a Last Will and Testament or trust requires that the will or trust be signed by the testator and witnessed and signed by two unrelated parties. A Last Will and Testament can be contested on the basis that it was not properly drafted, signed, or witnessed in accordance with the law.

Living Will

This instrument directs your physician as to whether or not to cease life-sustaining procedures which would serve only to prolong your death if you are terminally ill. It gives guidelines for your physician to follow, as well as clarifies your intent as to life-sustaining procedures.

Personal Representative (“PR”)

The person responsible for settling an estate.

Pour Over Will

Upon your death, your pour-over will leaves any property to your living trust that you did not put into it before your death. It functions as a safety net to make sure property you neglected to place in your trust can ultimately be managed by your Trustees pursuant to your instructions.

Probate

The official proving of a will.

Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT)

The QPRT allows you to move your primary or secondary residence out of your taxable estate while still allowing you to retain complete possession and use of the residence. After your passing the home is then transferred to your intended beneficiaries. This technique, while effective at reducing your taxable estate, can become complicated if you wish to sell the property in the trust.

Quick Claim Bill of Sale

This instrument places your personal property (e.g. furniture and jewelry) into your trust, thus avoiding the need to probate your personal property. This is also known as an “Assignment of Personal Property”.

Quitclaim Deed

Quitclaim deeds are most often used when transferring property between family members, from an individual to the individual’s trust or to cure a defect on the title. Although they are common, they are generally used when the parties know each other and are willing to accept the risks associated with the lack of buyer protection as a quitclaim deed contains no title covenant and offers the grantee no warranty as to the status of the property.

Revocable Living Trust

The revocable living trust, sometimes simply called a living trust, is a legal entity created to hold ownership of an individual’s assets and acts as a will substitute. This instrument contains in-depth instructions for your care and the management of your assets if you become mentally disabled, and for the care of your loved ones upon your death. Furthermore, it efficiently transfers your property to your beneficiaries at the time of your death and when fully funded avoids probate and allows for the maximum utilization of estate tax exemptions.

Successor Trustee

The person who assumes control of the trust after the initial trustee dies or becomes unable to continue with his or her responsibilities. Once the successor trustee has assumed control, he or she is responsible to ensure that your property is distributed to your beneficiaries according to the trust terms.

Undue Influence

When the testator is compelled or coerced to execute a will or trust as a result of improper pressure exerted on him or her, by a relative, friend, trusted advisor, or health care worker, a cause of action arises. In many cases, the undue influencer will upset a long established estate plan where the bulk of the estate was to pass to the descendants or close relatives of the decedent. In other cases, one child of the decedent will coerce the decedent to write the other children out of the will or trust.