Dearest Readers, 

Love is a many splendored thing. It warms our hearts and makes us happy. Love puts us in a good mood and makes us apt to showering the object of our affections with gifts and poetry. People in love make grand declarations of devotion, promising to protect and cherish, always, those whose hearts have stolen their own. Valentine's Day is one such occasion meant for those in love to bestow upon each other lavish gifts and poems of passion. At the thought of romance, perhaps images of roses and chocolates are conjured in your head, but what if there was a way to not only declare a lifetime of loyalty, but to actually take action, ensuring your dear heart is forever taken care of? 

Many wedding vows speak to a love eternal, lasting up to and after death, and one way to present your spouse with physical proof of such a vow is in leaving them with an inheritance once you've passed on. Like the two sides of an enamored heart, two options in doing so are Outright Distributions and Irrevocable Trusts. Outright distribution leaves all your assets outright, to your surviving spouse. It's simple and easy, however there are a few downfalls to this method. Your assets can be used to cover claims against your spouse from lawsuits and bankruptcies, and though their heart will always go on, there is the possibility they remarry and then die, leaving behind new hubs or wifey, who may have a claim against your assets. In another situation, your surviving spouse could make everything joint with their new partner, which would disinherit all beneficiaries. 

The second method in leaving your dear heart something after you've gone on, is a plan called an Irrevocable Trust. T his one is not as common, but has the potential to be a more favorable after - life plan. Anyone can use this plan, you do not need a taxable estate, after all, love impacts the Prince and the Pauper, does it not? Basically, your hubby or wife is left with a n income to cover health, education and maintenance for the rest of their life. You can avoid probate with this plan, and they can be structured to minimize and defer estate taxes. You can also add in a provision that keeps your children from being disinhe rited. The assets are also protected from lawsuits and bankruptcies as well as creditors. Furthermore, this plan even protects your assets from remarriage and the threat of future divorce and death claims by a new spouse. With this plan you have also the p ower to stop any inheritance distributions to your surviving spouse if they do remarry, UNLESS the treacherous lout's new spouse signs a prenuptial agreement. All is fair in love and war. 

This Valentine's Day, and the whole month of February, we ask that you give your thoughts and considerations to what you will leave your darling sweetheart when death does part you. It is an incredibly considerate and loving gift to safeguard and protect your spouse succeeding your passing. You can honor the oaths you took at the altar in the most literal way by planning for your spouse's life after your own. If you would like to discuss any of your options in estate planning, or have any questions at all, regarding any kind of afterlife planning please call us here at Layman D'Atri and Associates, LLC at 330 - 493 - 8833. We aren't the florist, or the chocolate shop, we don't sell teddy bears or heart-shaped balloons, however we offer something much more profound and we can help you present your loved ones today with the gift of a lifetime, one that lasts beyond a lifetime, in fact. Happy Valentine's Day from us to you. 


All of us here at Layman D'Atri and Associates, LLC