Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nancy Lanza Will

No snark, today.  Just advice.

Nancy Lanza, mother of the Newtown shooter, left her entire estate to her sons under the terms of a 1994 will which was executed 15 years prior to her divorce.  The preliminary filings show an estate with $60K liquid funds and presumably the house she resided in.

Several points:

1.  At some point she and her husband should have revised their estate plan to include a trust for the care of their son (and to minimize estate taxes).

2.  Post-divorce, she should have revised her estate plan to remove the ex-husband from her documents and to include a trust for her son.   

3.  After a divorce from a director/VP at GE Energy Financial Services, and receiving $26K/month alimony, there will be substantially more than $59K in assets.  All the more reason to leave the assets in a trust for her son rather than giving it to him directly assuming he would have survived her.  

4.  All parents with children who are unable to manage finances, whether due to young age or a disability, need to have a trust as part of their estate plan. 

5.  Anyone who is recently divorced should revise their documents to remove the former spouse and to ensure that the documents reflect their current wishes.