When a friend told me about the sudden death of mutual acquaintance's husband several weeks before, I called the widow to express my condolences.
The woman was distraught, not just because she recently lost the love of her life, but also because she found herself in the midst of a financial battle.
This was a second marriage for both of them. Each spouse had children from a previous marriage, but neither family got along with the other.
The husband had always handled their money, which isn't unusual for a couple in their 70s. They lived very comfortably, traveling between their multiple homes and entertaining their numerous friends, but my friend had no idea how much money they had. She barely knew how to write a check.What good are corporate trustees if attorneys don't work harder to make sure clients use them when they obviously should?
Shortly after the husband's death, his wife was shocked to learn from the family attorney that her husband had appointed his son as executor and trustee.
Aside from a small insurance policy and a survivor's pension, virtually all of the couple's assets will be held in trust, to be distributed to the widow at her stepson's discretion. The stepson had already made it clear that he planned to make life very uncomfortable for her.