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Adopting Out

Adopting Out

August 7, 2012

Authored by: Stephanie Moll and Mary McMath

With special guest blogger, Bryan Cave summer associate, Anne Jump.

When people create Wills and Trusts, they routinely define what constitutes a “descendant” in their estate planning documents for purposes of determining who will inherit their estates. Many include in their definition of descendant any child adopted into the family and that child’s descendants. (For a discussion on issues relating to adult adoption, see our prior post, “Girlfriends Come and Go, but Daughters are Forever: the Case for Adult Adoption”.)

But what happens when a descendant is adopted out of a family? For example, where a trust document has defined descendants to include any person adopted by a descendant, a child adopted out of a family may no longer be considered a descendant. The Supreme Court of Montana came to just such a conclusion in the recent case, In the Matter of the Cecilia Kincaid Gift Trust for

Who Can You Trust?

Who Can You Trust?

October 11, 2011

Authored by: Stephanie Moll and Mary McMath

As Luke Lantta recently wrote in our sister-blog, bryancavefiduciarylitigation.com, “A power of attorney in the wrong hands can be a dangerous thing, undoing years of asset protection and estate planning.  The rise in estate litigation concerning powers of attorney and increased media attention on elder abuse and exploitation have revealed powers of attorney to be potential ‘vehicles for fraud.’  The danger lies in the sweeping power afforded to the agent under a power of attorney.”

A Power of Attorney for financial purposes designates an attorney-in-fact to act on your behalf in all financial, tax, legal, investment, and insurance matters (these powers can be limited as you feel appropriate).  In most states, powers of attorney can become effective (1) upon a certain date; (2) only  if you are declared incapacitated and no longer able to make decisions for yourself relating to your financial matters; or (3) immediately upon execution of the power of attorney.  As the principal under