Probate avoidance is a primary consideration for estate planners and their clients. A revocable trust is usually the vehicle of choice for making nonprobate transfers, but alternatives have always existed for personal property such as cash in the bank, retirement plan benefits, and brokerage accounts. For real property, no such vehicle existed. Until January 1, 2016, that is.
If the trustee of a revocable trust lets the trust’s settlor make an extravagant purchase or risky investment can he or she get into trouble with the trust beneficiaries later? This issue was explored in a recent California case and the court’s answer would allow trustees to approve the settlor’s luxury beach getaway with impunity.