What to do if the beneficiary of my life insurance policy is my adult son who is incarerated?

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What to do if the beneficiary of my life insurance policy is my adult son who is incarerated?

If I were to die today or even in the next 8 years, there is no way he could take posession of the proceeds for which he is entitled. Is a testamentry trust a good way to go? I think that then it would be assured that the funds (in total) will be kept for him until he is released and request them without having any problems getting what is rightfully his as a result of my death.

Asked on November 16, 2012 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You could prepare a testamentary trust.  However, I recommend that you consult a lawyer in your area and consider a separate living trust.  These are not that expensive to set up and are very effective and flexible.  A testamentary trust requires a full probate estate -- if your son is incarcerated, who is going to administer that estate?  A full probate is also relatively expensive and time consuming.  In my opinion, you and your son are much better served to create a living trust than to rely on a testamentary trust. 

I also strongly recommend hiring a lawyer to set this up.  It is impossible for me to explain all the choices and consequences to potential clients without knowing all of their circumstances, needs, and wishes.  There are so many choices and nuances that even non-estate lawyers cannot advise you.  A life or estate plan that works seamlessly for you and your loved ones is worth paying attorney's fees.  You or your son will pay much more to clean up mistakes caused by using internet or office supply forms.


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