Written on April 11, 2013 – 5:00 am | by Jasmine Sweatman
On April 4, 2013, the Halton County Law Association held their annual Estates & Family Law Seminar. As well as providing a great refresher and update, the seminar serves as a great reminder about how closely related the work of the two bars is; and how important it is for family lawyers to keep abreast of changes in the estates realm and vice versa. We have blogged about this before, but it bears repeating.
One common area of overlap between family law and estate planning areas that still leads to discussion between the bars is the issue of insurance put in place to secure support payments. These clauses often come up in our planning practice. They are often not drafted as clearly as they could be, which can have an unintended negative effect on the client’s estate plan.
By the time we are discussing insurance declarations with a client and we learn he or she has agreed to be bound to a less than flexible arrangement (usually required to create a directionless trust), it is often too late to fix. We have also found that when clients turn their minds to the intent of life insurance clauses in their separation agreements, it makes it possible to draft insurance declarations that meet the actual goals and expectations of the clients. The seminar was helpful in including a discussion of sample language that separating couples (and family lawyers) should consider when they determine that support payments are to be secured by life insurance and reminding the attendees of the importance of giving this area more attention.
Lesson Learned: Family and Estates bars are very closely interwoven in many respects, and it is important for both bars to remember this and to keep abreast of developments that affect both practice areas.
Until next time,