Senior woman gardening

Dear Abby column advises setting up trust but is that really good advice under the circumstances?

A Dear Abby column was recently published in the Chicago Sun Times on setting up a trust in “Dear Abby: He wants a night when wife dresses sexy.” But is that advice really the right way to go?

The columnist advises a woman to tell her mother to get a trust illustrates why some types of advice are better left to lawyers.

A woman wrote in to say that her mother has given her older brother an allowance for many years. The brother lives in another country because he is a fugitive from the law with outstanding warrants. The mother fears that without the money the brother will become homeless and not able to support himself. Because of this the mother expects the daughter to continue giving money to her brother after the mother passes away.

Abby suggests that the woman tell her mother to set up a trust for the brother so that he will be taken care of and it will not be the letter writer’s problem.

At first glance, that advice might seem reasonable. A trust would be a great way for a mother to provide for a son who needs money but is not able to take care of himself.

Under ordinary circumstances, a trust lawyer would be happy to set up this type of trust. However, this is not an ordinary circumstance. Since the brother is a fugitive, anyone who knowingly helps him could face legal consequences.

Perhaps the best advice the columnist could give would be for the woman to meet with an attorney on the issue.

Reference: Chicago Sun Times (Sept. 12, 2016) “Dear Abby: He wants a night when wife dresses sexy.”

For more information on living trusts and estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.