Elvis Presley would have turned 85 on January 8, 2020 had he not died that frightful night in the bathroom at age 42. Luckily, for him and his family, he had drafted a will 6 months before his death. Elvis' will is the topic of this week’s blog.
At the time of his death, Elvis was unmarried, had one daughter, and his father and grandmother were alive. Elvis' will made provisions to take care of them along with other relatives. He named his father as his Executor and trustee to manage the property. He put all his assets in a trust to pay for the health, education, support, comfortable maintenance and welfare of his daughter, father and grandmother.
Elvis was altruistic in life and continued into death. He wanted to take care of all his relatives in need. Therefore, Elvis' will made a provision for “other relatives” that his father determines was “in need of emergency assistance.” It was not an open-ended arrangement. Elvis put his daughter, father and grandmother first.
He instructed his father to make no distributions to those “other relatives” if it affected the trust's ability to meet the needs of his daughter, father, and grandmother. Another interesting provision in Elvis' will is that upon the death of his father, there would be no further distributions to the “other relatives.”
The trusts that Elvis' will created were called Spendthrift Trusts. This means that the creditors of the beneficiary of the trust could not seize the assets in the trust before the income was distributed to the beneficiary. Elvis not only wanted to protect the beneficiaries from creditors but protect his daughter from her future husband. The will stated that any female beneficiary would have the sole use of the trust money. The husband would have no control of the trust and it would not be subject to the creditors of her husband.
It is not clear why Elvis chose to put certain age and death restrictions on the trust. His children were not to receive property free of the trust until they had turned 25 years old and both his father and grandmother were deceased. If either his father or grandmother were living at the time his children turned 25 years of age, then the property would remain in trust until both his father and grandmother had died. In this case, it did not matter.
The age restrictions were not applicable. Elvis’ father died 2 years later, and his grandmother died 3 years later. Elvis’ daughter was only 12 years old when her grandmother died. Therefore, his daughter was able to receive the full benefits of the trust when she turned 25 years old. The “other relatives” only benefitted for 2 years after his death because their entitlement ended when Elvis’ father passed away. That is the risk a person takes with conditions in a will.
Elvis’ will is a good example of how it is unnecessary to over complicate your estate plan regardless of how much money you have. If you would like assistance in creating your estate plan, contact the Law Office of Hugh Spires, Jr. PLLC at 210-874-5700 or fill out a contact form on www.TexasWillsLawyer.com.