The Pink Flamingo Story

One of the major advantages of a Revocable Living Trust is the ability to replace the Grantor/Trustee, should they become incapacitated, without the necessity of going to court.

The pink flamingo story goes as follows:

One day Suzy Spouse comes home to find her husband, Sam Spouse, has just planted 200 pink plastic flamingos on the front lawn of their home. He has a watering can in his hand and is watering the 200 pink plastic flamingos in hopes that they will sprout little flamingos. Needless to say, Suzy Spouse is beside herself. Sam Spouse is spending thousands of dollars from their checking account in order to buy more and more plastics flamingos. Suzy Spouse immediately contacts both her family physician and family attorney. She is then informed that since her assets are not in a Living Trust with an "incapacity provision" built in, she will need to take her husband to court with the assistance of the family physician, and most likely, a psychiatrist to have him declared "incompetent". When Suzy Spouse, Sam Spouse, the family physician, the family attorney and the psychiatrist arrive in front of the judge, the judge looks at them and says, "I live in Berwyn and I like pink flamingos on my front lawn." Needless to say, the trial goes on for a very lengthy period of time, until they have convinced the judge that Sam Spouse is not acting in a normal fashion and is "incapacitated". Besides the hardship to the family, several thousand dollars in doctorsí and legal fees will be spent.

All of this could have been avoided, if there was a Revocable Living Trust, which in effect had a statement saying, "If a physician familiar with my condition and my spouse, certify in writing that I am no longer able to manage my affairs due to my incapacity, the next Trustee may take over." Also, a safety measure is included, which in effect states that, "If a physician of equal competency, certifies in writing, that I am no longer incapacitated, control of the Trust shall be immediately returned to me."

Thus, a major problem for a family has been overcome, with the use of an appropriately worded Revocable Living Trust. We like to remind our clients to think about the plastic flamingo, as a reminder that they need to complete their estate plan as soon as possible for the good of themselves and their family.

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