Though it isn’t exactly easy to think about where all your worldly possessions will end up after your death, Santa Monica-based attorney Jeffrey L. Condon urges clients not to put off the necessary evil of getting their affairs in order. Head of the Arizona Avenue firm Condon & Condon, where he has practiced for twenty years, following in the footsteps of his late father, Gerald M. Condon, Jeffrey is also an author whose latest book details the ins and outs of setting up a living trust. The book, The Living Trust Advisor, hit the shelves in October.
It’s hard to believe how easy it is to get through the book, seeing as though the subject matter is fairly dry. The high readability factor has everything to do with Condon’s sense of humor and colloquial narrative style. He’s not interested in wowing you with his lawyerly smarts, aiming instead to educate you.
The structure of the book follows that of a football game, with a pregame warm-up, four quarters, and a postgame review. Football metaphors are peppered throughout, giving the everyman reader a practical metaphor on which to hang his mental hat.
In terms of content, the fundamental purpose of the book is to let people know that a living trust is a definite must. For those who don’t know, Condon explains that a living trust is “the primary tool in the United States for the transfer of your assets after the deaths of both you and your spouse to your children, grandchildren, or other heirs.” Then he goes on to explain in detail why a living trust is superior to a will. He explains the nasty inevitability of inheritance items being held up in probate if a living trust does not exist. He also helps readers figure out who should be in charge of the living trust, providing worst-case scenarios he has witnessed in his two decades of working with hundreds of people to set up living trusts. Unreliable offspring, the ramifications of leaving real estate out of the living trust, and the difficult task of assigning of a lifetime agent are all issues that Condon tackles in the book with humor and an enormous amount of sensitivity to the emotional fallout of death. He delves deeply in some sections, particularly when talking about his mother’s devastation at the death of his father, driving home the point that though death can be crippling to loved ones, survivors do a service to the deceased if they don’t become paralyzed by grief.
Condon admits to having a favorite part of the book, the About the Author section in which he recounts his 10-year-old daughter’s exact words when asked to describe her father’s activities when he’s not in the office. It reads, in part”
“My dad really likes trying to be funny, but he’s not. He is bald and the only hair he has is gray.”
The humorous tone in this snippet is what makes The Living Trust Advisor such a fun read throughout. But be assured that Condon is no joke – he has practiced in the field of trusts and estates since 1987, and his first book, Beyond the Grave: The Right Way and the Wrong Way of Leaving Money to Your Children (and Others), which he co-wrote with his father, was called the best estate planning book in America by the Wall Street Journal.
The Living Trust Advisor can be purchased at www.amazon.com and major bookstores. For more information about Condon, visit condonandcondon.net.