The 1988 film Rain Man was directed by Barry Levinson and is cited by many people as a favorite film. Rain Man tells the story of Charles Babbitt (Tom Cruise) who finds out that his estranged father has passed away and left all of his large estate and its associated assets to the other son, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), who is an autistic savant. Only after the father passes away does Charles Babbitt learn of Raymond’s existence. Rain Man shines some interesting issues in regards to estate planning and many people have questions about how the movie would play out in real life.
In the real world, Sanford Babbit would likely meet with his estate planning attorney before his death. Sanford would likely inform his lawyer that he has two children at this point. Sanford would also likely tell the lawyer that he had placed his autistic son in a private care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Sanford would also likely express a legitimate concern about Raymond and his desire to make sure that his son can always live at this facility and remain protected.
A knowledgeable attorney would likely recommend that Sanford establish a revocable trust. Following Sanford’s death, the trust would continue for the benefit of Raymond, while also potentially making annual distributions to Charlie. Following Raymond’s death, the trust would then be distributed to Charlie. Sanford would also likely execute a no-content clause stating that if Charlie seeks to argue or place aside the trust or Sanford’s will or disrupt Raymond’s situation, annual distributions to Charlie would be discontinued and the trust is passed from Charlie to the facility when Raymond passes away.