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View Poll Results: Which of these documents do you have in place (choose all that apply)?
Advanced Directive/Living Will & Durable Power of Attorney 43 79.63%
Revocable Trust 22 40.74%
Last Will 52 96.30%
Financial Power of Attorney 35 64.81%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 54. You may not vote on this poll

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Poll:PSA- 4-Documents Everyone Should Have
Old 02-01-2012, 05:01 PM   #1
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Poll:PSA- 4-Documents Everyone Should Have

Though I'm not a Suze Orman fan, I saw a segment on TV that I thought might be a good memory jogger for the 55 and over crowd. The poll is multiple choice, so you can select any or all if you have them.

I have 3 of 4. We don't have a trust set up, but it appears we should, that's what's prompted me to look into it.

This is simply a public service announcement, not trying to get into your business. Ignore the poll & thread if you like. Discussion is fine, debate not necessary?

Will vs. Trust | eHow.com
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:14 PM   #2
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Hey, 4 out of 4, what do I win?
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:20 PM   #3
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Hey, 4 out of 4, what do I win?
An autographed poster of the Grim Reaper...
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:52 PM   #4
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An autographed poster of the Grim Reaper...
...........
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:24 PM   #5
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I don't think I have a financial power of attorney. I take it that is something that lets DW spend/sell my money/stuff if I am incapacitated?
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:28 PM   #6
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None of the above. Time to get busy.
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:29 PM   #7
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Can someone explain what a financial power of attorney document accomplishes that a durable power of attorney document does not? In reading thru my durable POA it appears to give my attorney in fact all possible powers to conduct all of my affairs, including all financial transactions. What am I missing?
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:30 PM   #8
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None of the above. On the other hand, I have no dependents.

Still, a living will might be worth considering.
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:34 PM   #9
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An autographed poster of the Grim Reaper...

Who is that guy?
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:42 PM   #10
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:04 PM   #11
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Suzie seems to be enamored of trusts, where as in Tx for example estate admin is about as easy. Get qualified, and file and inventory and you are done. Of course that does put some stuff on public record but thats about it. Other states may be different, but one should get advice on this from a lawyer/CPA or if possible someone who is both. Yes you do pay a lawyer fee on the estate as well. The executors fee should likley be about the same as the successor trustee fee, either zero if a beneficiary or some if a trust company.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:24 PM   #12
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Three out of four. I don't see that I need a financial power of attorney in addition to a durable power of attorney.

I know I'm not going to give any kind of power of attorney to a lawyer, accountant, financial adviser or anyone else who has only a professional interest in my affairs.
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:44 PM   #13
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Can someone explain what a financial power of attorney document accomplishes that a durable power of attorney document does not? In reading thru my durable POA it appears to give my attorney in fact all possible powers to conduct all of my affairs, including all financial transactions. What am I missing?
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Suzie seems to be enamored of trusts, where as in Tx for example estate admin is about as easy. Get qualified, and file and inventory and you are done. Of course that does put some stuff on public record but thats about it. Other states may be different, but one should get advice on this from a lawyer/CPA or if possible someone who is both. Yes you do pay a lawyer fee on the estate as well. The executors fee should likley be about the same as the successor trustee fee, either zero if a beneficiary or some if a trust company.
Yeah, I've paid some tuition at that school.

A POA can be revoked by the guy who gave it to you. It's just permission to act for them and they can change their mind whenever they want. When they're no longer competent to tell you what they want you to do, then technically the POA has been revoked. Realistically most financial institutions won't question a POA unless they know that the guy who's granted it has been declared incompetent-- or unless the POA is too old (usually more than a year).

A durable POA is supposed to continue when a regular POA won't. The problem may occur when the bank says "Oh, yeah, that's a durable POA, but it's not on our form. Have a nice day!" But that's what happened to my Dad in the 1980s with his Dad's dementia, and that's about as much as I know regarding durable POAs. Maybe they work better these days.

A revocable living trust is run by trustees. If the person who's the trustee can't do their job then the successor (or a co-trustee) steps in. The problem is that these cost a few thousand bucks to set up and it's a bit of a maintenance pain to keep titling assets (accounts, vehicles, real estate) in the name of the trust. The advantage is that if the trustee is no longer competent, the successor just steps up without any other issues. You don't need to do any new paperwork or notaries or special forms for the bank. It's all been done and you have the authority to take control.

When my father began showing dementia symptoms, he didn't want to do any of that stuff because he didn't want to lose his independence or spend a lot of money. Today, knowing what I know now, I would've asked him to execute a POA (and have it notarized) and file it away in his lockbox until he wanted me to use it. When Dad's in the ICU and the surgeon comments on his Alzheimer's symptoms, it's a little tough to find a notary.

So we had to go the conservator/guardian route. It took our lawyer nine months to get there. (Admittedly lawyers don't put a priority on this, and in many states you don't need a lawyer.) Part of the process involved a special psychologist's assessment to prove that my Dad was no longer competent: $3670 at $275/hour.

The other $11K was just legal bills at roughly $250/hour (some of it done by paralegals for "less"). We don't have them all-- that's just what we've paid so far. I'm pretty sure the rest of the December invoice will only be about $2K.

Suddenly that revocable living trust doesn't seem like such an expensive hassle.

I suspect that most families start with joint accounts (for example, husband & wife). Later they hand the logins & passwords to a trusted adult child, and might even make that progeny a joint account owner. Perhaps they go the POA route, and hopefully the banks & brokerages don't ask any more questions after they set up their online account access.

Conservator ain't no magic wand. The bank where my Dad's pension & SS checks are deposited didn't simply take the court order and obey my commands. I had to apply with two forms of photo ID and fill out a signature card, just as if I wanted to open my own account. Then they set me up with an online account, and I had to register it. Then I waited another week for them to snail-mail me the login & password.

I asked them to put the money in CDs. Unfortunately they don't do that online like PenFed, so now I have an application and a new signature card to fill out for each CD. In the process the bank discovered that Dad opened his account before 9/11's legislative tightening of financial controls. The "personal banker" had the chutzpah to tell me (despite all the legal paperwork) that before they can open Dad's CDs they need a copy of his driver's license or his Medicare card. In their words "We just need to re-verify his identity because he opened his account before we started doing that."

Now I'm waiting to hear back from PenFed & USAA, who have higher CD rates anyway. Dad's checking account is about to become just a sweep account for his pension/SS before the money goes to PenFed or USAA.

FWIW Dad gave me his logins & passwords for Fidelity & Vanguard. I was able to fill out Fidelity's "transfer of assets" form to consolidate his assets there. They did the paperwork with Vanguard and Vanguard obligingly turned it all over to Fidelity. That part was pretty straightforward.
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:42 PM   #14
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Nords, I don't agree with the part of your post where you say the revocable trust is run by the trustees. We are in the process of setting up a revocable family trust. DW and I are the "trustors" of the family trust and we are in charge fully and control the trust as long as both of us are alive. We can buy and sell property as desired, change investments as we please, etc. in the name of the trust. Once we both pass away, the designated "trustee" takes over the management of the trust.

You may have mean that the trustee runs the trust AFTER the trustors pass away. I didn't take it that way.
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:31 PM   #15
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Nords, I don't agree with the part of your post where you say the revocable trust is run by the trustees. We are in the process of setting up a revocable family trust. DW and I are the "trustors" of the family trust and we are in charge fully and control the trust as long as both of us are alive. We can buy and sell property as desired, change investments as we please, etc. in the name of the trust. Once we both pass away, the designated "trustee" takes over the management of the trust.

You may have mean that the trustee runs the trust AFTER the trustors pass away. I didn't take it that way.
A living trust can (and probably should) be set up to deal not only with death but also with incompetence or disability. If you are in a coma or suffering from dementia the trust can be a problem if there is no one to take charge.
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:05 AM   #16
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Nords, I don't agree with the part of your post where you say the revocable trust is run by the trustees. We are in the process of setting up a revocable family trust. DW and I are the "trustors" of the family trust and we are in charge fully and control the trust as long as both of us are alive. We can buy and sell property as desired, change investments as we please, etc. in the name of the trust. Once we both pass away, the designated "trustee" takes over the management of the trust.

You may have mean that the trustee runs the trust AFTER the trustors pass away. I didn't take it that way.
johnnie.....you might want to re-read your trust agreement. The ones I am familiar with make you/wife trustor/trustee/beneficiary while you are alive. The successor trustee comes in after you both go.
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Old 02-04-2012, 07:08 AM   #17
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A living trust can (and probably should) be set up to deal not only with death but also with incompetence or disability. If you are in a coma or suffering from dementia the trust can be a problem if there is no one to take charge.
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johnnie.....you might want to re-read your trust agreement. The ones I am familiar with make you/wife trustor/trustee/beneficiary while you are alive. The successor trustee comes in after you both go.
Our trust documents are not handy so I can't go look to see how they deal with incompetence while alive. In general I know that nothing actually enters the trust until one of us dies (thus revocable while alive). When one of us dies, the other becomes trustee. When both of us die the kids become trustees. I always assumed the durable power of attorney covers situations where one of us becomes incompetent (e.g. the other using the DPA could do whatever is needed with assets until the incompetent one dies at which point the remaining assets would enter the trust and the trusteeship would take over).
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Old 02-04-2012, 05:34 PM   #18
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Nords, I don't agree with the part of your post where you say the revocable trust is run by the trustees. We are in the process of setting up a revocable family trust. DW and I are the "trustors" of the family trust and we are in charge fully and control the trust as long as both of us are alive. We can buy and sell property as desired, change investments as we please, etc. in the name of the trust. Once we both pass away, the designated "trustee" takes over the management of the trust.
You may have mean that the trustee runs the trust AFTER the trustors pass away. I didn't take it that way.
"Trustor", "trustee", "the people running the trust", what you said is what I meant.

Jargon aside, the advantage is that the person running the finances can be swapped out without paying five figures in legal bills.

I'm sure there's a legal distinction among those vocabulary terms, and I bet lawyers get pretty passionate about it, which is one more reason why people find trusts such a PITA. But maybe I'm just feeling that way because it's that time of year for me to fill out my eight-page conservator's inventory & expense forecast for my Dad's assets.

It's marginally possible that I could've persuaded my Dad to execute a POA and have it on file. I strongly doubt anybody would've been able to persuade him to pay up for an RLT, not even if Suze Orman threatened to spend a three-day weekend with him.

The elders I'm related to by genome & marriage are even cheaper than me. REWahoo! would be shocked to find that I'm regarded as the Ohana Nords spendthrift.
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Old 02-04-2012, 07:13 PM   #19
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johnnie.....you might want to re-read your trust agreement. The ones I am familiar with make you/wife trustor/trustee/beneficiary while you are alive. The successor trustee comes in after you both go.
I agree.
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Old 02-04-2012, 07:15 PM   #20
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Our trust documents are not handy so I can't go look to see how they deal with incompetence while alive. In general I know that nothing actually enters the trust until one of us dies (thus revocable while alive). When one of us dies, the other becomes trustee. When both of us die the kids become trustees. I always assumed the durable power of attorney covers situations where one of us becomes incompetent (e.g. the other using the DPA could do whatever is needed with assets until the incompetent one dies at which point the remaining assets would enter the trust and the trusteeship would take over).
I agree with this also.
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