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Please Do Estate Planning.....................
Old 09-11-2006, 10:48 AM   #1
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Please Do Estate Planning.....................

Just a quick note. I have been gone from the forums for a couple weeks, because my sister died after a long battle with cancer. Even though she knew she was sick, and I bugged her a lot, she NEVER did any planning on what she wanted done, not even a will.

As you can imagine, it's a big mess. I am working on it, but bottom line to all out there.............please get a will done or something............it saves the people you leave behind a lot of hearteache and headache trying to guess what you wanted and for whom..........

Peace
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................
Old 09-11-2006, 11:38 AM   #2
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................

I'm taking it she was single.....

Yeah, Estate planning is really important for single people with money. With my wife though, we rarely vacation together, so if there were going to be death(s) in my family, i'd say there's a 95% chance only one of us would die if there were a death from something. In the event of that, the spouse simply gets everything. Most of our accounts are joint, and I would like to see someone even try to snatch an asset that wasnt joint considering we are married.

That's not to say i dont need to do it too. I just havent gotten around to it because the need for it is just very low in my estimation.
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................
Old 09-11-2006, 11:40 AM   #3
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................

FinanceDude.. I'm really sorry for the loss of your sister. I love my sister to death and am leaving for the US tomorrow so we can both help mom out together with organizing her finances as well as some of her "stuff", hopefully. I am taking a copy of SG's info list!

FD, don't be too hard on yourself. I'm sorry for you if her affairs are in a mess, but as far as who gets what.. your sister probably had a lot to deal with in her illness besides worrying about the contents of the china cabinet. I would just try to be as fair as you can.. invite people to select some personal items or mementos up to a certain rough limit and then sell off the rest and split it, that's how I would approach it. *Or give the money to a cancer charity. If she'd had a preference, she had the opportunity to express it but she chose not to. Maybe that's a lesson that the stuff doesn't matter as much as we think it does.

Take care, FD.. and thanks for the words of wisdom.
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................
Old 09-11-2006, 11:44 AM   #4
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................

And I as well am sorry to hear of your loss FinanceDude. I didn't take your post to be an indirect request for sympathy so i didn't initially focus on that.
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................
Old 09-11-2006, 11:52 AM   #5
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azanon
Most of our accounts are joint, and I would like to see someone even try to snatch an asset that wasnt joint considering we are married.
The problem generally isn't someone trying to "snatch an asset" (double entendre opportunities galore). Rather, by not doing estate planning you potentially expose your estate and heirs to unnecessary estate taxes and your survivors could see everything tied up in probate for an extended period of time. And that is for a "clean cut" situation. If you have remarried, have business partners, etc. it can get really messy.
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................
Old 09-11-2006, 02:11 PM   #6
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azanon
With my wife though, we rarely vacation together, so if there were going to be death(s) in my family, i'd say there's a 95% chance only one of us would die if there were a death from something. In the event of that, the spouse simply gets everything. Most of our accounts are joint, and I would like to see someone even try to snatch an asset that wasnt joint considering we are married.
You might want to double-check the laws. In a discussion of family gossip recently, I learned (but have not confirmed) that in Texas if a spouse dies intestate, half of that spouses estate goes to the other spouse and half is distributed among the kids. That makes no sense to me for several reasons including that Texas is a community property state, but a family member insisted this is the case.

Also, on the joint account there's that "A and B" or "A or B" problem periodically discussed here. IIRC, with "A and B" if A or B dies then the account is locked until the estate is settled.

I'm speaking completely out of my behind here, so don't take anything too seriously other than to double check your local laws and be sure they support your assumptions.

My uncle's father recently passed away, and my granddad has been recently diagnosed with cancer and is in the hospital. Both had/have living wills and wills which you realize at these times are extraordinarily important. My uncle's mother recently acknowledged that there are fates worse than death, and this is even with "do not recuscitate" and "no feeding tube" orders.

FD, sorry about your sister.

EDIT: "will settles" -> "estate is settled".
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................
Old 09-11-2006, 02:16 PM   #7
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azanon
I'm taking it she was single.....* *

Yeah, Estate planning is really important for single people with money.* *With my wife though, we rarely vacation together, so if there were going to be death(s) in my family, i'd say there's a 95% chance only one of us would die if there were a death from something.* *In the event of that, the spouse simply gets everything.* * Most of our accounts are joint, and I would like to see someone even try to snatch an asset that wasnt joint considering we are married.

That's not to say i dont need to do it too.* I just havent gotten around to it because the need for it is just very low in my estimation.
You must not have children... in Texas your real property go to your children, not your spouse...
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................
Old 09-11-2006, 02:20 PM   #8
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMoneyJim
You might want to double-check the laws. In a discussion of family gossip recently, I learned (but have not confirmed) that in Texas if a spouse dies intestate, half of that spouses estate goes to the other spouse and half is distributed among the kids. That makes no sense to me for several reasons including that Texas is a community property state, but a family member insisted this is the case.
See above post.. it is not 'half', but what kind of property... real to children, personal to spouse.. but the spouse has a life estate in the homestead on the children's half.. at least that is what it was many years ago when I was dealing with it...
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................
Old 09-11-2006, 08:31 PM   #9
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................

F. Dude, I'm so sorry about your sister. It's doubly hard to deal with the grief and pain of loosing a loved one, and at the same time to have to face a lot of financial details.

My thoughts are with you and thanks for the much needed reminder.
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................
Old 09-11-2006, 08:38 PM   #10
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................

FD, my sincere condolences. I lost my mother to multiple myeloma last summer. Tough...
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................
Old 09-12-2006, 02:09 AM   #11
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................

Sorry about your sister and thanks for your advice!

My dad passed away 4 years ago from heart attack. It's still fresh in my mind to get a call at 10am from my sister with very alarming voice. I'm half a world away.

No will but eventually all properties go to mom. No dispute. The hard asset is not a problem, his business is.

He is in commodity business with high cash turnover. 2 days after his death when I arrive home, the quest for paperwork started...although it's a company, some paperwork are incomplete and only he knows where things are or the account balance of who owe whom. What a nightmare... the 5 of us exclude mom sat on the table with tears going through notes, scribble..don't know where to go from. From notes we check against the warehouse, shipping bills, etc....about a week after his death we realize we may lost 1M-2M. We lay off 30 people right after, max the bank loan, I took off a month from work, brother in law manage for 2 months before my brother takes over for good after wrapping up his life in another country.

Fast forward, things are ok. Money is made and lost...it's part of life. As if it was planned, my brother is a perfect candidate, same personality as if he was groomed for the job. Although at the time we were all away from home for 10 years already, because of the network and system that were already established, it wasn't so difficult to pick things up. Mom helps to some degree since she knows some people just based on from stories she had heard.

I'm very proud of my dad. He only finished high school degree but was able to put us thru good education and leave good wealth. We graduated with no loans, paying foreign tuition.

Death and will, yeah...that's another issue in life. Those who are very much a planner like some of us probably have everything figured out but are always jittery to "what ifs"
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................
Old 09-12-2006, 07:48 AM   #12
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................

Siv...

I do not think a will would have help in your dad's business... the will would say who would own it... not what was happening in the business on a day to day situation..

That is one reason that when I was a manager (not anymore..) I made sure people documented their work... I had learned that you can (or another employee) get hit by a bus and die.. so it was something I stressed...

I would also suggest to people who can get their friends and family to do a will to also do what I call the death book... it is just a three riing binder that the person keeps enough information of all accounts, safety deposit boxes, wishes not in the will, phone numbers of friends and far off family... any and everything that someone might need if you died... you can easily update the book with any new information or wishes.. my mother's is orange so I can find it easily... and I keep asking if she has updated it whenever she mentions anything that I think should be in there...

Why do I say this Well, I know my mother has a burial plot, but I do not know where it is located... I also know my mother wants some specific information on her headstone, but I do not know what it is... after she is dead I can not ask!!

The problem is if someone will not do a will, they will not do this book...
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................
Old 09-12-2006, 07:59 AM   #13
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................

Quote:
The problem generally isn't someone trying to "snatch an asset" (double entendre opportunities galore).* Rather, by not doing estate planning you potentially expose your estate and heirs to unnecessary estate taxes and your survivors could see everything tied up in probate for an extended period of time.* And that is for a "clean cut" situation.* If you have remarried, have business partners, etc. it can get really messy.
Admittingly, i'm not as well versed on this and I probably could stand some education and evaluation of my situation.* I just assumed (i know that word is dangerous) that when married, that the assets just transferred directly without taxes.

Also, thanks for the friendly response Brewer.*

Texaspround

I live in Arkansas, but i would find it even strange in Texas that there would be a law that would have my assets going to my only child who is a 3 year old.* *So are you saying that some of my assets could be put in some kind of trust for my child if Arkansas law were like Texas?

I do have a 529 plan for my child, but i would think responsiblity of even that account would go to my wife. A 529 is not a trust like an ESA.
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................
Old 09-12-2006, 11:37 AM   #14
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................

In Texas, the definitions of "Separate Property" and "Community Property" are critical to the actions of Texas law on Intestate situations.

Within Separate Property, there is a further distinction as to whether the property is land, or not land. The actions are different on the death of the surviving spouse.

In Texas, dying intestate, blood is thicker than marriage. Or maybe it could be viewed as a state-mandated sort of pre-nuptial agreement, which can be modified by a will.

The following link is one of the best I have seen for clearness and conciseness:
http://fordmath.com/artman/publish/article_3.shtml

I do not for sure know how contractual agreements are handled with regards to separate property. For example, during the marriage, one spouse receives an inheritance, and that inheritance is invested in a mutual fund. In the setup of the mutual fund, the spouse with the inheritance lists the other spouse as the beneficiary. The spouse with the inheritance dies without a will. So the mutual fund is separate property, but the contractual beneficiary agreement of the mutual fund is in conflict.

As to the plea of this whole thread, uh no we haven't....... but we need to!
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................
Old 09-12-2006, 03:43 PM   #15
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................

Quote:
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I do not for sure know how contractual agreements are handled with regards to separate property. For example, during the marriage, one spouse receives an inheritance, and that inheritance is invested in a mutual fund. In the setup of the mutual fund, the spouse with the inheritance lists the other spouse as the beneficiary. The spouse with the inheritance dies without a will. So the mutual fund is separate property, but the contractual beneficiary agreement of the mutual fund is in conflict.
To Siv... yes, the property would go to your children no matter how old they are... and not specifically in trust, but your wife would be considered the guardian of the minor's assets (I am not a lawer, so I might be using the wrong words... but you get my drift)... remember.. on a community property state.. community property is 50% each.. so your half of the house goes to your child, your wife's half stays with her.. and then again.. your child might be from another marriage and you never see them at all.. still the same.. the child owns half the house..

To Telly... 'contract' wins out over the will. If you list a beneficiary to any of your accounts, then they never are considered part of your estate for distribution purposes.. ie, they go to the person you said they should go... their is a caveat.. if the rest of your estate can not pay your estate taxes (you gave EVERYTHING away by beneficiary statements).. then the IRS could care squat about your wishes.. they will get their taxes... I don't know who get's stuck with them... or if they are allocated.. but they will be paid..

NOW.. let's throw in a wrinkle on Texas... what if you have an illigetimate child Doesn't matter.. they are a child and get to split the assets with all the others (I have a friend who this happened to...)

AND... let's say you do leave a will and say 'I leave all my assets to my children' without naming them... and an illigimate child comes a calling... well, you can have millions of dollars going to that child.. that is what happened with one of the cases I worked on way back when....
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................
Old 09-12-2006, 06:41 PM   #16
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................

Plus every state is different
Also as mentioned there is that need for the living will. Which everyone should be familar with after all the news with the last few people that they kept on machinces for yrs and yrs and yrs.
I see way too many people being kept alive with numerous tubes.
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Old 09-12-2006, 06:57 PM   #17
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................

financedude,

Sorry for your loss. Our living trust paperwork has been sitting in a drawer for months now, I've gotta get it filled out and setup.
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................
Old 09-12-2006, 07:21 PM   #18
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Re: Please Do Estate Planning.....................

FinanceDude, condolences on the loss of your sister. Money isn't everything but not planning for it can sure cause headaches just when you are grieving!

I'm getting ready to do some estate planning. As I'm single I will have a lot of discretion. It seems that (assuming FireCalc is correct and my money will likely outlive me) there may be tax advantages in setting up a charitable foundation to which I make judicious donations later in life. I will find out more in the next few weeks. Of course the devil is in the details and they vary depending on your jurisdiction. But it would be delightful to set up a foundation that could focus on the issues that I think are important. And, well managed, these foundations can thrive and spin off ~4% in perpetuity - just like retirement savings!

Has anyone gone this route?

Meadbh
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