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my small dilemma
Old 04-30-2016, 12:27 PM   #41
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my small dilemma

Okay, so I'm going through the exercise of updating my will. In the will questionnaire, the section for what to leave to who asks for beneficiary info like address and phone number.

I prefer to go under the radar about letting family know I'm about to update my will. I'd like to leave some stuff to a few of my nieces but don't know their phone numbers. I can ask their dad (my brother) what their numbers are. But it would be odd if I asked and didn't say why, yet at the same time I kinda don't want him to know that I'm working on my will as that may start the "family vultures" (him being one of them?) to start circling .

Your thoughts?

I guess related, is if you have or will have a will, do you believe in telling the beneficiaries? Or do you believe best to keep under the radar as the knowledge can lead to speculations and rumors?
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Old 04-30-2016, 01:44 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
the section for what to leave to who asks for beneficiary info like address and phone number.
Maybe you can find the info online. It's remarkable what can be googled. I wouldn't ask for the phone numbers unless you can come up with a reason to contact them. Perhaps the software allows you to leave the phone number blank.




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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
do you believe in telling the beneficiaries?
We don't tell the beneficiaries anything because we may change our minds. We have revised our estate plan several times as circumstances and relationships change. Some people will be pleasantly surprised to receive a house!


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Old 04-30-2016, 02:19 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
I guess related, is if you have or will have a will, do you believe in telling the beneficiaries? Or do you believe best to keep under the radar as the knowledge can lead to speculations and rumors?
Well, our only child knows that she's the sole beneficiary of our estate. On the other hand, she also knows we're only in our early 50s and plan to live long enough to deplete it significantly.
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Old 04-30-2016, 02:49 PM   #44
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The addresses and phone numbers are not required. They are just trying to unambiguously identify the person you intend to leave the money to. Some versions of that questionnaire ask for SSNs. Again, not necessary. Unless you have multiple nieces with the same or very similar names, identifying with relationship and name is sufficient. No need to call beneficiaries and ask for numbers.
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Old 04-30-2016, 03:05 PM   #45
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The addresses and phone numbers are not required. They are just trying to unambiguously identify the person you intend to leave the money to. Some versions of that questionnaire ask for SSNs. Again, not necessary. Unless you have multiple nieces with the same or very similar names, identifying with relationship and name is sufficient. No need to call beneficiaries and ask for numbers.
I'm going to go this route and leave the phone number area blank and just specify the name and addresses. Don't want to add more speculation than I have to.

Actually for two nieces that's already too late as I went ahead and sent a message and asked for their info. I did get a touching message back thanking me for thinking of them and saying that I'm the best uncle they have. Gulp. The good news is I didn't promise anything like a huge amount or percentage of my estate but just a couple of items I had when there was a time they stayed with me as kids during their mother's divorce.

update: I decided to just go ahead and ask my brother for their phone numbers but did so in a non-committed email. I pretty much said, can I have my nieces' numbers in case I decide to leave them a little something in my will update, giving myself some wiggle room.
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Old 04-30-2016, 04:34 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by growing_older View Post
The addresses and phone numbers are not required. They are just trying to unambiguously identify the person you intend to leave the money to. Some versions of that questionnaire ask for SSNs. Again, not necessary. Unless you have multiple nieces with the same or very similar names, identifying with relationship and name is sufficient. No need to call beneficiaries and ask for numbers.
Actually if you specify x and y children of Z your sibling, that does uniquely identify them, all be it the executor might have to ask for a birth certificate. The issue with addresses and phone numbers is that they do tend to change and unless you update the will the information could go stale.
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Do you really need a will?
Old 05-01-2016, 04:07 PM   #47
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Do you really need a will?

There is a lot of talk about the need to leave a will. However, in many circumstances with a little planning, you don't need a will. For instance, if your assets are in the below-listed accounts, don't bother to have a will:

- property you’ve transferred to a living trust
- life insurance proceeds
- funds in an IRA, 401(k), or other retirement account
- securities held in a transfer-on-death account
- payable-on-death bank accounts, or
- property you own with someone else in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety.

All of these assets will pass to the surviving co-owner or to the beneficiary you named, whether or not you have a will...

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 05-01-2016, 05:13 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by aza455 View Post
There is a lot of talk about the need to leave a will. However, in many circumstances with a little planning, you don't need a will. For instance, if your assets are in the below-listed accounts, don't bother to have a will:

- property you’ve transferred to a living trust
- life insurance proceeds
- funds in an IRA, 401(k), or other retirement account
- securities held in a transfer-on-death account
- payable-on-death bank accounts, or
- property you own with someone else in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety.

All of these assets will pass to the surviving co-owner or to the beneficiary you named, whether or not you have a will...

Just my 2 cents.
It seems from what I have heard attorneys tend to produce a pour over will even with a living trust just in case something is omitted. One thing that could be omitted otherwise is jewelry and household goods and furniture. Since these things don't have titles it is not possible to put them into a trust. A pour over will just puts the residue of your estate into a trust. Pour Over Will Definition, Examples, Processes. It is sort of a just in case something is is not put into the trust, this takes care of it. It need not be a very complex will as the link provides an example.
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Old 05-01-2016, 05:48 PM   #49
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Done properly, having correct beneficiaries to accounts, payable on death bank accounts, trusts to hold property, plus a good will all makes for a reasonable estate settlement. Most of the time, in my observations, the problems come from several sources:

1. Changes in relationships without changes in documents. Assets get handed to ex-spouses, bankrupt kids, etc.

2. Leaving real estate to multiple parties. The classic example of a piece of farm property being left to 2 siblings, who then were married, had kids, divorced, remarried, died, etc. You end up trying to split one piece of property into unequal shares to 15 different parties, each with different issues.

3. Directing from beyond the grave. Trying to control or manipulate a persons behavior such that they have to earn their inheritance. A great way for the lawyers to step in and split up the estate amongst themselves.

4. No will at all. A great way to split up families and others. A money making opportunity for the court appointed folks.
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Old 05-01-2016, 10:24 PM   #50
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I am glad you mention this as I forgot. You make a good point. DNR's are generally for elderly or VERY sick people. It's literally just that... they DO NOT RESUSCITATE you. Most younger people want to be resuscitated and then can always be removed from life support if things are bad. The form, at least in California, is now called a POLST. I believe the website is polst.org and it's something you would do with your doctor.
I had a discussion with my physician last week. She said to put your POLST on top of the refrigerator as that is where emergency responders will look if you are at home. I am not yet to the point that a physician will write a POLST but when I get one not only will it go on my frig I will put a copy in my purse. Since I am a Kaiser patient she said my POLST will be in my medical records.
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Old 05-02-2016, 07:50 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by aza455 View Post
There is a lot of talk about the need to leave a will. However, in many circumstances with a little planning, you don't need a will. For instance, if your assets are in the below-listed accounts, don't bother to have a will:

- property you’ve transferred to a living trust
- life insurance proceeds
- funds in an IRA, 401(k), or other retirement account
- securities held in a transfer-on-death account
- payable-on-death bank accounts, or
- property you own with someone else in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety.

All of these assets will pass to the surviving co-owner or to the beneficiary you named, whether or not you have a will...
This is great if one creates and update beneficiary info and TOD. IRA/401k without beneficiary may not go where you want.
Be really careful of doing estate planing using joint tenancy. There are many stories where an elder parent will put a child on the title of a brokerage account or house and then the child runs into legal issues like a car accident and lose part or all of the asset. Also the child may not get the same basis step up since they are now an owner and not the beneficiary. Also the process of adding someone other than a spouse to the title would likely be considered a gift and trigger a gift tax return and at least a hit to the unified exclusion (plus state gift tax where applicable) unless the amount is below the annual gift amounts to an individual.

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It seems from what I have heard attorneys tend to produce a pour over will even with a living trust just in case something is omitted. One thing that could be omitted otherwise is jewelry and household goods and furniture. Since these things don't have titles it is not possible to put them into a trust. A pour over will just puts the residue of your estate into a trust. Pour Over Will Definition, Examples, Processes. It is sort of a just in case something is is not put into the trust, this takes care of it. It need not be a very complex will as the link provides an example.
From what I understand you can put things without titles in trusts buy listing them in such a way that they are well defined or using a deed of gift (or similar). This really does not eliminate the need for a pour over will if you want to be in control of how all your assets will be dispersed. Being a trust takes it out of public record.
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Old 05-02-2016, 08:26 AM   #52
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I worked with an Attorney whose business model was based on estate administration. He said the largest intestate estates were of small children. He said children don't die of natural causes, so there is almost always a lawsuit over the death. A pour-over will will have the proceeds of the lawsuit pass into the trust without a second attorney hit (the litigator will get his/her 40%, and the intestate attorney will get 3-5% more!).
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Old 05-02-2016, 09:19 AM   #53
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I've been trying to update my understanding of these issues lately.

No one in the family has died in a while, so I haven't seen how this works:

What are the mechanics of a house going to, say, seven siblings?

In the living trust case, I assume the title gets changed to include the seven siblings and they can then sell it and split the proceeds (and expenses until it's sold). The trust trustee only has to do the title transfer. After that, everyone has to agree to the details and pick someone to handle it.

How close am I?
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Old 05-02-2016, 09:34 AM   #54
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It depends how and if the trust is set up. If the house is owned by the trust before death, the trust disposes of it as indicated in the trust. If the will distributes it to the trust, then it will go to the trust after going thru probate.
If the house is distributed to the heirs as joint ownership, you may have a lot of fun is some what to keep it and others want to sell it. The ones who want sell it may have to take legal action to force the sale. I saw this tear apart a family when a farm was left to all the children. One child was paying all the up keep -- taxes, insurance, etc. The others were living on it. The one who as footing the bill forced a sale and the other children have never communicated with them again.

Hopefully the case you're referring to will be better.
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Old 05-02-2016, 11:23 AM   #55
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I had a client last year, in the fiduciary position, gamble over $500k away during administration. That was a court "supervised" probate. Yes, not a trust. GONZO! FIVE HUNDRED K! Nice job by the probate "police" there.
A trust won't help with these type situations. If anything it may happen and nobody finds out about it because of the privacy aspect of trusts. Like I posted, a normal will and court supervised probate has less chance for "funny" business. But it can't and won't eliminate every situation of abuse.

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Just pick a good trustee so you don't need the trust police.
While I agree with that, it helps to have the court watching since there are no trust police. People can get really weird and act very differently when money is involved.

- You never know !
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Old 05-02-2016, 11:28 AM   #56
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If you have any real property (even a timeshare) you should probably consider a living trust. In California all interests in real property require trips to the probate court after death. If the value is less than $150k there are abbreviated probate court options but it's still probate court and it's still much more expensive than a trust.
I thought a transfer-on-death deed could also avoid real estate probate costs without using a trust?


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Old 05-02-2016, 08:54 PM   #57
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When I was hospitalized last year I was pleasantly surprised to find that the hospital would make a POA and Living Will (health care directive) at no charge. Now if I could only get my son to have them made for him I would feel better (they will do it for healthy people as well).
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Old 05-02-2016, 11:43 PM   #58
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All this discussion made me look at a brokerage account, and get the form to designate my DW as beneficiary as the online account will not show who is current beneficiary.
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:06 AM   #59
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When I was hospitalized last year I was pleasantly surprised to find that the hospital would make a POA and Living Will (health care directive) at no charge. Now if I could only get my son to have them made for him I would feel better (they will do it for healthy people as well).
In my recent experience, each facility we entered (hospital, Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living) wanted you to sign their version of the paperwork. I'd have to check, but I think that was POA and Health Care Directive. I guess they don't trust any one else's paperwork to be complete, or don't want to deal with decoding umpteen versions of the same thing? This stuff should be standardized forms.

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Old 05-03-2016, 10:14 AM   #60
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I thought a transfer-on-death deed could also avoid real estate probate costs without using a trust?


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I am also doing the research on estate planning. I only have a simple will at this time. I see that in California, Governor Brown signed into law, beginning 1/1/2016, Transfer on Death Deed is now available:

Californians have a new way to keep homes out of probate - San Francisco Chronicle

"..., homeowners who want to use the new option will simply sign an instrument called a Simple Revocable Transfer on Death Deed, naming who will receive the property. They must have it notarized and record it with their county within 60 days. If they change their mind, they can revoke the deed at any time."

I am trying to find out where to get this document so I can prepare and sign it....
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