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Old 04-11-2015, 11:24 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Well, the delayed payments to the child would (I think) require a separate trust, but it's not that complex - it's just as you wrote it.

So IME, finding good trust attorneys is like finding a good FA if you don't know about finances. The firm my in-laws have is in a high-worth area, they specialize in estate planning, fancy web site with all the buzz words. But the were awful/lazy.
................

They signed stuff they didn't understand then, and I think it is the lawyer's responsibility to be sure the client is understanding what they sign.


When I asked why these were included, when the family made no request for such options, we were just brushed off with "it is standard language". Basically, they run a software package that spits out all this stuff, and they don't even understand it.

There were many instances of this.

See why I want to take a DIY approach (with NOLO guidance)?

-ERD50
We are in the midst of finalizing new estate documents for DW and self. We are using an elder care attorney who gets quite good reviews on several sites for her estate work. Our docs include a Revocable Living Trust as well as the usual POA and healthcare docs.
Even though I hate to do it, I have forced myself to read all the docs and have found a number of issues that had to be corrected. I am not an attorney but have spend enough time reading legal docs to know to expect errors and omissions.
For example, the legal descriptions for real estate did not match the ones we get from the county, clauses we inserted got dropped between revisions, instructions for revisions where "forgotten" until pointed out, etc.

I am in the camp that for an estate with any complexity, you want an in- state attorney handprints all over your estate docs. The financial community as well as healthcare administrators will look for any reason to tell your administrators that your docs are not sufficient.

Lessons from our experience so far include insisting your attorney walk you through EVERY section and tell you the purpose of the section and what will happen by having it. You may be surprised what the legal words mean. I agree with ERD50, the docs are heavy to a lot of lawyer gobbly gook. Unfortunately, a lot of the terminology can have lasting legal implications. Are the implications consistent with your wishes? You got to ask!!
You are paying the attorney to get what you want so insist the docs do it in the way you want in a way you understand. If the attorney declares there are "lots of implications", have them explicitly describe the ones relevant to you. Unfortunately, like ERD50 experienced, some attorneys are lazy, use boilerplate they have never read and depend on their paralegals for all the drafting.

Other "ah ahs" include making sure your RLT provisions make sense with similar provisos in your other docs. For example, does the incapacity clause in your POA work the same as in the RLT?

It can be a bit of a slough but our experience is you have to take the time or face the reality, what you thought would happen if you die or become incapacitated, may not be the case.
Nwsteve
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Old 04-11-2015, 03:15 PM   #22
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Great thoughts and suggestions, thanks everyone. It sounds like the first thing I should do is review the designated beneficiaries and percentages on my various accounts because even in the absence of a will/trust those will still apply.

A few more questions came to me as I was reading the responses:

1. If the child is a minor when are the funds distributed, say from my 401k, IRA etc?
2. Is there a form where I can designate the beneficiaries for checking, savings and even the mortgage accounts?
3. Soon after marriage we did a power of attorney but I can't locate the paperwork or lawyer contact, how would I go about tracking it down and canceling it?
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Old 04-11-2015, 05:16 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by dvalley View Post
Great thoughts and suggestions, thanks everyone. It sounds like the first thing I should do is review the designated beneficiaries and percentages on my various accounts because even in the absence of a will/trust those will still apply.

A few more questions came to me as I was reading the responses:


3. Soon after marriage we did a power of attorney but I can't locate the paperwork or lawyer contact, how would I go about tracking it down and canceling it?
I can help with number 3--When you do a new POA, it includes language that specifically cancels all pre-existing POA's and any authorizations or powers it granted.
Nwsteve
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Old 04-12-2015, 02:27 AM   #24
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Thanks Steve, that makes sense.
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Old 04-12-2015, 08:05 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvalley View Post
Great thoughts and suggestions, thanks everyone. It sounds like the first thing I should do is review the designated beneficiaries and percentages on my various accounts because even in the absence of a will/trust those will still apply.

A few more questions came to me as I was reading the responses:

1. If the child is a minor when are the funds distributed, say from my 401k, IRA etc?
2. Is there a form where I can designate the beneficiaries for checking, savings and even the mortgage accounts?
3. Soon after marriage we did a power of attorney but I can't locate the paperwork or lawyer contact, how would I go about tracking it down and canceling it?
For checking saving etc go to the bank and they will have the forms. Note that by adding a payable on death clause to an account, you also get an addition amount of FDIC insurance for that account.
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Old 04-12-2015, 09:13 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by zinger1457 View Post
I used WillMaker to create my own will and one of the features I like is that it has sections to document all of your financial account details, list where all your important papers are kept, home safe combination codes, create a living will, etc.
We had our wills and Revocable Trust prepared by an attorney (who DID explain it all clearly and I've also read the document myself).

After that I created a Word document listing what assets were where (despite wanting to keep things simple I have 2 brokerage accounts, an HSA, a checking account, 3 credit cards, HELOC, etc.) I plan/hope to be around for 20-30 more years but I could get run over tomorrow while riding my bicycle. The document has account numbers but not logon info, and contact names and phone numbers. I figure it's enough for anyone to get started figuring out the estate. I sent a copy to DH, my brother (Trustee), DS and DDIL and will update it periodically.

One good thing that came of this was that it made DH and me think through things; nearly everything is in my name and I manage it (his choice and I'm the financial Control Freak anyway). He expressed a concern that if I died suddenly he might have a hard time with cash flow at the start (he gets SS but typically has only a few hundred $$ in his checking account at any time). We agreed that I'd move $25K in a Fidelity short-term bond fund into a new Fidelity account that's JT with Right of Survivor. That was easy!
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