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Old 07-24-2020, 08:59 PM   #41
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kaneohe, I thought it was the Will like a catch-all for the assets remaining. No?
I think you might be right. google says a pour-over will works to put assets not already in the trust into the trust.....to remedy the oversight of the owner. So perhaps the pour-over will is the catcher and the trust is the final recipient before distribution. The will generally has to be probated so it would be nice to get things in the trust beforehand.

Our attorney advised individuals for IRA/401K beneficiaries with the trust as the final contingent beneficiary. Also the trust as the primary beneficiary for life insurance.
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Old 07-24-2020, 09:08 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
I think you might be right. google says a pour-over will works to put assets not already in the trust into the trust.....to remedy the oversight of the owner. So perhaps the pour-over will is the catcher and the trust is the final recipient before distribution. The will generally has to be probated so it would be nice to get things in the trust beforehand.

Our attorney advised individuals for IRA/401K beneficiaries with the trust as the final contingent beneficiary. Also the trust as the primary beneficiary for life insurance.
Thanks for confirming this to me. I'm never really sure about these things and they are SO important because a mistake cannot be corrected after the fact.
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Old 07-24-2020, 11:05 PM   #43
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Thanks for confirming this to me. I'm never really sure about these things and they are SO important because a mistake cannot be corrected after the fact.
I'm not an expert on this and for sure not giving legal advise but: I have a revocable living trust and as far as life insurance, in most cases as I understand it, if you have a term life insurance policy most people put down their living trust as beneficiary. On the other hand a permanent life insurance policy has cash value and therefore cause heirs to have to pay estate or inheritance tax. So it should probably set up an irrevocable trust that would be the owner and beneficiary of the trust so the money would be paid to the trust and not to the estate. Course now we're talking about policies worth millions which most don't have, but the point is that I think it calls for advise from an attorney that specializes in these things rather taking a chance of getting it right from the start.
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Old 07-25-2020, 08:59 AM   #44
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What's in a Name?

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............for IRAs and Company Retirement Plans.............Note that is a different question than Do You Think You Know Who Your Beneficiaries Are?
The difference is that the former (Know) is the official list kept by banks or companies and the latter is your list.

Yesterday I got 6 e-mails from Fidelity telling me that I didn't have a beneficiary for my 401K plan. It was confusing because they also had a life insurance plan and another retirement plan and each e-mail seemed to differ as to whether I had beneficiaries for those other plans. Later (some hours later) another e-mail came saying to forget it........they had sent out those other e-mails by mistake.

In the meantime I had been probing the situation w/ Fidelity and after checking w/ rep#1 who thought he knew everything but actually knew nothing, I called back and got transferred to another rep who seemed more knowledgeable. She told me that my 401K didn't have beneficiaries but my DW's did. Although my plan had beneficiaries (confirmed) some yrs back , our group got transferred to a spinoff and although the 401K plan $$ got transferred, the beneficiary list didn't. DW stayed at the same employer and didn't have that issue.

There are other company plans that changed custodians so confirmation is needed. IRAs are in the same boat. Some were confirmed (in the past) with written acknowledgement. Some are questionable.....one bank lists the Roth IRA beneficiaries correctly w/ primary on one line, contingent on another line with appropriate labeling. The same bank lists TIRA beneficiaries separated but on the same line so it is not clear whether they consider them both primary or primary/contingent. Others I kept copies of the form I filled in but never asked for written confirmation.

Before this whole episode I was pretty confident that things were in order.
Now I'm not so sure..........I have come to appreciate VG as a custodian.
At least for company plans they seem to put the benefiaries clearly on every
quarterly statement. I need to get the rest of the world to follow in their
tracks.

So ... I just got married and have on my list to change my beneficiary on about 10-12 accounts. My DW is changing her last name to mine which is why I didn't make any of these changes prior to the wedding. The first changes one makes to a name are SSA/DMV. DMV will not make the change until SSA is complete. All SSA offices are closed and the only way they offer to make a name change is to mail in your driver's license - for about one month of processing. My DW does not want to drive w/o a DL for a month. My guy says that if I change the beneficiaries to her new name and I kick the bucket, there could be issues. So do I go ahead and make the changes now to her previous name and then change them all again once SSA opens up?? Hassle!
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Old 07-25-2020, 09:28 AM   #45
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... So do I go ahead and make the changes now to her previous name and then change them all again once SSA opens up?? ...
If the current beneficiaries are not the people you want to get the money, then the answer to this question is a no-brainer "yes." For a little effort and little or no cost you increase the likelihood that your intentions will be honored.

Alternatively, make sure you don't die until she has finished with the name change hassle. This is a little like computer backup; you only need one backup. Made the night before the fire.
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Old 07-25-2020, 10:02 AM   #46
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So ... I just got married and have on my list to change my beneficiary on about 10-12 accounts. My DW is changing her last name to mine which is why I didn't make any of these changes prior to the wedding. The first changes one makes to a name are SSA/DMV. DMV will not make the change until SSA is complete. All SSA offices are closed and the only way they offer to make a name change is to mail in your driver's license - for about one month of processing. My DW does not want to drive w/o a DL for a month. My guy says that if I change the beneficiaries to her new name and I kick the bucket, there could be issues. So do I go ahead and make the changes now to her previous name and then change them all again once SSA opens up?? Hassle!
Considering the unknown delay in the name change, why not change the beneficiary now to her current legal name, then update it when she is able to change her name with no hassle? Updating beneficiaries should be pretty easy, I can do mine online in a minute or two. Do some or all of yours need to be done via mail?
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Old 07-25-2020, 11:50 AM   #47
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Unfortunately, a trust does not guarantee anything. A TOD does. A trust is only as good as the trustee. If the Trustee does not follow the trust, then all intentions can be lost.

A Trust and Will can instruct a more complicated beneficiary tree. For someone who does not want to follow per stirpes, TOD and POD their simple listing of contingent beneficiaries can be too simple a device to handle the if-then desires of the owner.
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Old 07-25-2020, 01:21 PM   #48
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H.L. Mencken advised us: “For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong.”

This trust stuff is complex, a fact not reflected in most of the posts here. For example, a TOD to a minor, a special needs person, or someone who is deceased can open a huge can of worms. A "complicated beneficiary tree" could probably be handled by a carefully written will. And, of course, a trust is only as good as the trustee. Which is a good reason to use a professional and, where possible, a trust protector.

With respect to all the enthusiastic DIY-ers here, this is not an area where SGOTI plus internet folklore is a good planning strategy. DW spent a large part of her career in a megabank trust department and has horror stories about badly drafted documents both from incompetent attorneys and from DIY estate planners. It was not uncommon for her or one of her troops to end up going to court to have problems rectified. The cost of that, of course, is borne by the trust, the estate, or both.
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Old 07-25-2020, 01:26 PM   #49
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H.L. Mencken advised us: “For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong.”

This trust stuff is complex, a fact not reflected in most of the posts here. For example, a TOD to a minor, a special needs person, or someone who is deceased can open a huge can of worms. A "complicated beneficiary tree" could probably be handled by a carefully written will. And, of course, a trust is only as good as the trustee. Which is a good reason to use a professional and, where possible, a trust protector.

With respect to all the enthusiastic DIY-ers here, this is not an area where SGOTI plus internet folklore is a good planning strategy. DW spent a large part of her career in a megabank trust department and has horror stories about badly drafted documents both from incompetent attorneys and from DIY estate planners. It was not uncommon for her or one of her troops to end up going to court to have problems rectified. The cost of that, of course, is borne by the trust, the estate, or both.
Best advice on this thread I've seen yet! Thanks.
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Old 07-25-2020, 01:44 PM   #50
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Some are online. I do not mind those. But others I need to contact the administrator, have a form sent to me, fill out and return. Really?!
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Old 07-25-2020, 01:50 PM   #51
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Some are online. I do not mind those. But others I need to contact the administrator, have a form sent to me, fill out and return. Really?!
The main reason we moved our Roth IRAs from USAA to Fidelity is that USAA wanted me to CALL to do a backdoor Roth conversion, while Fidelity lets you do it online.
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Old 07-25-2020, 05:47 PM   #52
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H.L. Mencken advised us: “For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong.”

This trust stuff is complex, a fact not reflected in most of the posts here. For example, a TOD to a minor, a special needs person, or someone who is deceased can open a huge can of worms. A "complicated beneficiary tree" could probably be handled by a carefully written will. And, of course, a trust is only as good as the trustee. Which is a good reason to use a professional and, where possible, a trust protector.

With respect to all the enthusiastic DIY-ers here, this is not an area where SGOTI plus internet folklore is a good planning strategy. DW spent a large part of her career in a megabank trust department and has horror stories about badly drafted documents both from incompetent attorneys and from DIY estate planners. It was not uncommon for her or one of her troops to end up going to court to have problems rectified. The cost of that, of course, is borne by the trust, the estate, or both.
Emphasis added. Just bouncing off your sentence; this is not really a response or rebuttal or anything.

I now think that too much complexity can backfire. I don't know what proportion of the time it backfires vs. works as intended.

My parents had enough money that they chose to hire an attorney specializing in estates and drafted a number of documents including both their wills, a separate trust, and some sort of community property agreement. This presumably cost several thousand dollars to set up when they did it in 1999.

After my Mom passed away in 2016, the attorney helping my Dad through her estate process ended up recommending a TEDRA, which ended up costing another multiple thousands of dollars, to modify the terms of the aforementioned trust because it no longer did what they had intended it to do. It was also unexpected for my Mom to die first; based on health and genetics it was much more likely for the reverse to occur.

With changes in federal estate law, the trust really didn't even save them on estate taxes, and it seems to hurt more than help on income taxes.

So maybe we got a bad attorney, or maybe we made bad choices, or or or, but I didn't really see much of a benefit for the money and time spent compared to a simpler setup. (There was some implication by the attorneys that if my parents had kept their documents more up to date (rather than 17 years old) then things would have been better. Maybe so, but that would have been even more attorney fees, most likely.)
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Old 07-25-2020, 08:52 PM   #53
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This is a great topic. DH and I have a Will but it is about 15 years old and we moved to a different state since Will was drafted.
My question, what is the best way to find a good Estate Attorney? I don’t think we would have a complex Will.
Still married to the original DH, we have two children.
No exes, no step children, etc. is there a good resource to locate Estate Atty.
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Old 07-25-2020, 09:51 PM   #54
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we interviewed about half a dozen estate attys from referrals, the phone book and the local bar assn. took a while but worth the effort.
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Old 07-25-2020, 10:56 PM   #55
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This is a great topic. DH and I have a Will but it is about 15 years old and we moved to a different state since Will was drafted.
My question, what is the best way to find a good Estate Attorney? I don’t think we would have a complex Will.
Still married to the original DH, we have two children.
No exes, no step children, etc. is there a good resource to locate Estate Atty.
Go to wealthcounsel.com and check for attorneys that only do wills, trusts, etc. in your state.
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Old 07-26-2020, 05:57 AM   #56
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Go to wealthcounsel.com and check for attorneys that only do wills, trusts, etc. in your state.


Thank you.
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Old 07-26-2020, 09:31 AM   #57
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... I now think that too much complexity can backfire. I don't know what proportion of the time it backfires vs. works as intended.
Agreed. True in most areas of life. When I was working I occasionally had to work with attorneys on business contracts. My main contributions were crossing things out and shaming them for unnecessary complexity. Quite fun, actually.

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... My parents had enough money that they chose to hire an attorney specializing in estates and drafted a number of documents including both their wills, a separate trust, and some sort of community property agreement. This presumably cost several thousand dollars to set up when they did it in 1999.
Yes. Probably the same kind of money these days. As a lifetime cheapskate it really hurts me to shell out those four-digit fees, so I make myself look at the fee as a % of the estate I am protecting. Under 1%. That helps.

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... It was also unexpected for my Mom to die first; based on health and genetics it was much more likely for the reverse to occur.
Bad drafting. Our estate plan makes no such assumptions. It also includes a sentence like: "In the event of a common disaster, DW is presumed to have died first." Standard stuff for a good attorney and in that unlikely event the estate and trust work will still flow as planned.

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... if my parents had kept their documents more up to date (rather than 17 years old) then things would have been better. Maybe so, but that would have been even more attorney fees, most likely.)
Yup, more fees. Our plan gets reviewed every 2-4 years and we do pay fees when changes are necessary. Family and financial circumstances change, children become adults and get married and have kids, choices of charities change, and most importantly, the laws change. We just did an update driven both by family changes and by the CARES act changes to IRA & Roth withdrawal rules.

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we interviewed about half a dozen estate attys from referrals, the phone book and the local bar assn. took a while but worth the effort.
There is no easy way to find good professional help, whether legal, specialist legal, CPA, insurance agent, etc. It is hugely important and my guess is that most people spend less time doing it than they spend studying and testing new car choices. We are in good shape because DW knows most of the T&E attorneys in town, but absent that I would start with my GP attorney, CPA, banker friends, etc. The gold standard would be to talk to probate court judges.
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Old 07-26-2020, 03:54 PM   #58
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This is a great topic. DH and I have a Will but it is about 15 years old and we moved to a different state since Will was drafted.
My question, what is the best way to find a good Estate Attorney? I don’t think we would have a complex Will.
Still married to the original DH, we have two children.
No exes, no step children, etc. is there a good resource to locate Estate Atty.

We started by interviewing a couple of trust management companies. We knew beforehand the most complicated thing about our wills would be the trust related to my alcohol addicted son. We got their recommendations on attorneys they’ve worked with who have good experience drafting wills with similar type trusts. From that we selected one to work with.

It seems to have worked out. The drafting process of the will went fairly smoothly. I felt the attorney understood our particular desires related to the trust. He offered good advice I think. I guess the only way to know for sure is after we kick the bucket. I can wait to find that out for sure.

Finished this up this February so it’s all pretty fresh in my mind. I sure would love to have to create a new will someday eliminating that trust.
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Old 07-26-2020, 06:13 PM   #59
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Just a word on why listing the beneficiaries on your retirement accounts is SO important.

Recently I got my trust set up, and the lawyer explained to me the from the legal viewpoint, what is written in for the beneficiary on retirement accounts superceedes ANYTHING else. Trusts, wills, whatever...

So for example if you are divorced, get a new will or trust written but forget about changing the name on you 401k account from your ex to your new wife or trust, then on your death your ex WILL get your entire 401k account. From what he said there is NO way out of that unless the ex were to sign some sort of document... and let’s face it... most would never be that altruistic...

It was eye opening learning about that...
might depend on the employer.......Fidelity as the custodian of 401K has a beneficiary form where the person you are married to at time of death is the default beneficiary. You can change that to someone else but current spouse must sign and form must be notarized. No notary needed if default accepted.
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