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Old 10-01-2021, 11:20 PM   #41
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Could do that, but then it becomes a probate item. I'm hoping for small estate summary process, and there are asset limits to that.
What is the limit of assets to fall under the small estate in your State ?
Here in IL it's 100K, so it's pretty easy to have a sizable checking account under the limit, and no POD/TOD means it goes to the estate for the executor to deal with (pay bills, debts, etc).

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Was hoping to keep it simple, and had read somewhere before that banks could just roll the account over and make it an estate account.

Interestingly, the same bank left a joint account open for over a year after one of the joint owners died, so maybe things are more flexible/practical around here.

Not challenging, just curious - what sorts of laws would be broken? Assuming the debits and credits were all ordinary and legitimate (like Social Security, cable bills, etc. of the decedent).
Issue is any POD asset can be claimed by any of the heirs , just show up at the bank with a death certificate and ID.
Executor doesn't even have to be told.

A joint account, of course would stay open assuming 1 of the people on the account is alive, quite a different situation.
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Old 10-02-2021, 11:31 AM   #42
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What is the limit of assets to fall under the small estate in your State ?
Here in IL it's 100K, so it's pretty easy to have a sizable checking account under the limit, and no POD/TOD means it goes to the estate for the executor to deal with (pay bills, debts, etc).
Also $100K here, so it probably wouldn't be an issue.

In this case, cash flow for the executor and other heirs won't be an issue. There will be few, if any debts, except medical which I am figuring can wait a month or two to get paid.

Honestly at this point the account already has POD on it, and I'm just being lazy enough to not remove it.

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Issue is any POD asset can be claimed by any of the heirs , just show up at the bank with a death certificate and ID.
Executor doesn't even have to be told.

A joint account, of course would stay open assuming 1 of the people on the account is alive, quite a different situation.
Yeah, I understand your point. In this case, there are only three people on the POD and all would be cooperative. No joint owner.
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Old 10-02-2021, 01:31 PM   #43
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... I'm talking about pages that go into esoteric details on what the successor trustees can do. It spells out that they can use options, and a whole list of complex financial instruments. The successor trustees don't know anything about options, margin or these other instruments. It should all fit under the "reasonable man" principle, just invest the money conservatively and keep it diversified. There was even a couple pages about being allowed to set up some sort of Conservation District Investment or something? Like normal people are going to do that? They just want to settle the estate, or provide for the trustee if they become unable. ...
Well, at worst that boilerplate is harmless and near zero cost. At best is it something that the grantor(s) specifically wanted. If you do a trust, you can include or omit this type of thing as you like. The prudent man rule that applies to fiduciaries and some kind of HEMS (https://unsworthlaplante.com/blog/ge...tate-planning/) clause probably get most of the hard work done. More specitivity than that might help a family member trustee stay on good terms with the other beneficiaries, but it has its own risks.
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Old 10-02-2021, 01:52 PM   #44
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OP, One thing that you might want to do in order to prepare for the seminar is to review your states laws on intestacy. That is to say, who will inherit your assets that you own in your own name if you do not have a will. Sometimes it goes 1) spouse 2)children 3)parents 4)siblings etc... In general it can vary state by state.

Knowing this, you will know what happens if you die with absolutely no estate plan. It might help put things into context on how badly you need an estate plan.

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Old 10-03-2021, 05:46 PM   #45
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Well, at worst that boilerplate is harmless and near zero cost. At best is it something that the grantor(s) specifically wanted. If you do a trust, you can include or omit this type of thing as you like. The prudent man rule that applies to fiduciaries and some kind of HEMS (https://unsworthlaplante.com/blog/ge...tate-planning/) clause probably get most of the hard work done. More specitivity than that might help a family member trustee stay on good terms with the other beneficiaries, but it has its own risks.
I kinda disagree that the fluff boilerplate is harmless.

When it comes time for the successor trustee/s (often family, often not in the legal or financial professions) to deal with this, they already have their hands full and are grieving, maybe not thinking 100% straight. All this extra stuff just adds to the overwhelming feeling. They get this big book laid on them, and think OMG, where do I start? The fluff isn't helping them, and they need help at this time. Not some dazzle that the estate lawyer added to impress the clients with oh how smart he must be.

Yes, people can include or omit this type of thing as they like - but most of them have no idea what is needed or not - that's why they went to a professional.

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Old 10-03-2021, 11:53 PM   #46
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About 15 years ago my (now ex) wife and I had a complete estate plan drawn up and it was about $1000 I think. It was done by an attorney who specialized is estates. He met with us, listened to our specific situation and concerns, drew up the documents, and handled all of the retitling and other administrative details of funding the trust. Our documents included 2 wills, a living trust, a couple of different powers-of-attorney for each of us. They were obviously based on templates/boilerplate but had to be customized for our specific situation. Our situation was pretty simple, no kids for example. I was very happy with the attorney and the work product.

Even though I had read a lot on trusts and estates and had even taken paralegal courses on trusts, estates, and probate, I learned a lot going through the process and asked the attorney lots of questions when there was something I did not understand.

Now that I am divorced I will be having a new estate plan done but have been putting it off. (I wish I could blame covid but I can't.) I have already selected an attorney and will be setting up the appointment this week.

I agree with what has been said here. The seminar is probably a marketing thing for the presenter's legal services. I'm also sure there will be a pitch to include the foundation in your will. But that's ok. Attend, learn, ask lots of questions, then make you own decisions. Don't let yourself be bullied. It sounds like you already are considering including the foundation anyway.

An estate plan is too important to get wrong. So even though my own was fairly cheap, it was not price that influenced us. The attorney was recommended by people we trusted. I have been wrestling with the big firm vs small firm decision. I see benefits and pitfalls with both.

I also find myself at a quandry over whether to name my partner as my executor. She will definitely be my beneficiary but I worry that she will not deal well with the stress of making all kinds of decisions when also grieving. She also has little interest in finances. My thinking is to make her executor but also appoint a lawyer to advise her.

I personally do not want to use a bank as a trustee because I don't have a high degree of trust in banks mostly regarding fees. But I recognize that may be my best option.

Quite frankly, when I went through the process 15 years ago it seemed somewhat abstract. I did not expect to be dead any time soon. I still don't. I am pretty healthy for the most part. But if I live another 25 years I will have lived longer than almost all family members. I've also had way too many friends and colleagues die in their 60s or even 50s to get too unrealistic about my own longevity.

I hope you post a follow up regarding your thoughts on the seminar!
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Old 10-04-2021, 09:23 AM   #47
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About 15 years ago my (now ex) wife and I had a complete estate plan drawn up and it was about $1000 I think. It was done by an attorney who specialized is estates. He met with us, listened to our specific situation and concerns, drew up the documents, and handled all of the retitling and other administrative details of funding the trust. Our documents included 2 wills, a living trust, a couple of different powers-of-attorney for each of us. They were obviously based on templates/boilerplate but had to be customized for our specific situation. Our situation was pretty simple, no kids for example. I was very happy with the attorney and the work product.

Even though I had read a lot on trusts and estates and had even taken paralegal courses on trusts, estates, and probate, I learned a lot going through the process and asked the attorney lots of questions when there was something I did not understand.

Now that I am divorced I will be having a new estate plan done but have been putting it off. (I wish I could blame covid but I can't.) I have already selected an attorney and will be setting up the appointment this week.

I agree with what has been said here. The seminar is probably a marketing thing for the presenter's legal services. I'm also sure there will be a pitch to include the foundation in your will. But that's ok. Attend, learn, ask lots of questions, then make you own decisions. Don't let yourself be bullied. It sounds like you already are considering including the foundation anyway.

An estate plan is too important to get wrong. So even though my own was fairly cheap, it was not price that influenced us. The attorney was recommended by people we trusted. I have been wrestling with the big firm vs small firm decision. I see benefits and pitfalls with both.

I also find myself at a quandry over whether to name my partner as my executor. She will definitely be my beneficiary but I worry that she will not deal well with the stress of making all kinds of decisions when also grieving. She also has little interest in finances. My thinking is to make her executor but also appoint a lawyer to advise her.

I personally do not want to use a bank as a trustee because I don't have a high degree of trust in banks mostly regarding fees. But I recognize that may be my best option.

Quite frankly, when I went through the process 15 years ago it seemed somewhat abstract. I did not expect to be dead any time soon. I still don't. I am pretty healthy for the most part. But if I live another 25 years I will have lived longer than almost all family members. I've also had way too many friends and colleagues die in their 60s or even 50s to get too unrealistic about my own longevity.

I hope you post a follow up regarding your thoughts on the seminar!
Wow, I think the law firm we were considering (after attending their seminar) was more like $4k! That didn't bother me so much as their inability to deal with my special concerns (some "stuff" in another state for instance and especially how to choose someone who would carry out our wishes after the second person passed.) YMMV
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Old 10-04-2021, 09:51 AM   #48
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... When it comes time for the successor trustee/s (often family, often not in the legal or financial professions) to deal with this, they already have their hands full and are grieving, maybe not thinking 100% straight. All this extra stuff just adds to the overwhelming feeling. They get this big book laid on them, and think OMG, where do I start? The fluff isn't helping them, and they need help at this time. Not some dazzle that the estate lawyer added to impress the clients with oh how smart he must be. ...
Not an unreasonable concern. Your premise, though, is that an amateur executor is facing these tasks without professional advice, lawyer or CPA. That's probably not a good idea, regardless of the fluff-or-meat question.

In our case, our attorney is our executor. She is quite a bit younger than we are and, in the event of her inability, there is a second attorney in the firm who is also familiar with us. Third backup is the firm itself. In the event of our deaths, our son and our trust protector both have instructions to contact the attorney immediately. In the event that DW dies and I am left, my first call will be to the attorney as well.
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Old 10-04-2021, 10:59 AM   #49
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Not an unreasonable concern. Your premise, though, is that an amateur executor is facing these tasks without professional advice, lawyer or CPA. That's probably not a good idea, regardless of the fluff-or-meat question.

In our case, our attorney is our executor. She is quite a bit younger than we are and, in the event of her inability, there is a second attorney in the firm who is also familiar with us. Third backup is the firm itself. In the event of our deaths, our son and our trust protector both have instructions to contact the attorney immediately. In the event that DW dies and I am left, my first call will be to the attorney as well.
The reason I don't want a bank involved is I see how a company mistreated the kids and their grandparents - taking 4% per year to manage the trust until they were of age. I don't want a trust company OR a lawyer doing that. Reasonable fees would be okay, but NOT a blanket % for the privilege of working for me. We don't have a trust, but plan for it to be simple as: This % to that charity and this amount to each kid. Getting rid of "stuff" to get to the final "pot" of money may be an issue. I'm struggling at this point. YMMV
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Old 10-04-2021, 11:16 AM   #50
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The reason I don't want a bank involved is I see how a company mistreated the kids and their grandparents - taking 4% per year to manage the trust until they were of age. I don't want a trust company OR a lawyer doing that. Reasonable fees would be okay, but NOT a blanket % for the privilege of working for me.
One anecdote is probably not a good basis for sweeping conclusions. IIRC DW's megbank charged something like 1.5%. IIRC Schwab Trust's fee proposal to us was something like 70bps. YMMV in both cases but the lesson from the anecdote is to shop the business just like you'd shop for anything else.

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We don't have a trust, but plan for it to be simple as: This % to that charity and this amount to each kid. Getting rid of "stuff" to get to the final "pot" of money may be an issue.
That sounds like an estate, not a trust. In our case our plan creates several trusts. Ones funded with IRAs will terminate after 10 years or when the money goes to zero. The one special needs trust is funded with Roth money and it will continue ideally for the life of the beneficiary. But from what you say you have none of that complexity.

Maybe if there are illiquid assets you should sell them to the maximum extent possible and bequeath simpler assets.
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Old 10-04-2021, 02:13 PM   #51
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At this point in our lives, we just have Wills - but, even those won't be necessary unless something changes. Everything is POD/TOD (including the house). We'll probably revisit at a later date.

We had everything set up similarly when DF passed away. Everything POD (including house) except for small joint account (with me as a joint owner) that I used for a few months to pay the final bills. Worked out fine. This might not work out so well in many families, so YMMV.
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Old 10-04-2021, 06:50 PM   #52
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At this point in our lives, we just have Wills - but, even those won't be necessary unless something changes. Everything is POD/TOD (including the house). We'll probably revisit at a later date.
Same here. With only one heir (DS) it should be simple. The only things that will fall under the will are household possessions (even the cars can be TOD in MO.)

That said, I do have some old e bonds that I need to dispose of. I have heard they can be a pain to get changed, and the value is less than $12,000.
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Old 10-04-2021, 07:59 PM   #53
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Same here. With only one heir (DS) it should be simple. The only things that will fall under the will are household possessions (even the cars can be TOD in MO.)

That said, I do have some old e bonds that I need to dispose of. I have heard they can be a pain to get changed, and the value is less than $12,000.
As far as the household goods, if there is just one heir then I don't think there is any reason to probate a will just so the heir can keep/discard the stuff. At least that's what my lawyer said when I brought it up after my DF's death. My brother and I just got together and split the decent stuff and trashed the rest.

My DF had about 50 old EEbonds. I sent them to the Treasury and had my name put on them as co-owner. It took a couple of months before I got them back. Ended up not being necessary as they all matured (and redeemed) before he passed.
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Old 10-05-2021, 05:19 PM   #54
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You should be consulting with an estate planning atty , who perhaps also works with a CPA, who can walk you through options.
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Old 10-05-2021, 05:28 PM   #55
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Poor man’s living trust in California: (1) change the title of a house to a “lady bird deed” which designate a beneficiary. The title transfer is outside of California probate court. (2) set up your bank accounts to numerous POD or payable on death accounts for each heir. POD accounts designate a beneficiary which are also outside of probate. (3) add a beneficiary to pink slip of a car as a TOD or transfer upon Death. You can look up lady bird deed and DMV TOD pink slip ownership on the internet. (4) any assets not listed above that is less than $25,000 can be settled without California Probate Court. Note that I state “California”. Each state has their own probate laws. I recommend reading the Probate regulations in your state. If you do not understand these state regulations then you have to hire an attorney. The name of the game is to avoid a dispute among your heirs and to avoid Probate Court which can eat into the estate assets because attorneys are like sharks.
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Old 10-06-2021, 07:59 AM   #56
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After reading this thread about all the different between states. Sounds like the best options is to move to a state that more estate friendly and estate tax free.
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Old 10-06-2021, 08:05 AM   #57
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After reading this thread about all the different between states. Sounds like the best options is to move to a state that more estate friendly and estate tax free.

PA has a nasty inheritance tax, but is income tax friendly to retirees. Pay now or pay later. I’ll let my kids worry about the inheritance tax.
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Old 10-06-2021, 08:09 AM   #58
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Poor man’s living trust in California: (1) change the title of a house to a “lady bird deed” which designate a beneficiary. The title transfer is outside of California probate court. (2) set up your bank accounts to numerous POD or payable on death accounts for each heir. POD accounts designate a beneficiary which are also outside of probate. (3) add a beneficiary to pink slip of a car as a TOD or transfer upon Death. You can look up lady bird deed and DMV TOD pink slip ownership on the internet. (4) any assets not listed above that is less than $25,000 can be settled without California Probate Court. ...
An approach like this requires more maintenance than a will. Any changes with the beneficiaries, marriages, divorces, death, children attaining adulthood, etc must be dealt with wherever they are named and must be dealt with in a timely fashion. Most of these events can be anticipated and dealt with by the more complicated language in a will. Not all, of course.
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Old 10-06-2021, 08:12 AM   #59
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Maybe if there are illiquid assets you should sell them to the maximum extent possible and bequeath simpler assets.
While that sounds obvious, practically, it's maybe not that simple. Think of things you really enjoy - maybe cars. Do you get rid of them now so that they won't be an issue when you die? I think not. What about your collection of firearms? Do you get rid of them now or let them be handled in your estate? These and other relatively valuable possessions will eventually pass to other people to deal with. In our case, we have "possessions" with significant value in more than one state.

Also, we'd like our "possessions's" value to be added to our estate - not be passed down. The bulk of our estate will go to charities. I'd like to deal with a law firm that understands our thinking - not offer us a cookie-cutter trust. YMMV
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Old 10-06-2021, 08:53 AM   #60
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After reading this thread about all the different between states. Sounds like the best options is to move to a state that more estate friendly and estate tax free.
That's a classic case of letting the tax tail wag the dog. I'm going to live where I want to live, including all factors. Most of the factors are quality of life things. State income tax is a factor because it affects how much spendable money I have. Estate tax doesn't affect me at all, just my heirs. While I'd like to optimize my estate to leave them the most, I'm not going to uproot myself just to help them out.

At best it could be a tie breaker for where to live if all other factors are even.
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