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Estate Planning Seminar
Old 09-30-2021, 03:18 PM   #1
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Estate Planning Seminar

I will be attending an estate planning seminar and I'm ask for some advise on questions to ask. I'm very uneducated on the subject and looking for schooling and some questions that would be helpful.

Would appreciate any helpful questions that I may ask or school me on what to expect.

Thanks
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Old 09-30-2021, 03:32 PM   #2
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I'd recommend getting an estate planning book from the library before the seminar. Reading through it will help educate you in advance, and help you identify questions you have.
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Old 09-30-2021, 03:39 PM   #3
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Yes, I haven't checked out a book but have done some looking on the web. Just thought there maybe an issue or an event that has happened to someone that has went through the estate planning process.

Thank you for your help.
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Old 09-30-2021, 03:41 PM   #4
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One would hope the seminar would cover any basic questions we might come up with. If your situation is somehow out of the ordinary, like a special needs child, 2nd marriage with blended family, something like that, you want to ask about that if they don't cover it.
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Old 09-30-2021, 03:43 PM   #5
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Generally these sorts of things are somewhat veiled sales pitches for their product (annuities? whole life insurance? legal services for living trusts?).

There will be a general background presentation on the topic. Then about halfway through, there will be the introduction of the problem ("retirement income isn't guaranteed", "estate taxes may force you to sell", "probate is costly, time consuming, and public", respectively). This will be followed by a general "we can help" and an offer to meet with you individually to discuss your situation in more detail, which my cynical mind reframes as marketers qualifying prospects and scheduling follow-up meetings to close the sale.

I used to go to them until I realized that 99% of the time I knew everything the presenter said, and didn't need their product or services.

...

Yeah, read a book or two ahead of time, or just bring back what they say and ask here if how legitimate it is.
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Old 09-30-2021, 03:50 PM   #6
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It is through the a Foundation I'm a board member of and decided to attend in hopes to learning something. Presenter isn't a FA or related to any company in the business of selling policy or a product but is a lawyer. Maybe selling his service I don't know.
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Old 09-30-2021, 03:56 PM   #7
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Yeah, trusts and wills come to mind first.
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Old 09-30-2021, 04:03 PM   #8
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You've looked at the value of your estate? Does your state of residence tax estates? For instance, Oregon taxes estate amounts over 1M, Washington taxes estates over $2M, but Nevada doesn't tax at all.

You are married, yes? that may simplify things - or not.

In the past we went with joint tenancy on just about everything, but I've changed my primary residence to California, married the gal I've been with the last 43 years, and am going to re-title our California house as Community Property with right of survivorship vs Joint Tenant with right of survivorship. All kinds of little gotchas out there. We may even get a trust.

Good luck!
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Old 09-30-2021, 04:14 PM   #9
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You've looked at the value of your estate? Does your state of residence tax estates? For instance, Oregon taxes estate amounts over 1M, Washington taxes estates over $2M, but Nevada doesn't tax at all.

You are married, yes? that may simplify things - or not.

In the past we went with joint tenancy on just about everything, but I've changed my primary residence to California, married the gal I've been with the last 43 years, and am going to re-title our California house as Community Property with right of survivorship vs Joint Tenant with right of survivorship. All kinds of little gotchas out there. We may even get a trust.

Good luck!
Congratulations on your marriage! Curious how you popped the question, though... "you know, honey, we could save a lot of money if we got hitched..." was that it?
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Old 09-30-2021, 04:43 PM   #10
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Another did the right thing by retitling the house. I ran in the same situation when my wife died. If we had not titled it a Community property, only 50% of the house would get the stepped up basis.
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Old 09-30-2021, 05:22 PM   #11
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If it's through a foundation there may be a pitch for planned giving to the foundation- leaving them something in your will.

I saw one session on panned giving in which a young consultant who wasn't very reverent put up a slide saying, "R.I.P - R.O.I."
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Old 09-30-2021, 05:44 PM   #12
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TANSTAAFL. Foundation development staff may have an ulterior motive. Attorney almost certainly will. But, hey, free is a good price.

There is a sort of Catch 22 with legal and financial seminars. The people doing them are prospecting for customers, which probably means that they do not have enough referral business, which probably means that they are not the best and the brightest.

Take good notes, look for topics that you can research some more on your own, then do it. Use your personal network to find a trusts and estates specialist attorney with some miles on him/her. The more research you do and the smarter you are, the smaller your legal bill will be. But for all but the most simple situations, DIY planning is a bad idea. For one thing, any problems with the plan will not be detected until you are dead, too late to fix them.
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Old 09-30-2021, 05:51 PM   #13
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Congratulations on your marriage! Curious how you popped the question, though... "you know, honey, we could save a lot of money if we got hitched..." was that it?
Not far off. We've been a solid couple sans paper or government sanction for decades and it was a matter of preferring her to benefit by a substantial amount vs the state. Lawyer indicated that she could have constructed a trust that would have offered similar benefits but marriage was easier.
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Old 09-30-2021, 05:56 PM   #14
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Great advise so far. I will need to see a professional at some point but the estate planning will be of help. It will bring up questions and avenues that one can look at and should help in seeing what needs to be done. I plan at this time to leave some upon death to the foundation so doesn't bother me if I learn what I need to do there also.
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Old 09-30-2021, 06:44 PM   #15
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Start here. I've found NOLO to be a very good resource.

edit - forgot the link! https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclope...ng-an-overview

I'd suggest *not* to attend the seminar until you have some basic education on the topics that matter to you. Many of these seminars are designed to make you feel like it's oh-so-complex, and you need their help, and they're the only ones who can help you.

You likely will need professional assistance, but go in with some understanding so you can get what you want and not get the often hollow dog & pony show.

Hard to talk about specific questions, it depends on your needs/wants. But the NOLO guide should get you focused and learn the lingo, I think.

-ERD50
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Old 09-30-2021, 07:15 PM   #16
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ERD50 thanks for that link. You are right need to go in with some knowledge.
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Old 09-30-2021, 09:50 PM   #17
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I went to a couple that were offered by estate planning attorneys promoting their services with emphasis on Living Trusts. Pretty straight forward, no one size fits all solutions. They laid out their costs and offer discounts for attendees. No dinner, coffee maybe. Very educational. I followed up with a book from the library and considered a community college class so I could help a sibling but COVID shut everything down.
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Old 10-01-2021, 08:28 AM   #18
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I had set up a living trust because, with our home we had more than $1 M in assets. When they raised the Estate tax limit to $11 M, I was too lazy to get the trust changed.
My wife passed away, and the trust was divided into a Revocable trust and a QTIP trust. It was a PITA for a number of years until I dissolved both trusts.
I have remarried, and everything is now TOD with beneficiaries.
There is a term called per stirpes which is important. Here is why:
I have 2 sons, one with children, one without. They are both beneficiaries 50/50. If the one with children dies first, the children become beneficiaries with per stirpes.

Without that term, the other son would be the total beneficiary.
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Old 10-01-2021, 11:00 AM   #19
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This subject is important to me. We've been to several seminars and we DO think we need a living trust (or whatever it's called). We went to a lawyer who offered a "package" deal, but there were just too many questions and they didn't seem interested in helping us find the answers. They made it seem like "one size fits all" but it doesn't. Biggest issue for me is how to find someone to manage the trust as WE WANT after the second one dies. The law office said "Well just choose your most responsible child." That's when we knew we were in trouble. YMMV
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Old 10-01-2021, 11:07 AM   #20
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This subject is important to me. We've been to several seminars and we DO think we need a living trust (or whatever it's called). We went to a lawyer who offered a "package" deal, but there were just too many questions and they didn't seem interested in helping us find the answers. They made it seem like "one size fits all" but it doesn't. Biggest issue for me is how to find someone to manage the trust as WE WANT after the second one dies. The law office said "Well just choose your most responsible child." That's when we knew we were in trouble. YMMV

Yeah, get a new attorney that specializes in estate planning.
We chose Schwab as a corporate trustee and my Sister-in-law as cotrustee to help as a family member. We may change that to our younger son since hes now in his thirties and proving to be very responsible.
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