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Old 04-05-2021, 02:57 PM   #21
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I am currently going through probate as the executor of my father's estate (he had a will) and just started the process to complete my own will & trust. Like you, I am single with only a sister and two nieces as direct family to name as heirs. My plan is to name beneficiaries on all of my accounts, with charities getting the tax deferred funds, and family getting the rest. That just leaves the real property to deal with in the will.

Regarding who to name as the executor, I discussed this with my attorney and, first of all, he can't fill that role since he is already an interested party. He suggested that a CPA might be a good choice over an attorney, but that for this first pass, we decided to use my sister even though she is 2 years older than me. I am hoping to live a lot longer! and therefore this first will doesn't need to be very sophisticated.

I am paying for the attorney via legal insurance that I signed up for through work. The ~$17 monthly fee has already paid for itself several times over. My attorney's billing rate is in excess of $200/Hr, so if you can get a basic will created for $1,200 from an attorney that you like, that sounds like a good deal.
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Old 04-05-2021, 03:50 PM   #22
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... he can't fill that role since he is already an interested party. ...
Hmm ... Our attorney, deliberately selected to be younger will be our executor, no problem. And if she is not able, her firm will handle the work. This is ideal for us as she did the plan and knows our goals and preferences.

I would think of an "interested party" as one who was a beneficiary or had some other financial conflict. Obviously YMMV.
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Old 04-05-2021, 04:55 PM   #23
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Hmm ... Our attorney, deliberately selected to be younger will be our executor, no problem. And if she is not able, her firm will handle the work. This is ideal for us as she did the plan and knows our goals and preferences.

I would think of an "interested party" as one who was a beneficiary or had some other financial conflict. Obviously YMMV.
Yes the attorney I talked to often acts as executor as having a beneficiary do it can lead to conflicts and family arguments. He said the ideal person is a close friend who is financially literate and has no vested interest other than any agreed fee.
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Old 04-05-2021, 05:18 PM   #24
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Interesting topic. I had a phone conversation this weekend with a very good, long term friend about just this stuff. She's updated her estate documents. She has no immediate family (no kids, only child, parents have passed.) She wanted to make sure I'd still be willing to be trustee/executor for her stuff. She knows I'm honest and will follow the documents. She has another friend that lives close to her - but is overwhelmed with her own family needs - so she declined the job - but accepted the medical health care directive duties.

If I'd said no, she would have taken the attorney route to settle her estate... but she knew I'd do right by her pets.... finding homes for them.

I hadn't really thought about how much easier it is if you have family you trust. My sister is our backup trustee, and we have a nephew who will step in if necessary. May update this in a few years to one or both of the kids - but as very young adults - we're not there yet on giving them the responsiblity.
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Old 04-05-2021, 05:19 PM   #25
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To set things up the cost is $1200 which I think is very reasonable. I need to ask and understand the executor fees.
That seems very reasonable. We were told that in our case if the family executor/trustee needs help they can hire an attorney or CPA as needed.
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Old 04-05-2021, 05:19 PM   #26
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@nun, My puzzlement was the idea that @NoiseBoy's attorney said he was an "interested party."m

+1 regarding mixing family members and money. It can get really bad if a family member is a trustee and has discretionary authority over providing money to another family member.
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Old 04-05-2021, 06:29 PM   #27
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Thankfully this person had an honest executor, as my parents never would have known if the letter had not arrived.

So please tell your relatives/friends/etc that they are mentioned in your Will.

Just imagine if the postman had lost the letter, or the lawyer was dishonest, or the lawyer's clerk was dishonest/forgetful/lazy.
I've an atty. pal or two.
If actions have few consequences money always disappears, the executor charges whatevers left to administer its dispersal, etc., etc. /ETC.
Unintended consequences happen repeatedly concerning estates monies disappearance.

Another pals brother whom he despised absorbed all his assets in FLA. My pal was shot 5 times, died on the table. No children, nada, only his brother was left & he absorbed everything. Home on water, 2 boats, 2 autos, & a business run for fun! I bet my pal rolled over, and killed himself again on the island he was buried on. It was only an island @ low tide, at high tide it was underwater.
https://www.miamiherald.com/latest-n...le1946949.html

An accounts T.O.D, or P.O.D designation is prudent, or you can currently establish joint names on these accounts to help prohibit its theft by anyone. Wills mean nothing against TOD/POD designations, nationally. afaik.

The joint owner option has no need to know this info till you're gone either, they can be a secondary on this account.

I've heard of Atty's skirting laws and becoming wealthy on their clients demise. These people know how to do it, see ea. other frequently, & want to remain cordial. Peer pressure and all. It's sickening, I've no dog in this fight. As many professionals know, others you know in your profession you'll likely see again, and you may want a favor from.

A custodian akin to VG, FIDO, Blackrock, BOA, Schwab, or the like disperses it when they're aware.
Unless thats their dispersion dispositions fee...
JMO

Good Luck & best wishes....
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Old 04-06-2021, 07:57 AM   #28
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Hmm ... Our attorney, deliberately selected to be younger will be our executor, no problem. And if she is not able, her firm will handle the work. This is ideal for us as she did the plan and knows our goals and preferences.

I would think of an "interested party" as one who was a beneficiary or had some other financial conflict. Obviously YMMV.
My attorney is much younger than me, so that was part of my thinking too. I have several good friends that I trust, who are more financially savvy than my sister, but they are all the same age as, or older than me. Since my goal for this first pass is mainly to get a person or charity named as the direct beneficiary on all of my accounts, my executor should end up only having to deal with my real property, which amounts to roughly 5% of the estate. It sounds like I might want to consult with a different attorney when I'm ready to make some adjustments to this first will.
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Old 04-06-2021, 09:45 AM   #29
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Hopefully you have given your trustees some flexibility with this. For example, if a beneficiary becomes terminally ill, you would probably approve of your money being used for care and support. Or a beneficiary becoming disabled and needing home care. A completely fixed disbursement schedule prevents a trustee from modifying disbursement plans to suit unexpected events, at least short of going to court and asking the judge to change the rules of the trust.
Thank you @OldShooter - those are great points, and honestly, I hadn't thought about those specific situations occurring. My trust will be re-written in 10 years, and I will be sure to include the points you made with my attorney.

Currently, the Trustees do have some freedom with regards to when/why disbursements can be made, but a few specifics have been laid out (due to my specific situation).
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Old 04-06-2021, 09:47 AM   #30
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If you know when you will die then you can time the gifts just right...
If only we had a crystal ball (that was accurate)!!
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Old 04-06-2021, 09:59 AM   #31
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Thank you @OldShooter - those are great points, and honestly, I hadn't thought about those specific situations occurring.
Thanks for the flowers ... The real point is that we can't foresee all the things that might happen. I think a common way is to include "HEMS" type language authorizing disbursements for Health, Education, Maintenance and Support. (https://trustandwill.com/learn/hems-trust) There is a lot of trust law around this, but in the end what you decide to put in the trust document governs.

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My trust will be re-written in 10 years, and I will be sure to include the points you made with my attorney.
Good plan. Just make sure the rewrite is complete and signed on the day before you die.
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Old 04-09-2021, 04:07 PM   #32
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I recommend finding an attorney that specializes in estate planning.
I have both a sister-in-law and Schwab as co-trustees of the estate. Schwab along with my attorney will guide my sister-in-law for the immediate family decisions and issues and Schwab will manage the heavy duty finance and tax issues. My attorney has the power of being a protector and can fire Schwab if they don’t do their job, which is unlikely.
We paid an atty. You will need a witness or two to finalize the will including the trustee and co trustee if applicable
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Old 04-09-2021, 05:33 PM   #33
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I'm 59 and have been retired for 7 years. I've become comfortable with my retirement finances and now I'm worrying about wills, estate planing and inheritance. I'm single and don't have any children so I will be leaving money to my nieces and some charities. I have a basic will from a long time ago and have beneficiaries on all my accounts, but the value of my house and the size of the estate means that some extra planning is probably necessary. I am giving money up to the annual limits and if I have the opportunity I will give away large amounts before I die, but that's something that we often can't plan for.

I'm interested in what other people have done. Did you use online software or a local lawyer and if so how did you choose them. Did you use your lawyer as the executor or ask a friend or relative to do it?
Have a looked into The Giving Pledge by Warren Buffet?
*not sure what the entry-requirements are
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Old 04-10-2021, 02:47 AM   #34
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I am also a believer in hiring an attorney. I'm in your same situation--I really DO want most of my money to go to charities but of course have no idea how much I'll need to use my savings. I did an estate plan ($1200-1500) which may not have been necessary but it felt right to me. The attorney would not act as executor. I took part of my taxable savings and listed about 10 kids of friends to get various percentages and decided on a (certificated) professional fiduciary to be the executor. I feel it's easier than having someone who may or may not still be nearby 20 (+?) years from now. I can always change that. For my retirement accounts, I chose a Foundation whose granting process I admire and put them in charge of distributing that money to a few particular charities. So the money goes to the Foundation (I guess I"d call them POD's). They take a small cut (which is my way of donating to them) and then distribute the funds to the charities I"ve designated in a letter. This is a great process as I can revise my letter at any time (change charities or change percentages each gets) without needing to go to an attorney. If retirement money goes to a charity, no taxes are paid. I think I'm remembering the details correctly. Hope so!
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Old 04-10-2021, 05:14 AM   #35
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Having just gone through an expensive planning and will process, I have the following suggestions:

1) identify the largest safest trust company in your region.

2) use a full time lawyer they recommend that is a specialist will designer at the top of their game. Not someone doing wills as a side or retirement gig. Discuss performance parameters for timeline.

3) structure things under the assumption all the players are sociopathic dug addicts, including the Trust Company. ie have trusted child/niece/young friend and Trust Company as co-executors to keep an eye on each other.

4) as much as possible structure asset deeds to automatically pass to beneficiaries, but revocably. Use Enhanced Trust Lady Birds in states that have it. Account for divorces and deaths at any time.

5) consider how executorís personal life will be affected by resentment or temptation.

6) consider a Trust provision for elderly relatives you manage the affairs of in case you predecease them.

7) disperse non assets as auction to beneficiaries

8) when setting cash amount versus property legacies, be reminded that the relative value will divert over decades significantly.

9) be mindful of the love of excess money displacing an appetite for life, and rather use money to get done what you are here to do, in the time you have left. ie experiences, travel, aesthetics, relationships
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Old 04-10-2021, 08:25 AM   #36
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How complex the planning needs to be depends on the dollars involved. If the estate is above $11.7 million you should probably use an attorney specializing in estate planning. Anonymous internet posters with limited experience are giving you suggestions. Some are more knowledgeable than others. If you can use beneficiary designations and trusts to get any probatable estate into the small estate category for your state it becomes much simpler.
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Old 04-10-2021, 09:13 AM   #37
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How complex the planning needs to be depends on the dollars involved. If the estate is above $11.7 million you should probably use an attorney specializing in estate planning. Anonymous internet posters with limited experience are giving you suggestions. Some are more knowledgeable than others. If you can use beneficiary designations and trusts to get any probatable estate into the small estate category for your state it becomes much simpler.
I don't think the federal estate tax threshold is a good primary criterion. For one thing, there are state estate taxes with lower thresholds. But more importantly, an estate plan can be needed to deal with other family complexity. Special needs beneficiary, blended family -- his, hers, and their children, protecting bequeathed assets from spendthrifts or legal action, etc. In most cases, trusts do not reduce the value of an estate but, regardless, this is not an area for amateurs, web site lawyering, or SGOTI.
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Old 04-10-2021, 09:34 AM   #38
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I don't think the federal estate tax threshold is a good primary criterion. For one thing, there are state estate taxes with lower thresholds. But more importantly, an estate plan can be needed to deal with other family complexity. Special needs beneficiary, blended family -- his, hers, and their children, protecting bequeathed assets from spendthrifts or legal action, etc. In most cases, trusts to not reduce the value of an estate but, regardless, this is not an area for amateurs, web site lawyering, or SGOTI.
Not a good sole criteria. Not sure if you read the OP. Adult nieces no children. Agree that an actual attorney with consultation about the details is warranted.
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