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4 Ways To Improve Your Estate Plan

artringwald

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Here's another way. Attend one of the free seminars offered by many estate planners. Unlike timeshare presentations, there's good information and no obligation. If you do want to find out more, many estate planners will offer a free 1 hour consultation. They'll give you plenty of reasons to use their firm, but it's still easier saying no to them than saying no to a timeshare sales rep.
 

Icc5

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Many people have a trust but do you fund it? I'm currently dealing wit the estate of my oldest brother and not having fun. After many years my youngest brother and myself convinced him to have a trust made and he finally did a few years ago. When he passed away and I started trying to find his assets he only had one thing in the trust which was 1/5 interest in a house we all owned. He had an investment account with no Benificiarys and not in the trust. He had a few shares of stock outside his investment account that I only find out about when a dividend shows up. He had an account with only my youngest brother's name on it (younger brother had passed over a year before the older brother).
He had a big retirement account that listed our siblings and never changed it after the youngest passed.
By not changing Benificiarys the youngest brothers wife and family were left out. (Most advisors say not to put a retirement account into a trust but please pay attention to it and to whom it goes to if something happens to you).
Even his trust had my youngest brother as executor even though he had passed. This was a problem and nobody would talk to me until we got a court order even though I was the next executor in line written into the trust.
We have had to get several judges orders to allow accounts to go into the trust and to allow me to be executor. I also have to have both brother's death certificates to use at each account.
Fix your trust and what's in it now because it's too late later.
 

bogey21

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I solved this problem with 3 simple steps. First, I gave away all my assets to my kids and ex-wife about 20 years ago. Second, I have a small Life Insurance Policy to cover my cremation. And Third, my Bank Accounts are all JTWROS with my kids. Bottom line is that when I die there is essentially nothing to do...

George
 

bbodb1

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@LCC5 Am I correct in assuming it is NOT the trust which is the problem here, rather the execution (or lack of same) in transferring assets into the trust which was the issue?

I ask this because we are considering a trust for our needs.... Thanks.
 

SmithOp

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@LCC5 Am I correct in assuming it is NOT the trust which is the problem here, rather the execution (or lack of same) in transferring assets into the trust which was the issue?

I ask this because we are considering a trust for our needs.... Thanks.
Its more than transferring assets, its also making sure all the Beneficiary designations are up to date.

Its interesting that he was named 2nd beneficiary and still had issues because his deceased younger brother was the primary. I’m going to check all mine, I think we have named beneficiaries then the trust on our retirement accounts. Dont forget insurance payouts also, a lot of accounts have small death benefit payouts included.


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VacationForever

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We have everything in our trust except for timeshare and my husband's small Computershare account which he kept saying that he would sell everything and close the account. I don't think that is going to happen but if he goes before closing the account I will just have to deal with it. It is our intention to get rid of all timeshare in about 10 years when we start to slow down.
 

klpca

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We get in to see our attorney every 5 - 7 years to go over the trust, and update everything. Mentioning the issue with the brother who passed away is a good reminder for everyone - dealing with the death would be bad enough, but now you have to remember to update any relevant accounts.

My dad (no assets, no trust) recently wanted to talk about his cremation and told me that he was going to use the same place that they used for his late wife - only problem is that it's 100 miles away from where he now lives with my sibling. I told him thanks for letting me know, but that it would be best if he chose somewhere closer to where one of us kids live. He's pretty healthy so he's definitely jumping the gun. :D

It would be nice if folks considered what their executors will have to do to settle their affairs and try their best to make it easy after their passing. One can dream, lol.
 

taterhed

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We have everything in our trust except for timeshare and my husband's small Computershare account which he kept saying that he would sell everything and close the account. I don't think that is going to happen but if he goes before closing the account I will just have to deal with it. It is our intention to get rid of all timeshare in about 10 years when we start to slow down.
Remember.....if some assets are not JTWROS....you may have to probate to control the assets.
Ask me how I know.?
 

tiel

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It would be nice if folks considered what their executors will have to do to settle their affairs and try their best to make it easy after their passing. One can dream, lol.
This is my biggest concern for our estates. We have no children, just two nieces, both of whom live elsewhere...one in a different state, and one overseas. The closer niece has agreed to be our executor, the other one secondary. But logistically it won't be easy for either of them to handle estate matters. And at this point, we have timeshares in four (4) different states, plus one in Aruba! We plan to get rid of these timeshares before we die, but, well, you never know when that might be.

I was the executor for the estates of my mother and two sisters, all of whom lived in a different state. Fortunately for me, none of them had a significant number of assets or any debt, so the estates weren't complex, yet closing them took a fair amount of time and effort.
 

WinniWoman

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We were going to put our new home in a trust. I called the attorney and we had an extensive FREE phone consult and it was decided we really did not need a trust as most everything we have has a beneficiary designation or a POD or TOD designation. (except the cars and house)

Also, the attorney who did our closing also said it was a waste for the most part and said the probate process is not that big of a deal in most simple cases. And as long as you have a designated power of atty all should be fine. Of course, it depends on the state you live in also and individual circumstances.

So- I decided I might do something like my mom always did- she presigned the titles to her car! The attorney thought this was very interesting!

So the house will just stay in our names. We have a will and all that but we will update it once we move because we need to update the power of attorney form my husband has to add a secondary executor since his sister was the one and she has since passed away.

As I mentioned in another thread. I have created a letter of instruction that I keep updated. Where things are, what I want done with my cremation, user names. passwords and phone numbers and account numbers- an endless list that needs constant updatng! Saved to the computer, a USB and printed out occasionally.

My husband chose not to do one for himself out of laziness so oh well...others will have to make decisions whether he likes it or not. Of course, he will be dead so won't know. LOL!

I have a few other things I should do, but frankly i am tired if all this stuff. It's on the list for another time.
 
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VacationForever

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Remember.....if some assets are not JTWROS....you may have to probate to control the assets.
Ask me how I know.?
I am aware of that hence the Computershare account may be problematic if it is not closed by then. All timeshare except for one that is in my sole name, is JTWROS. That one I told my husband to just abandon it if I die first.
 

rapmarks

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I had to change my powers of attorney, medical and financial, to remove my husband because he is unable to make decisions. It really hurt.
I had to jump through a lot of extra hoops because my aunt listed me second,and her sister who developed Alzheimer’s first. Even with doctors notes I had problems, banks said the doctors signature wasn’t notarized.
 

Icc5

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Glad to see my post has caused some people to think about where their assets will go. Today I had to have a few things motorized and in talking to the person at the credit union they did like my brother on his retirement account and only named the first people not thinking about what if something happens to them. She is now going to review her accounts.
I'm in California and if we have to end up in probate we may have to pay or lose $45,000. Not my money but my brother always felt he worked hard for his so I think he should have planned better. I spent 4 hours today just to hopefully have $$115 of one stock transferred and sold and put into his trust. It's so stupid because he has 800 shares of this same stock with a broker. So definitely the Trust isn't the problem but execution and follow thru to make the trust work.
 

klpca

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Glad to see my post has caused some people to think about where their assets will go. Today I had to have a few things motorized and in talking to the person at the credit union they did like my brother on his retirement account and only named the first people not thinking about what if something happens to them. She is now going to review her accounts.
I'm in California and if we have to end up in probate we may have to pay or lose $45,000. Not my money but my brother always felt he worked hard for his so I think he should have planned better. I spent 4 hours today just to hopefully have $$115 of one stock transferred and sold and put into his trust. It's so stupid because he has 800 shares of this same stock with a broker. So definitely the Trust isn't the problem but execution and follow thru to make the trust work.
We originally set up our trust after the mom of my good friend passed away. The mom had correctly funded her trust and it was so easy for her daughters after her unexpected passing. So of course the absolute last thing that we finally transferred into our trust was our main checking account, even though I knew better. We finally did it last year and there were many issues with automatic transfers etc, but it's done now. Otherwise everything - except our liquid cash - would have been in the trust. Which would have negated a lot of the reason to have the trust in the first place.
 

VacationForever

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Our trust was set up when we were in California. Now that we have moved out of state we will need to check with an estate trust lawyer as to whether we need to make changes. We will start with our financial advisor when we see him.
 
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Luanne

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Our trust was set up when we were in California. Now that we have moved out of state we will need to check with an estate lawyer as to whether we need to make changes. We will start with our financial advisor when we see him.
We updated our trust when we moved from California to New Mexico. Both are community property states, so it wasn't difficult.
 

rapmarks

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When we moved to Florida, lawyer filed an amendment declaring our domicile was in Florida and registered it in the county. We funded the trust fully except for second home and two vacant lots, lawyer gave us unrecorded deeds for those properties which were to be filed by our trustee in case of our deaths.
I don’t understand any problems having checking account in the trust, we have had for over twenty years.
 

bbodb1

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We originally set up our trust after the mom of my good friend passed away. The mom had correctly funded her trust and it was so easy for her daughters after her unexpected passing. So of course the absolute last thing that we finally transferred into our trust was our main checking account, even though I knew better. We finally did it last year and there were many issues with automatic transfers etc, but it's done now. Otherwise everything - except our liquid cash - would have been in the trust. Which would have negated a lot of the reason to have the trust in the first place.
Would you please expand on this a bit? Why did this cause trouble? Again, I am asking because one of the points I took away from a recent trust presentation I attended was that pretty much everything needed to be put in the name of the trust so it could be addressed by the terms of the trust. I do recall the mention of a pour-over will to cover those items NOT mentioned in the trust but if the trust is set up properly, shouldn't paying your ongoing bills be a fairly simple conversion of the name on the account? Or does that cause some issues with creditors?
 

klpca

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Would you please expand on this a bit? Why did this cause trouble? Again, I am asking because one of the points I took away from a recent trust presentation I attended was that pretty much everything needed to be put in the name of the trust so it could be addressed by the terms of the trust. I do recall the mention of a pour-over will to cover those items NOT mentioned in the trust but if the trust is set up properly, shouldn't paying your ongoing bills be a fairly simple conversion of the name on the account? Or does that cause some issues with creditors?
None of my issues had anything to do with the trust other than updating the information and getting a new account number. And the reason that I said that I knew better was that I absolutely knew that everything needed to be in the trust and I methodically took care of that - with everything *except* our checking account. I didn't want to deal with the hassle (and it was a hassle) but thank goodness, it's done now. For some reason, the local branch of our financial institution seemed puzzled when we needed to retitle the checking account (they are a huge national financial institution - how are they not doing this every day?). Ultimately it required a new account number, which required me to update everything linked to that account (auto payments, debit cards etc). Of course I missed one or two which caused issues when they were presented against the old account that just had a couple hundred $$ in it. It took about 3 months to shake out. Last week I found (hopefully) the last account that I missed - a Nordstrom debit card that I rarely use. Surprise!

I know that titling of timeshares is kind of a gray area and I have always wondered if the pour over provisions in most people's wills will put those timeshares into the living trust anyway? Full disclosure, ours are titled in the name of the trust just in case we still own them after we pass. Our plan is to get rid of them before we die (lol - best laid plans...) but I want our executors to have the ability to ditch them quickly by giving them away and not having to figure out if they need to be probated in four states. This goes against the TUG wisdom, but our attorney wanted it this way.
 

rapmarks

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We didn’t have to change checking account numbers when we converted to a trust, orany of our other accounts either.
 

klpca

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We didn’t have to change checking account numbers when we converted to a trust, orany of our other accounts either.
Yeah, it was totally ridiculous. They said it was because it went from an individual account to a fiduciary account. Which is technically true, but a living trust is totally revocable during our lives so it hardly feels like a "trust", but they were quite insistent about this.
 

bbodb1

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Thank you for that extra info, Katherine!
I think we will be taking this plunge soon (setting up a trust) so I am reading and learning as much as possible now.
 

WinniWoman

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I think I read somewhere in another thread a while ago not to put timeshares in a trust if you or your heirs hope to get rid of them. Your heirs can simply refuse the inheritance.
 
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