Estate planning

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by Oggie, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. Oggie

    Oggie Waste of bandwidth Supporter

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    My father believes that if he leaves no documentation of a last will and testament, and all his heirs agree on the settlement of his estate, that probate court will not become involved.

    I believe the opposite. And my wife have spent the time and money necessary to set up a revocable trust that details our last wishes, reciprocal power of attorney, living will, etc.

    Is he correct? Have I been working with paint solvents for too long?
     
  2. DAVID In Wisconsin

    DAVID In Wisconsin Well-Known Member

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    Maybe it's a good thing that your father won't be around to see the total mess that he leaves behind. Without a valid will, the probate court will do as they please.
     

  3. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    Depends a lot on what and how how leaves it behind.
     
  4. MarleneS

    MarleneS Well-Known Member

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    You can probably find the laws of probate for your state online. Print out a copy and have your father read them :)

    From the voice of experience, you do not truly know your siblings until you attempt to settle your parents estate. Sometimes even with a will.

    Hugs
    marlene
     
  5. vonettrich

    vonettrich Well-Known Member

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    If your father dies without a will or trust, his estate will go through probate and (in most states) the Uniform Probate Code will apply. The UPC determines how the estate will be distributed. The big problem with going through probate, aside from taking a long time, is the cost to the estate in fees.

    My FIL is the same way - he absolutely refuses to have a will or trust. A few years before my MIL died, they decided to transfer title to their land in upstate NY to my husband and his brother, about 50 acres. My husband tried to tell them that it would be prudent to transfer it into a trust instead of an outright transfer, but my FIL said he didn't know what he was talking about. (By that time, I'd only been practicing tax and estate planning law for 10 years, for pete's sake). So, over my MIL's objections, they had a local lawyer draft new deeds which were recorded, transferring title to my husband and his brother. Of course, the local lawyer forgot that when he transferred title to the land, he forgot to mention the home that sits on the land, the home my parents-in-law resided in. So he drafted new deeds, reserving a life estate in the home for them, and filed them as well. I guess he forgot that they had already transferred and recorded ownership of all the land and thought they could just have a "do-over." What a mess. Oh well, it's not my land or my estate, FIL can do whatever he wants with it.
     
  6. Wildwood Flower

    Wildwood Flower Halfway, OR & Wagoner, OK

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    "From the voice of experience, you do not truly know your siblings until you attempt to settle your parents estate. Sometimes even with a will."

    AMEN to that one! It's already started in our family, since our Mother died. Dad's still here. He has a will--thank heaven! But all of the "stuff" is causing the problems. One sister is "cleaning away clutter". ...including selling some treasured artifacts of my Dad's on eBay. Everybody's up in arms.

    No will is just a chance for the state to take a bunch of cash and take a whole bunch of time doing it.

    One of my brothers is the executor and he also has power of attorney. We all trust this brother--he's a good guy and will be fair. Poor Bro...he has to listen to everybody's crap.

    About the stuff: We finally made up a "gift list" which does not need to be included in the will, but must be mentioned that there is one. It's simply a list of smaller things--who get what....signed by the giftee.

    To change the gift list, all that has to be done is make a new one and destroy the old one.
     
  7. Oggie

    Oggie Waste of bandwidth Supporter

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    Thanks everyone,

    I just needed a little confirmation that I'm headed in the right direction. Hopefully, my father will explore the idea a bit after the holidays. My concern was sparked by a sparse will he sent to all his sons and daughter that roughly outlined his wishes. He asked that the document be help strictly sub rosa.

    From my own experience, it was difficult for my wife and me to detail our wishes. Our estate is much smaller and we are, obviously, still living. The thought of dealing with the loss of my parents would be bad enough. Trying to sort out their far-flung estate and distribute it to five siblings in four states doesn't make much sense to me.

    I think my father is reluctant to plan because he has a great distrust of lawyers and the act of planning quickly brings him face-to-face with his mortality. But if we are to carry out what he wants after his death, I think we need to know clearly what that is.
     
  8. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    Well you didnt say much about what he has to deal with but the phrases" their far-flung estate" and "five siblings in four states " are HUGE warning calls! I might remind you that besides the siblings their spouces parents and children and their spouces and all their neighbors will eventually get into this.
    Try this as a heads up for Dad have him call each siblings youngest adult decendant and ask that person "What do you think (that sibling) should get from my estate?
    I doubt if he will call more than two before he sees the war about to happen.
    Now if your parents had no deeded or titled property property he might get away with it.
     
  9. Oggie

    Oggie Waste of bandwidth Supporter

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    I don't think the estate would be disputed by my siblings. I'm more concerned that we would not know what all was even in the estate and that probate would eat far more than my father expects.
     
  10. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

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    Your father is giving you a legacy - one that will not be forgotten and will create something to talk about for a long time! For goodness sakes, if he doesn't trust lawyers, you can always download a will from the internet, fill in all viable information, DATE IT! and make sure that several people have a copy of it!

    Getting the state involved is NOT a good thing! Besides the time involved, they also take their "fair" share and it gets distributed how the state's laws are.

    Believe me, the whole thing will be one huge MESS if there is no will. Of course, your father won't be the one who has to worry about the mess either! ;) :D
     
  11. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    they just had something on tv about no wills they said without one it could take 2 years and 10,000 dollors
     
  12. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    ASide from the will issue is the farflung real estate etc. I keep an updated 'ESTATE' document listing all our accounts and possessions so in the unlikely event one of our secondary executors gets called in they can keep our bills paid and get our kids all that we own not miss out on some account somewhere, and make sure things (jewelry cars) haven't been filched before they step in. Email them the file very few years to keep with their copies of our wills.

    EXpect that if I died this list would also be helpful to DH, and eventually for our kds when they are old enough to be the executors.