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Estate planning
Posted by: pbarra1
Date: April 18, 2012 03:07PM
Looking for advice for healthy 73 y o mom. Has about 500,000 to 750,000 assets from my dead father. Lives with a similar aged man with less than $1000 / month income. Wants estate to be divided between me and my brother. His kids think she buys cars and trips with his money while she actually used her money for both. I am executer and interested in finding the right person in or near barneget , nj to estate plan for her. How should I find someone. What do I look for. How much should it cost.
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Re: Estate planning
Posted by: btfc
Date: April 18, 2012 03:24PM
She can start giving you both the maximum allowable gift.

[wills.about.com]
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Re: Estate planning
Posted by: mattkime
Date: April 18, 2012 03:29PM
I will respond to all financial questions with the same response -

you will get better advice at bogleheads.org



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Re: Estate planning
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: April 18, 2012 03:40PM
Consult a pro. Her estate is below the problem zone for federal, but each state has various confiscatory rules. Also note that she should have enoug to survive on. Cohabitation is not espoused, so that may not be a factor. Tread carefully.

Mostly make sure she does not give away what SHE will need.
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Re: Estate planning
Posted by: Robert M
Date: April 18, 2012 05:51PM
pbarra,

CBelt is on the right track. Always, always, speak with a pro. Not just an estate planner but an attorney who specializes in elder law and estate planning. She needs a will, living will, the appropriate powers of attorney, etc. It can be very complicated and tricky, depending on the amount and, just as important, type of assets. For example, one of the things people forget is how their estate planning can impact other people and that's something that needs to be taken into consideration.

Robert
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Re: Estate planning
Posted by: Black
Date: April 18, 2012 05:55PM
OP:
How should I find someone. What do I look for. How much should it cost.
Forum:
Consult a pro! Consult a pro!
dunno smiley




New forum user map 8/2015: [www.zeemaps.com]
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Re: Estate planning
Posted by: DCrunch
Date: April 18, 2012 07:49PM
I just had a Revocable Living Trust drawn up. The trust document contains a Will, Living Will, Durable Power of Attorney, and Declaration of Trust which names me as the Primary Trustee and my daughter as Successor Trustee. The cost will be about $2,500. The initial visit with a trust attorney shouldn't cost her anything. My initial visit with a trust attorney was through my credit union. There was no pressure selling. If she encounters any, she should look elsewhere.
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Re: Estate planning
Posted by: Robert M
Date: April 19, 2012 07:20AM
DCrunch,

Why did you choose to put the docs into a living trust rather than keep them as stand-alone documents?

Black,

One of the reasons that nobody can answer PBarra1's question is because there are so many different ways to handle an estate. DCrunch has a Revocable Living Trust. I do not, though I'm intrigued to know his reason for choosing one.

Consulting a pro - the advice given - is the best advice. How to choose a pro is easy enough to find on the 'net. PBarra1 can doesn't need us to do that for him.

Finding a reputable pro may prove more difficult since you need to find someone in his area that is knowledgeable, experienced and current on elder law on both the state and federal law. I don't live in NJ, so I can't be of help to him beyond what I've posted already.

Robert



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/19/2012 07:24AM by Robert M.
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Re: Estate planning
Posted by: michaelb
Date: April 19, 2012 09:11AM
Unfortunately, seniors get lots of bad advice, including from pros, ie attorneys that specialize in estate planning. I should really have a stock answer but I don't, sorry.

for Seniors in the 500-750,000 range in assets, the most important consideration should be planning for long term care needs first, their long term income second, and not preserving assets for their children.

Long term care will run $8000 per month or so, so roughly $100,000 per year. Given our medical advances and how long folks are living, both very good things, seniors these days can reasonably expect to have long term care needs for 5-10 years or longer. If you have long term care insurance (tons of problems with that, but maybe better than nothing), that could ease the cost somewhat, so that is a critical piece to evaluate.

If the income and assets are not expected to be adequate to meet those long term needs, then the planning advice has to focus on Medicaid. Medicaid planning is complicated, but in this range is far more important than anything related to taxes or probate.
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Re: Estate planning
Posted by: Robert M
Date: April 19, 2012 09:39AM
Michael,

All too true. A pro still the best bet, even if some of them do offer bad advice. Estate planning can be very complicated. Same goes for managing long term care, medicaid planning, etc. That's why finding a reputable and experienced estate planner who is current on the laws and, I'll add, the programs involved, is key. Like I said, advice on how to choose one is readily available. Finding one that is suitable can be difficult.

Robert
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Re: Estate planning
Posted by: DCrunch
Date: April 19, 2012 04:29PM
Quote
Robert M
DCrunch,

Why did you choose to put the docs into a living trust rather than keep them as stand-alone documents?

Black,

One of the reasons that nobody can answer PBarra1's question is because there are so many different ways to handle an estate. DCrunch has a Revocable Living Trust. I do not, though I'm intrigued to know his reason for choosing one.

Consulting a pro - the advice given - is the best advice. How to choose a pro is easy enough to find on the 'net. PBarra1 can doesn't need us to do that for him.

Finding a reputable pro may prove more difficult since you need to find someone in his area that is knowledgeable, experienced and current on elder law on both the state and federal law. I don't live in NJ, so I can't be of help to him beyond what I've posted already.

Robert

I did a Living Trust to avoid probate. Probate is time consuming, can become costly and it is public. My brother passed away with a will. I was the executor of his will and worked with the lawyer. There were fees. It took me a year to finally be able to pass his funds to his children. When I die, my estate goes to my daughter. She just steps in and assumes everything. It is very private. The court is not involved at all. No one else has any idea what I had.

The living trust is part of my Estate Plan. The other documents are included in the plan. It's just a way to consolidate everything. What do you think will happen to your estate when you pass away? Do you own a home? Who would get it? How would they get it? Is it in your will?
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Re: Estate planning
Posted by: Robert M
Date: April 19, 2012 06:20PM
DCrunch,

Interesting. Sounds like an excellent idea. I'll have to ask my estate planner/attorney about that when I update my documents. I took care of it all many years ago and my situation has changed significantly for the better so it's time to update them accordingly.

Thanks,

Robert
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Re: Estate planning
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: April 19, 2012 06:39PM
When you have a living trust, can you add and subtract things yourself, or does the lawyer do it (for a fee?) I'm thinking about things like buying or selling a car, opening a new bank account, deciding you would like your daughter instead of your son to have your shotgun, etc?
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Re: Estate planning
Posted by: lafinfil
Date: April 19, 2012 11:12PM
Quote
Dennis S
When you have a living trust, can you add and subtract things yourself, or does the lawyer do it (for a fee?) I'm thinking about things like buying or selling a car, opening a new bank account, deciding you would like your daughter instead of your son to have your shotgun, etc?

First and foremost the most important document that you need are a durable power of attorney and a medical equivalent.

The laws vary from state to state but the NOLO site has good basic info to get you started. [www.nolo.com] I've been dealing with this for the last six months or so in regards to an uncle. I am his DPA & Med Representative. On the suggestion of our financial advisor we have been investigating a Living Trust. We have also met with a lawyer that I have known for years (specializes in trusts etc..) Exploring the pros and cons of Living Trust.

As far as your questions (and from my understanding) it depends on what the specific items involved are, but for the most part there are two things. A Pour Over Will that takes into account any thing that was left out of the original documentation (kind of a legal mop up) Example - you buy a new car you do not need to add it specifically. It gets poured over and added to the rest of the estate for distribution. The difference might be that your new car was a rare Bugatti worth 1.2 million and you do not want it to go to the general estate distribution, but want it to go to your mistress. In that case you would likely pay a lawyer a fee to add that to the directed gift pile.

It cost you either way. Wills are cheap up front because the lawyer figures that the executor will be back and they will make the fees for doing the probate work. Living Trusts cost more up front but if the execution is simple (uncontested - no multiple ex wife's etc ... not a lot of looming debt and other factors) then the executor can settle the estate without probate. This also saves the cost of a probate attorneys fees (up to 7% in my state) which is where the savings come in. The executor still has to do the paper work and perhaps hire accountants for final tax filings etc ... bt under the terms of the living trust those are allowable professional expenses. Some states (like mine) also offer unsupervised probate but it is still public for anyone that cares to dig.

As for the above YMMV - I am not a lawyer (my head would explode!)



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Re: Estate planning
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: April 20, 2012 07:49PM
Thanks, Phil.
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