estate planning

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mchampse
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estate planning

Post by mchampse » Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:56 pm

Can anyone suggest a good resource or suggest if I should see an attorney?

I'm in my 30s, own a home and probably have enough in assets to consider some sort of living trust.

Thanks!

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ryan
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see a lawyer

Post by ryan » Mon Mar 12, 2007 6:28 pm

I am an attorney and I'd advise you to see one. It is very difficult for people to give you legal advice over a forum and most lawyers would never do that...including me.

A lawyer will tell you whether you need a will, trust etc. Further, the inital visit with the lawyer will likely be free, or at least cost very little. I'd reccomend that you ask around at work or ask your friends for some lawyer reccomendations. Visit several and then make up your mind.

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arrete
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Post by arrete » Mon Mar 12, 2007 6:48 pm

I'm not an attorney, and I suggest you see one - especially if you are trying to skip a generation when passing on $$$. It's also a good time to get the will up to date and medical directives. Only problem is the tax code keeps changing, but that always happens.

Kathy
Quando omni flunkus moritati

mchampse
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recommendations?

Post by mchampse » Mon Mar 12, 2007 6:54 pm

Anyone have any estate lawyers in the bay area (preferably San Francisco)? Also, are there any online resources to read? I'd like to read up first prior to seeing an attorney (realizing that the attorney will know way more)

Laura
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Book Recommendation

Post by Laura » Mon Mar 12, 2007 7:00 pm

I learned a lot by reading Planning your Estate from the Nolo series. They also have something on a Living Trust. You can find them at http://www.nolo.com/.

Laura
The views presented are my own and not necessarily those of the Department of State or the U.S. Government.

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orthros
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Post by orthros » Mon Mar 12, 2007 7:51 pm

I echo the advice given here: get a lawyer to help.

That said, the biggest issue you'll have is finding a good lawyer.

Mine was disbarred 2 years ago :shock: Guess I should be glad I didn't pay him much.

Soooo, lawyers and others on the board: how do you find a good lawyer?

sport
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Post by sport » Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:10 pm

orthros wrote:I echo the advice given here: get a lawyer to help.

That said, the biggest issue you'll have is finding a good lawyer.

Mine was disbarred 2 years ago :shock: Guess I should be glad I didn't pay him much.

Soooo, lawyers and others on the board: how do you find a good lawyer?
I believe the best way to find a good lawyer is to ask another lawyer to recommend one. If you find a lawyer that does not specialize in the area you need, he/she should have no problem with such a recommendation. If you have a friend who is a lawyer, that would be a good place to start.

Best wishes,
Jeff

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Sheepdog
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Here are some on-line reading sources

Post by Sheepdog » Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:49 pm

I have an estate plan setup by an attorney who specializes in them. Most lawyers can make one, but most are not specialists. Get a specialist.
Here are some on-line items which I read before seeing an attorney.
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys http://www.naela.com/ This is where I found my attorney.
Estate Planning Learning Center http://estateplanning.com/insureveryone/ I learned a lot here.
Elder Law Discussion forum http://www.elderlawanswers.com/board/de ... category=5 Here you will find discussions on estate planning and other issues.
The Estate Plan http://www.theestateplan.com/ This is an advertisement, but you can learn something there.
Jim
It's not what you gather, but what you scatter which tells what kind of life you have lived---Helen Walton

ThinBlueLine
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Special Needs Trusts

Post by ThinBlueLine » Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:05 pm

Anyone have experience setting up a Special Needs Trust? How much did legal fees cost, do you think you need an attorney who specializes in this or in Elder Law? Any feedback is appreciated. I have had people tell me any estate planning lawyer will suffice and specialists tell me to only trust someone who specializes in Special Needs Trusts (but they have a vested interest in saying this so it goes round and round.....) My son, who has autism will turn 18 in 2 years and I must have this done before then. I anticipate some problems getting his mother, my ex-wife, on board so want to get the process started. I've read the NOLO book on SNTs and a few on revocable trusts and speak with many fellow parents of children w/autism but they are divided. Parents of children w/autism are generally an easy target for unscrupulous practices due to the desperation factor and I've seen parents drop a LOT of money on attorneys for what could well be boilerplate modified with a few billable hours work.
Schicklegroover

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DaleMaley
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Post by DaleMaley » Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:09 pm

Back in 1999, I researched estate planning and read about 5 books on the subject.

The best book I found to explain this rather arcane area of the law was 60 Minute Estate Planner by Sandy Kraemer.

I like this book primarily because of the neat flow charts it uses to explain how the various forms of trusts work.

We ended up setting up bypass trusts, which also have the flexibility to accept or decline an inheritance into the survivor's trust, depending on the tax laws at the time.

Definitely find an attorney who specializes in estate planning. I found mine through an Internet search, including being a member of Elder Law group.
Most investors, both institutional and individual, will find that the best way to own common stocks is through an index fund that charges minimal fees. – Warren Buffett

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DaleMaley
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Post by DaleMaley » Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:18 pm

An intriguing viewpoint of estate planning.......Paul Merriman's 500 year estate plan........ http://tinyurl.com/2wvlao

Food for thought
Most investors, both institutional and individual, will find that the best way to own common stocks is through an index fund that charges minimal fees. – Warren Buffett

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Mel Lindauer
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Re: Book Recommendation

Post by Mel Lindauer » Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:24 pm

Laura wrote:I learned a lot by reading Planning your Estate from the Nolo series. They also have something on a Living Trust. You can find them at http://www.nolo.com/.

Laura
I second Laura's recommendation for this fine book. You need to have solid information before you see an attorney, and this book gives you that in spades.

Regards,

Mel

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ryan
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Post by ryan » Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:29 pm

jsl11 wrote:
orthros wrote:I echo the advice given here: get a lawyer to help.

That said, the biggest issue you'll have is finding a good lawyer.

Mine was disbarred 2 years ago :shock: Guess I should be glad I didn't pay him much.

Soooo, lawyers and others on the board: how do you find a good lawyer?
I believe the best way to find a good lawyer is to ask another lawyer to recommend one. If you find a lawyer that does not specialize in the area you need, he/she should have no problem with such a recommendation. If you have a friend who is a lawyer, that would be a good place to start.

Best wishes,
Jeff
Two comments:

(1) The NOLO series is excellent. This series provides numerous guides for lay people for various areas of law. As Mel pointed out, reading one of these before seeing a lawyer will help you because you'll have a better idea of what's out there and what you might be interested in. Two words of caution: (1) be careful that you don't get fired up and decide to do it yourself; (2) and avoid being like the patient who sees the TV ad about the latest, greatest drug and then demands that their doctor give them a prescription for that exacty drug--sometimes the doctor may have a better idea that you should at least hear out. Same with the lawyer. Excellent estate planning attorneys are adept at determining what it is you want and then finding that legal techinques to make that happen. In short, don't read the NOLO and think you know everything you need. There are so many pitfalls and tax oddities that you really need a specialist's help.

(2) But how to find a specialist? A good way to find lawyers is to look at publications that rank lawyers according to their peers' votes. In other words, lawyers voting on who the best lawyers are. Take a look at this website: http://www.superlawyers.com/. This is the online version of an industry publication that has a farily rigorous voting process where lawyers vote on each other. The rankings are listed by state and and practice area. One drawback is that only about 30 states are listed (but sourthern Cal. is included). Be sure to search in the practice area "estate planning and probate."
Last edited by ryan on Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dm200
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My recommendations and why:

Post by dm200 » Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:27 pm

1. Yes, consult an attorney, but do a few thigs first.

2. Read some articles or publications on estate planning. Some law firms have excellent brochures and documents. Look at this attorney's web site www.hupk.com for example

3. Many (or most) estate planning attorneys have either low cost ($25 or so) or FREE intro seminars where you can attend, meet the lawyer and see if there is a good fit. You can learn how they charge (there are a lot of variations), what you do and do not get for your money and something about their clientele and practice.

4. When considering an estate planning attorney, ask the following questions: a. Do you do estate planning all the time? (You want someone who speaiclizes, and not someone who drafts a will once every 5 years); b. How long have you been doing estate work? (My wife and I got burned when we went to a guy who had just switched to estate work after 25 years of being a litigator); c. How do you charge? (I recommend a fixed price, after a consultation). Some folks charge by the hour.

5. Pick an attorney who deals with folks like you. Ask them to describe a "typical" client. If you are, for example, a school teacher who earns $50,000 a year and they describe their clients as mostly corporate CEOs or professional athletes who earn multi-millions, maybe that is not the guy/gal for you.

6. Some attorneys will only do things "their way", and if you want something different, won't do a good job.

7. We picked an attorney who has an initial consultation for $300 (about 30-45 minutes), then gives a fixed price. That worked out very well. Another attorney (whom I know personally and whom I have used for some litigation matters) does wills, and she told me she charges by the hour, does it on the spot, and does not give a review draft. She says she never makes a mistake. While she was great representing me in a court case, her "approach" to doing a will would not fit the way I would want to do things.

dan

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ryan
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Post by ryan » Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:29 pm

Good advice, Dan.

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dm200
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This guy that had just switched

Post by dm200 » Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:43 pm

specialties was an expensive lesson for my wife and I.

I asked him over the phone whether he did estate work all the time. "Yes", he replied. So we went to see him. He charged by the hour (I dodn't get that clear at the beginning), and when an issue came up about an executor being an organization or a co-executor with my brother, he said he had to "research" this. This guy is in his 50's and during the chatting at the beginning of our planning for the wills, it became evident that he just started doing wills and trusts after decades of litigation.

This research (which an experienced estate attorney should already know) was by the hour on our nickel (meter running). Several years later, our experienced attorney found some of the documents very odd.

Another thing to look out for is exactly which attorney you consult with and exactly which attorney drafts the will/trust. The guy we had do our wills (who knows what he is doing) met with us personally and did not give it to a junior guy/gal just out of law school. The actual drafting was done (fine with us) by another attorney in the firm, and we finally met with the senior attorney when signing the documents.

dan

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DaleMaley
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Post by DaleMaley » Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:03 pm

I paid $900 back in 1999 for.....

1. bypass trust for wife
2. will for wife
3. power of attorney medical forms for wife
4. bypass trust for me
5. will for me
6. power of attorney medical forms for me

This included having the attorney review my beneficiary designations on the forms I sent to various places include Vanguard.

I paid $300 in 2003, primarily to update the documents to remove a person who got divorced from our family.

These are Central Illinois (Bloomington) prices, not big city prices.
Most investors, both institutional and individual, will find that the best way to own common stocks is through an index fund that charges minimal fees. – Warren Buffett

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DaleMaley
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Post by DaleMaley » Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:15 am

There is a interesting article on some of the pros and cons of bypass trusts in the recent issue of Investor Advisor magazine....

Rich Spouse, Poor Spouse:A general power of appointment can optimize estate tax exemptions
Most investors, both institutional and individual, will find that the best way to own common stocks is through an index fund that charges minimal fees. – Warren Buffett

grok87
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Vanguard Financial Plan Plus

Post by grok87 » Sun Mar 18, 2007 10:34 pm

Has anyone done the "Vanguard Financial Plan Plus?" As per the Vanguard web site...


"If needed, your planner can address more in-depth cash flow, insurance, education savings, and estate planning issues with the Vanguard Financial Plan Plus."

Does this mean Vanguard handles the legal work or just the financial planning?

cheers
grok

SamB
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Estate planning

Post by SamB » Mon Mar 19, 2007 10:36 am

*****
Last edited by SamB on Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

chaz
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advice

Post by chaz » Mon Mar 19, 2007 2:13 pm

Everyone has given you some good advice! However, each person has very different needs when it comes to estate planning. Not everything suggested to you will be right for you, so it is imperative that you consult with a lawyer who specializes in this area.

Good luck.

Chaz

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