Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

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SoDakJeff
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:48 am

Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by SoDakJeff » Tue May 29, 2018 2:55 pm

My wife and I are embarrassingly late in getting our estate planning completed. We've now contacted an attorney, and this time we really want to get this done. The attorney has sent us an estate planning questionnaire to fill out prior to our first appointment, and we're running into the same roadblocks that have derailed this process on previous occasions. Our story:

I'm 64 and my wife is 57. We weren't able to have kids. We have a relatively small circle of friends, mostly in our age range or a little older.
I have a brother and a sister, both older than me - neither of them have kids.
Wife has two brothers, one older and one younger, but she's not really close to either one. One brother has two kids, but, again, not really close to them either.

One of the things that brings us to a halt is trying to figure out who to name as beneficiaries. Our friends and family will all be as old as we are when we die (hopefully) and won't need the money. The niece and nephew haven't shown any indication of being worthy of being named.

Another issue is who to name as executor of our wills, although I suppose our lawyer could do that. But maybe more important is who to name as DPOA-health care or DPOA for financial affairs. In my case, my brother and sister might be gone by the time I need them. In my wife's case, she's not sure she would trust her brothers with those roles. Our friends have the age issue, plus they're acquaintances, not family.

For beneficiaries, I've been thinking about just choosing some people that I've admired or liked over a period of time - a younger girl that I worked with before I retired, who was a hard worker, had a great sense of humor and always treated me as a friend (even though I'm old enough to be her grandfather), a nurse at the assisted living facility who was always very kind to my mother while she was living there, etc. There will probably also be a handful of worthwhile charities that I'll name. But those DPOA's have me stumped.

Has anyone had a situation even remotely similar to this? Am I overthinking this whole thing? Suggestions?

senex
Posts: 328
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Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by senex » Tue May 29, 2018 3:25 pm

You're thinking of this as "do it once and etch it in stone."

In reality, Wills must be redrafted periodically as circumstances change. It might help to frame it as "if X happened in the next year, who should have POA and who should get the money?" And just accept the fact that you might need to amend it in a future year.

It sounds to me like if you had a joint tragedy next month, you would want your brother as POA and would give the money to an old coworker -- those are very reasonable choices. I've seen a situation where someone got an unexpected inheritance from a decades-ago coworker, due to similar reasons as yours. If you don't choose now, the state will choose for you.

Take the baby-step to get the documents in place, visualizing what you would want if you both went into comas and died next month. In the future you can amend as needed -- amendments are incrementally easier.

JBTX
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Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by JBTX » Tue May 29, 2018 4:02 pm

If I really felt relatives weren’t worthy I’d probably leave to charity.

Hillview
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Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by Hillview » Tue May 29, 2018 5:02 pm

it is honestly very hard and so as pp said I think we make "for now" decisions and then review every 5 years or so. We are in the midst of redoing ours and it is not fun ... we've elected a neighbor to be our executor, a family member for health care proxy and taking our kids but to be honest I don't LOVE our plan it is just what make most sense now

brandy
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Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by brandy » Tue May 29, 2018 5:40 pm

I cannot tell you how grateful I am to see this question. I'm in sort of a similar situation.
I have pretty well finished my "NOW THAT I'M DEAD" BOOK. I am working on the final pages, actually regarding remains and such.
The person I had named years ago to be executor/trustee told me a few weeks ago she does not want the job. I've been struggling with that, and it seems a public fiduciary might have to be hired. I will ask two other people first.

"more important is who to name as DPOA-health care or DPOA for financial affairs."
I have no idea on that either, as that person was also executor/trustee/one of four beneficiaries... Our communication has come to a standstill.
I am re-evaluating and will probably include at least two charities. One that I have tried to find usable information on is the local county council on aging, but no luck yet.

This trustee thing I am amazed that I have to change that now...But I do.
I have been procrastinating, hoping she'd change her mind, but she hasn't.


I have to agree with this: " I don't LOVE my plan it is just what make most sense now."

I hope I know more by Friday.

delamer
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Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by delamer » Tue May 29, 2018 6:36 pm

Do what you think is best based on your current relationships and finances.

If you and your wife dropped dead tomorrow, what would you want to happen?

Your lawyer is going to ask for back-ups for your choices.

We have trusts set up for my husband’s siblings in the unlikely event that they inherit our assets. Trust funds can be used for their basic welfare, but any money left goes to charity. So the siblings won’t starve or be homeless, but they can’t go out and buy Porsches either.

LarryAllen
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Location: State of Confusion

Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by LarryAllen » Tue May 29, 2018 6:52 pm

Charities for beneficiaries and private professional fiduciary for medical/financial decisions. Easy.

ETadvisor
Posts: 317
Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:37 pm

Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by ETadvisor » Tue May 29, 2018 8:22 pm

SoDakJeff wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 2:55 pm
My wife and I are embarrassingly late in getting our estate planning completed. We've now contacted an attorney, and this time we really want to get this done. The attorney has sent us an estate planning questionnaire to fill out prior to our first appointment, and we're running into the same roadblocks that have derailed this process on previous occasions. Our story:

I'm 64 and my wife is 57. We weren't able to have kids. We have a relatively small circle of friends, mostly in our age range or a little older.
I have a brother and a sister, both older than me - neither of them have kids.
Wife has two brothers, one older and one younger, but she's not really close to either one. One brother has two kids, but, again, not really close to them either.

One of the things that brings us to a halt is trying to figure out who to name as beneficiaries. Our friends and family will all be as old as we are when we die (hopefully) and won't need the money. The niece and nephew haven't shown any indication of being worthy of being named.

Another issue is who to name as executor of our wills, although I suppose our lawyer could do that. But maybe more important is who to name as DPOA-health care or DPOA for financial affairs. In my case, my brother and sister might be gone by the time I need them. In my wife's case, she's not sure she would trust her brothers with those roles. Our friends have the age issue, plus they're acquaintances, not family.

For beneficiaries, I've been thinking about just choosing some people that I've admired or liked over a period of time - a younger girl that I worked with before I retired, who was a hard worker, had a great sense of humor and always treated me as a friend (even though I'm old enough to be her grandfather), a nurse at the assisted living facility who was always very kind to my mother while she was living there, etc. There will probably also be a handful of worthwhile charities that I'll name. But those DPOA's have me stumped.

Has anyone had a situation even remotely similar to this? Am I overthinking this whole thing? Suggestions?
I have a few ideas: For the special people ( i.e. nurse and younger girl) provide them a specific cash bequest in the amount you desire. If they predecease you the bequest lapses. I would then give the remainder to charitable organizations in percentages that you desire. As for a trustee, I would consider a corporate trustee.

Topic Author
SoDakJeff
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:48 am

Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by SoDakJeff » Wed May 30, 2018 5:33 am

senex wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 3:25 pm
You're thinking of this as "do it once and etch it in stone."

In reality, Wills must be redrafted periodically as circumstances change. It might help to frame it as "if X happened in the next year, who should have POA and who should get the money?" And just accept the fact that you might need to amend it in a future year.

It sounds to me like if you had a joint tragedy next month, you would want your brother as POA and would give the money to an old coworker -- those are very reasonable choices. I've seen a situation where someone got an unexpected inheritance from a decades-ago coworker, due to similar reasons as yours. If you don't choose now, the state will choose for you.

Take the baby-step to get the documents in place, visualizing what you would want if you both went into comas and died next month. In the future you can amend as needed -- amendments are incrementally easier.
You're right - this is exactly the mistake I've been making. Thank you!

Topic Author
SoDakJeff
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:48 am

Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by SoDakJeff » Wed May 30, 2018 5:46 am

LarryAllen wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 6:52 pm
Charities for beneficiaries and private professional fiduciary for medical/financial decisions. Easy.
I've been trying to find some information on professional fiduciaries for medical and financial decisions, but my results seem to show mostly California results. I'm in South Dakota, which I'm told is a haven for professional trust administration, but I can't find any listings for professional fiduciaries here for medical/financial. I like the idea, though.

Mitchell777
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Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 6:32 am

Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by Mitchell777 » Wed May 30, 2018 9:49 am

LarryAllen wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 6:52 pm
Charities for beneficiaries and private professional fiduciary for medical/financial decisions. Easy.
I haven't found it to be easy especially for medical decisions. Who or what are some examples of private professionals for medical decisions?

gretah
Posts: 227
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:14 pm

Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by gretah » Wed May 30, 2018 4:02 pm

OP - I'm moving to a new state soon and facing similar decisions.

I'll look at freelance paralegals who specialize in estate / probate work. (There's one in my current county who is terrific. Hopefully I'll find similar in the new place.)

You might want to go to your local hospital's hospice office and ask for advice on how to find these professionals and referrals.

I just did a search for professional guardian south dakota and not one name appeared. So I empathize with your problem!

Kompass
Posts: 153
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2016 5:42 pm

Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by Kompass » Wed May 30, 2018 5:14 pm

Try "geriatric care manager".
The large print giveth and the fine print taketh away.

brandy
Posts: 290
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:45 pm

Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by brandy » Wed May 30, 2018 5:20 pm

I had contacted my county council on aging and asked for both elder law attorneys and for fiduciaries.
They emailed and snail mailed both lists. I will be using a private fiduciary I think, and due to particular medical problems, asking a friend to be my medical advocate if/when needed. They asked my birth date, so maybe their info is only for those of a ahemmm certain age. :happy

LarryAllen
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Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:41 am
Location: State of Confusion

Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by LarryAllen » Wed May 30, 2018 6:13 pm

SoDakJeff wrote:
Wed May 30, 2018 5:46 am
LarryAllen wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 6:52 pm
Charities for beneficiaries and private professional fiduciary for medical/financial decisions. Easy.
I've been trying to find some information on professional fiduciaries for medical and financial decisions, but my results seem to show mostly California results. I'm in South Dakota, which I'm told is a haven for professional trust administration, but I can't find any listings for professional fiduciaries here for medical/financial. I like the idea, though.
Mitchell777 wrote:
Wed May 30, 2018 9:49 am
LarryAllen wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 6:52 pm
Charities for beneficiaries and private professional fiduciary for medical/financial decisions. Easy.
I haven't found it to be easy especially for medical decisions. Who or what are some examples of private professionals for medical decisions?

In California it's easy as professional fiduciaries generally will do this (pfac-pro.org). I am understanding not all states have these great professionals. South Dakota does have banks with well respected trust departments but you are right not too many bankers want to make your medical decisions. Find a really good friend, or two, preferably younger. Also, I have heard of some doctors that will do it for special patients but I would ask first.

rich126
Posts: 1038
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by rich126 » Thu May 31, 2018 9:19 am

I'm in my 50s and have a similar situation. I've never been married and have no kids. My mother has passed away and my father is in his 80s. I have one brother (married) and one nephew.

I set up an revocable trust (probably over kill in my situation but there were some reasons for it). I finally decided to leave some money to a few charities, some to my brother and my nephew, and some to my current (long term) girl friend.

Obviously once I'm dead the money won't matter to me. The only concern I have is to ensure it doesn't go to someone who doesn't deserve it. No one I'm directly related to, really needs to money (they aren't over flowing in money but bring home good pay checks and have retirement plans). I've seen some nasty issues with friends and lawsuits from distant relatives all trying to get anything they could ($500, $1500, etc.) and wanted to avoid that although I'm not aware of any distant relatives (pretty small family, my father had no brothers, my mother had one that never married, etc.).

I would say whatever attorney you consult, make sure you are careful. I naively went to this large firm that specialized in trusts, etc. and found out later (when I had it reviewed by another attorney when I moved back to MD) they had placed themselves in the trust in ways they could charge the estate for a lot of fees after my death. So I had it redone to eradicate them from the documents (legal stuff bores me to death).

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Thu May 31, 2018 10:59 am

For beneficiaries, I've been thinking about just choosing some people that I've admired or liked over a period of time - a younger girl that I worked with before I retired, who was a hard worker, had a great sense of humor and always treated me as a friend (even though I'm old enough to be her grandfather), a nurse at the assisted living facility who was always very kind to my mother while she was living there, etc. There will probably also be a handful of worthwhile charities that I'll name. But those DPOA's have me stumped.
Can't help you with the health care POA question, but thanks for planting a seed about surprise bequests. We've made plenty of charitable contributions over the years and will continue to, but the thought of putting someone in my will for a surprise bequest just for being a nice person made me smile. Next time we update our estate plan I'll look for a way to do this. The kids won't miss it.

bsteiner
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Location: NYC/NJ/FL

Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by bsteiner » Thu May 31, 2018 11:24 am

rich126 wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 9:19 am
...
I would say whatever attorney you consult, make sure you are careful. I naively went to this large firm that specialized in trusts, etc. and found out later (when I had it reviewed by another attorney when I moved back to MD) they had placed themselves in the trust in ways they could charge the estate for a lot of fees after my death. So I had it redone to eradicate them from the documents (legal stuff bores me to death).
The lawyer isn't supposed to seek to be named as executor or trustee, though he/she is allowed to accept it if the client wants to name him/her.

brandy
Posts: 290
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:45 pm

Re: Estate Planning roadblocks - ideas?

Post by brandy » Thu May 31, 2018 1:51 pm

rich126 wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 9:19 am
I'm in... a similar situation.
... once I'm dead the money won't matter to me. The only concern I have is to ensure it doesn't go to someone who doesn't deserve it. No one I'm directly related to, really needs to money ...). I've seen some nasty issues with friends and lawsuits from distant relatives all trying to get anything they could ($500, $1500, etc.) and wanted to avoid that ...
...whatever attorney you consult, make sure you are careful. I naively went to this large firm ... and found out later...) they had placed themselves in the trust in ways they could charge the estate for a lot of fees after my death. So I had it redone to eradicate them from the documents....
I've read several similar threads over the past days, since my named Successor Trustee said she wouldn't do the work. I've had a lot of negative emotion over the whole thing, esp since I thought I was close to finishing all this stuff--the Trust, the "Dead" book, etc, and could just sit back and enjoy.
These seem to be MY options for Trustee today:
My second DD, with whom there is not much contact. I do think she would be honest and fair.

A private fiduciary, who could also "charge the estate for a lot of fees after my death"

a neighbor, who doesn't need the money, who has relatives who will fight over HIS stuff, and who could also "charge the estate for a lot of fees after my death" to help support his ex wife or particular his charities. But he lives next door and could handle it all otherwise, I think.

Another acquaintance. This one I've known for about 20 years. She and her husband formed and run a small 501(C)(3) charity before I knew them. I know (or think I know) over 95% of donations get used on their small client base. They do most of the heavy lifting themselves. I don't always approve of what they give out, but it's not my call. I think they would be honest and see that my assets go where I want them, and I would assign a per hour dollar amount for them, plus probably an amount for their organization. I have been the recipient of some help from them, and recently asked for more, which was immediately agreed to, with no hesitation. They live across town. If perchance they would over-charge many fees, I do think it (most) would go to help people who really need it.

I much prefer that MY kids get my assets, so I will probably leave D2 as next successor trustee, and name my charity operator acquaintance as her successor trustee.

As was said in a different thread, I don't LOVE it, but it is what it is. I hope I can still make changes later if I decide they are necessary.
Just trying to think things through, make acceptible decisions even though some is rationalizing...
And open to suggestions.

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