Best book for Will/Trust issues

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Yukon
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Best book for Will/Trust issues

Post by Yukon »

My mother/father in law do not have a will or trust despite having significant assets and a live at home, mildly disabled 37 year old son (who is currently NOT registered with Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs. Thats another story.....and I won't mention their expense ratios on their investments:) My wife and I certainly understand the importance but they seem paralyzed with not understanding the issues. We have zero urge to meddle and do not want to offer unsolicited advice but thought a book recommendation from the board might go along way in letting them learn for themselves the importance. Laymen conversation might be important (although both are sharp, FIL is retired engineer) as I'd like for them to at least finish the book. Any suggestions? Seems I respect this board more than a google search or amazon review.....my apologies as I'm sure its been covered before but couldn't find it with a quick search.
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daryll40
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Post by daryll40 »

You need a good lawyer. But before that read "BEYOND THE GRAVE" by Condon and Condon. Best book on wills/estates/trusts I've ever read. This father and son team will give you stuff to think about BEFORE the legal meter starts running.
bluemarlin08
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Post by bluemarlin08 »

I second the above recommendation, very easy to read and spot on witheir recommendations. I use this book as a guide in working with my estate planning clients.
Ron
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Post by Ron »

It's a tough situation, and I/wife understand the situation due to our having a disabled (adult) "child". Also, the fact of not having any "family" to look after him (or make decisions in his behalf) makes it all the more important to legally set up the proper residual documents.

They need to get to a lawyer, and depending on the situation with the son need to make their wishes known "today" through setting up the proper trust (Special Needs Trust) in order to financially protect their disabled son. Unfortunately, too many folks think that they can make "decisions from the grave" :? ...

Here's a good link that I've refrenced in the past:

http://www.kidsource.com/kidsource/cont ... l.3.3.html

- Ron
scooter
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wills and trusts

Post by scooter »

I agree with daryll40. It is a great book to set you up with the questions to ask before with a lawyer. The rules are always changing, so find a lawyer that deals with wills and trusts.

daryll40 sent me in that direction and I am glad he did.
sscritic
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Post by sscritic »

I went to my library and checked out

Plan Your Estate
by Denis Clifford & Cora Jordan
Nolo Press

I thought it great for explaining the difference between different types of trusts. It covers wills, trusts, probate, and the role of the executor. It can be understood by a lay person, but has lots of detail.
InvestingMom
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Post by InvestingMom »

sscritic wrote:I went to my library and checked out

Plan Your Estate
by Denis Clifford & Cora Jordan
Nolo Press

I thought it great for explaining the difference between different types of trusts. It covers wills, trusts, probate, and the role of the executor. It can be understood by a lay person, but has lots of detail.
I would also recommend this book.
mxxnxxoxx
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Post by mxxnxxoxx »

I'll put in a third for Beyond The Grave. I'm halfway through it now and it is so well written and comprehensive and really gets you to think through all the considerations and ramifications of your plan. Got a copy for my Mom to read before she sees the lawyer to do hers. The main things I like about the book are how it's written in a very conversational Q&A format, and it uses lots of case studies to set up a set of conditions the family is facing and run you through a number of possible solutions and the pros/cons of each.
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Sheepdog
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Post by Sheepdog »

After reading the book, and to repeat others here, do see a lawyer specializing in estates...not just a lawyer. They need a specialist. I used an attorney specializing in Elder Law. They should consider having a revocable trust set up which can help protect their estate and their heirs and dependents.

You may wish to look at these websites:
Academy of Elder Law Attorneys http://www.naela.com/
Elder Law Answers http://www.elderlawanswers.com/Default.aspx Look at all the links here, but expecially Elder law 101
Jim
Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn.~ Delmore Schwartz
muddlehead
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Post by muddlehead »

even an ardent financial do it yourselfer like me would not attempt a special needs trust situation from a book.
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Ruprecht
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Post by Ruprecht »

maybe the Condon book should be added to the Wiki books list?
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daryll40
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Post by daryll40 »

Ruprecht wrote:maybe the Condon book should be added to the Wiki books list?
I second that motion!
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dm200
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One good

Post by dm200 »

source of basic information is often information posted on attorney's web sites or from newsletters published by attorneys specializing in this area.

Look for elder law issues and special needs trusts. Use the articles to become informed/educated, but I would not do anything myself - get a good attorney.

This is a Maryland Law firm that does a lot of this type of work. Look at their articles. www.hupk.com

Also, try this Maryland law firm. I know one of the attorneys there does this kind of thing. http://offitkurman.com/index.html
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tom0153
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Post by tom0153 »

muddlehead wrote:even an ardent financial do it yourselfer like me would not attempt a special needs trust situation from a book.
Yukon,

The care of an adult with a persistent disability calling for regular care tosses a real curve into financial planning for the entire family.

In taking a step back to reflect, is there an association to which the parents belong, or to which your wife's brother might belong, which provides information and suggetions about how to care for an adult child?

The objective of the special needs trust is to avoid interfering with the financial needs of other family members as well as the individual with a disability, and the individual is able to manage his/her SS Disability Income, or SSI, with medicaid health care. Many times, it is the latter which is worth the million dollars, since coverage is so much more extensive than ordinary medical insurance. It can include a day program, or it can include supportive employment - well, there is lots.

Ask the SSA for a paper copy of The Red Book. This is the book that explains how to manage their benefits under SSD and SSI programs.

If the individual receives an inheritance or life insurance proceeds directly, instead of going into a special needs trust, then it messes up the hopes that these monies can be spent on some of the ordinary needs and wants we all seem to enjoy, but that SSD, SSI and medicaid are unable to otherwise provide - right down to a decent burial.

Look for an association related to your brother in law's condition. See what they say about preparing for after-care should his parents pre-decease him. There is lots out there.

Even other associations for unrelated conditions can be very helpful.

You can rather immediately find information on the web sites of a couple of major insurers, but you don't get the whole picture there. Some associations are able to arrange for the special needs trust to continue to provide social services, etc.

Perhaps your wife as observed some of these associations in the past. It is also possible to kick off the process by approaching a social services agency, but it will be an agency few and far between that can talk about managing entitlements and using a special needs trust ....

Best,
Best, Tom
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Sheepdog
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Post by Sheepdog »

Sheepdog wrote:
You may wish to look at these websites:
Academy of Elder Law Attorneys http://www.naela.com/
Elder Law Answers http://www.elderlawanswers.com/Default.aspx Look at all the links here, but expecially Elder law 101
Jim
Yukon,
Please do read through the Elder Law Answers link I gave here. It is rather extensive in advice. It covers many issues of which you need to know in your estate plans. In particular read this one, Disability Planning, http://www.elderlawanswers.com/elder_in ... sp?id=2742 There is a section titled "Supplemental Needs Trusts and Planning for Disabled Children" which may be of assistance.
Jim
Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn.~ Delmore Schwartz
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tom0153
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Post by tom0153 »

Sheepdog wrote:
Sheepdog wrote:
You may wish to look at these websites:
Academy of Elder Law Attorneys http://www.naela.com/
Elder Law Answers http://www.elderlawanswers.com/Default.aspx Look at all the links here, but expecially Elder law 101
Jim
Yukon,
Please do read through the Elder Law Answers link I gave here. It is rather extensive in advice. It covers many issues of which you need to know in your estate plans. In particular read this one, Disability Planning, http://www.elderlawanswers.com/elder_in ... sp?id=2742 There is a section titled "Supplemental Needs Trusts and Planning for Disabled Children" which may be of assistance.
Jim
Sheepdog,

That is a complete approach at that last link you supplied, but when applying that to meet special needs, it can be a bit difficult to wade through. That is why I feel social services are a good complement to the legal approach.

I am sure the family will appreciate what you have offered.

You see some law firms that specialize in meeting special needs will employ a social worker. That is a good thing, when affordable.

The main link suggests another affiliated special needs site, which has yet another page on it that describes the pooled trust which is often used by social services agencies (some of which offer their trust services to individuals whose disability lies outside of the usual for the agency). See:
http://www.specialneedsanswers.com/reso ... trusts.asp

It offers a means to review the association approach. Since some of these associations deal only with the empoverished who find it difficult to get legal help (it might be available if funded), they may also be "do it yourselfers" but if a lawyer can be drawn in to advise the family, so much the better. However, it is important to understand that many disabilities strike without regard to financial well-being.

The pooled trust and other types of trusts discussed have big differences, so an understanding is crucial.

It is important to recall who will be the consumer of these services, and who wants to arrange them ... that is adult son as the consumer, and parents who want to provide for their adult child by depositing into the SNT.

It is good that the sister and brother in law are interested. Trying to help without appearing to meddle is always a sticky wicket. Maybe the sister is the best one to approach the parents with the info. It is important to be able to get beyond "you've done it wrong all these years" to "wow, look what is available to my brother!"

Best,
Best, Tom
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Yukon
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Post by Yukon »

OUTSTANDING! I've ordered both suggested (used) books through Amazon. Both books appear to be exactly what I had in mind and the web links appear great, too. Thanks. A little bit of knowledge can go along way.... It sure beats calling any attorney with "Um, yeah, I'd like to set up all of my wealth for my disabled son after I pass" (I can hear many an attorney licking his lips from here!) Which will bring me to question 2: Any specific (trustworthy) will and/or special needs trust attorney recommendations that might help with this situation? (insert lawyer joke here) FIL holds a disdain for attorneys and I can't imagine him cold calling from the phone book. The Maryland firm looks great, but might be a tough sell as its a bit too close to Washington :) The more complicated an attorney makes their situation, the more they might reject the premise as lawyers creating their own job security....and thats another debate altogether! At the very least, the Condon book should convince them of (at minimum) needing a will and planting the seed for a further estate planning. THANKS all!
Bigfoothunter
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Post by Bigfoothunter »

With substantial assets and special needs, a fully tax planned should be considered. Each person has a credit which is not taxable upon death. If they die without a planned will leave the assets to the other spouse, then that credit is lost which could have been preserved and the creation of a larger estate for the second spouse is created. The credit amount changes every year but consider it for example as 1.5 million. Assume joint assets of 3mm. If a spouse passes and leaves it all to the other spouse with total property of 3 million, then the entire 1.5 million is taxed at the second death (other spouse retains 1.5 credit amount individually). If the first spouse alternatively put this in a trust for benefit of second spouse, then upon death of second spouse the 1.5 million from first spouse is not taxed (credit amount preserved) so the entire 3mm in assets pass to beneficiary estate tax free. The special needs situation give rise to other considerations to maintain trust for other spouse and then the special needs person. You are making the right move to get educated on the entire process and tax regime. I found it best to do the same, and then consult a board certified attorney in estates and probate in the state in which they reside. I am not an attorney but the above illustration reflects my understanding. It is am important tax planning tool for those with substantial assets. Best Bigfoot
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Sheepdog
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Post by Sheepdog »

Yukon wrote: Any specific (trustworthy) will and/or special needs trust attorney recommendations that might help with this situation? (insert lawyer joke here) FIL holds a disdain for attorneys and I can't imagine him cold calling from the phone book. The Maryland firm looks great, but might be a tough sell as its a bit too close to Washington :)
The link to the NAELA website which I gave above has a way to search for an Elder Law Attorney in your area. That is how I found mine. He set up our Revocable Trust and all other recommended documents (wills, durable powers of attorney, special health care powers of attorney, living wills, etc.)
We interviewed him for over an hour before selecting him. I found in that interview his experience and recommendations. He had experience in special needs dependent documents, for example. We did not need them, but found out in the discussion because a person does not know what could happen in the future. He charged nothing for the interview. They may not get that good of a deal where they live, but ask anyway. I also asked a lawyer friend in my Rotary Club his opinion of the one I picked. I did not expect him to make a recommendation to find one, but just an opinion of that lawyer's ethics and experience. When I agreed to this attorney, we agreed on a cost for the entire deal. It costs a reasonable, I thought, $1495 for everything. That was in 2005. He later interviewed us for well over an hour to get all of the details. He made out rough drafts of the documents for our review. These were not all fill-in-the-blank documents. We asked for changes on them and on a subsequent draft before it was finalized.

After the documents were finalized, he followed up on occasions over two months, more or less, to see why we were slow in " funding" the trust. He would tell us that the trust document meant nothing if we did not do our part in getting everything changed over to the trust. That is the kind of attorney they need.

Jim
Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn.~ Delmore Schwartz
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