Financial Consequences of a Husband

Some superstitions are harmless, like knocking on wood, carrying a rabbit?s foot or believing that if you get on a plane with your right foot, the plane won?t crash. I do this last one myself. Silly, but harmless.

Many superstitions fall into a different category where they affect other people and cause difficulties for them. For example, the millions of husbands who are superstitious about estate planning and, therefore, refuse to do it. Or do it partway but won?t complete the process.

Ed and his wife Cynthia, worked with an attorney to set up their estate plan. Ed signed all the documents except for one – the durable powers of attorney. The papers have been sitting on his desk for over a month.

Cynthia is angry and feels helpless because of Ed’s continued delay. She feels like a hostage to Ed’s superstition that if he signs the durable powers of attorney papers, which are necessary to complete the process, God is watching and will snuff him out.

If Ed can’t make medical or financial decisions for himself, Cynthia won’t be authorized to act on his behalf. Unless Ed signs the papers giving Cynthia the power to make those decisions, his adult children from his first marriage will be calling the shots, not always in Cynthia’s best interests.

?Ed signed the other papers but won?t sign the durable powers of attorney” Cynthia says. “He assures me he will, but when I remind him that the planning isn?t complete unless he does sign, he accuses me of nagging. He knows it?s not rational, but he says it makes him feel better.?

Is there any difference between that kind of thinking and not walking under a ladder, wearing garlic around your neck to protect you from vampires or crossing the street when you see a black cat?

When I was researching my book, I discovered in interviews that many men intentionally leave loose ends in their estate planning. Some men procrastinate; others have great intentions, but ‘forget’ to fund the trust. Most eventually get around to completing the process, but usually cause themselves and their wife unnecessary anxiety and frustration.

For example, William just kept ?forgetting? to fill out the papers to fund the revocable trust he and his wife Lila had set up. The lawyer reminded them that until a trust was funded with all their assets, the trust wasn’t legally in place. Consequently, if something happened to William, the trust couldn?t provide Lila with the legal or financial authority to act as the trustee.

When I interviewed William, he said he?d been busy, had other things on his mind and just never got around to it. He intended to make the transfers as soon as he had a minute. Ed’s lawyer offered to do it if Ed was busy. Ed refused and said he’d prefer to take care of it himself.

Meanwhile, Lila?s hands are tied because he doesn?t want her to take care of it either. ?My husband?s friend had a fatal heart attack on the tennis court the day after he and his wife signed their living trust,? she said. ?You try convincing my husband that the same won?t happen to him.?

Superstition is a powerful, if irrational and usually subconscious, belief that keeps many men from taking action to protect their wife in case they die. It presumes a causal relationship between something we do or don?t do and the outcome of some future event.

Wouldn’t we enjoy being that powerful. If only we were the center of the universe, where what we do matters on a cosmic scale. It?s comforting to think that a higher power is watching and rewarding or punishing, waiting until all the papers are in order and everything is signed before taking us away.

It sounds so simple and silly, but this kind of thinking is real and widespread. Unfortunately, superstition impacts the lives of too many wives whose husbands won?t follow through with the necessary arrangements to protect them in case they die.

Helga Hayse is author of “Don’t Worry about a Thing, Dear” – Why Women Need Financial intimacy. She teaches women about participating and understanding their marital finances. She teaches financial and legal professionals how to stimulate legacy planning through Conversations from the Heart.

Remarriage and Estate Planning

Estate planning assumes significant importance in view of the above-mentioned conditions. If you apprehend facing a similar situation, it would be prudent to have a proper estate plan in order to overcome such complications. It would be best if you could do this just before remarriage, but even if you have already tied the knot, it is never too late. Firstly, both spouses need to sit together and formulate a plan about the estate. To begin with, both can prepare separate lists of assets that he/she is bringing into the marriage. Then you can share the lists and discuss the future financial issues that you will face as a couple.

For example, building a new house and the contributions each is going to make towards it. Retirement plans also need to be taken into consideration. It is vitally important to discuss how each would like his/her estate wishes to be carried out in the event of death of each spouse, especially with respect to children from previous marriages as well as the present one.

Make a list of life insurance policies each of you has with details of the company, death benefit amounts, and the beneficiaries and so on. Make sure that the name and other details of the beneficiaries are correct. Apart form the assets that may be acquired in the future, there may be inheritances that each spouse may have, which need to be disposed in favor of a particular set of children. There may also be a need to discuss the support of aged parents and whether suitable provisions need to be made in the estate plan.

It is best to take the help of an estate-planning attorney to prepare a formal estate plan. Where substantial property is involved in a remarriage situation, trust-based estate planning with two separate revocable living trusts, one for each spouse as grantor, is the correct way to go about it. Thus, each would have the right to sell, manage, spend, buy, invest or otherwise use the assets in his/her trust, even when the de jure owner will be the trust and not the individual person. When one spouse dies, his or her revocable trust is transformed into an irrevocable trust, with the surviving spouse having access to the income (even the corpus in certain cases), in addition to his/her own living trust. On the death of the second spouse the assets of the trust will be distributed to the grantors (first spouse) heirs and the assets of the other trust would be distributed among heirs of the second spouse/grantor.

While eliminating the complications discussed earlier in this article, trust formation in estate planning also leads to substantial tax benefits. It serves to avoid the costly, time consuming and tedious process of probate, allowing a much greater portion of your estate to be distributed among your loved ones instead of being wasted in taxes and undue legal expenditure.

California Tax Help is easier than ever with former IRS agent Murray and Young a Sacramento CPA Firm. To view our services and new articles for 2007 Estate Tax Planning please visit our award winning site


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Estate Planning 101

Estate planning is planning to ensure that your final property and health care wishes are honored and that loved ones are provided for in your absence. The estate planning process should begin with you explaining to your attorney what you want to happen to your assets during your lifetime and at your death, then exploring the different options in which to accomplish your goals. During your initial consultation with an attorney, you may be asked to complete a questionnaire in which you list in detail your assets and describe your family structure. You should be prepared before you consult with your attorney because your estate plan is not a one size fits all type of product. You are in control of the way your assets are distributed and the family members or loved ones who will receive your property. Be sure to discuss your goals with your attorney. If your attorney does not know what is important to you, he or she will not be able to establish an estate plan that accomplishes your goals. Two areas are key when developing your estate plan: 1) preparation and 2) communication.

Your estate is made up of all of the assets that you own at your death. Your estate consists of real and personal property. Real property includes land, improvements to land and oil, gas and mineral interests. Personal property includes all property that is not real property. Some examples of personal property are: cash and bank accounts, clothing and personal effects, household furnishings, vehicles, stocks and bonds, life insurance policies, and retirement benefits.

The development of a well drafted, well thought out estate plan takes preparation by you and good communication with your estate planning attorney. It cannot be stressed enough the importance of defining your goals and clearly stating those goals to your attorney.

The author of this article operates a website to help you find a Hillsboro Attorney and Lawyer. Visit this website to learn more about law in Hillsboro.

Greenville Attorney Warns Of Estate Planning Complications

Greenville Lawyer Wants Senior Citizens and Their Loved Ones To Get Their Estate Affairs In Order Elder Law is a fairly new specialized area of law dealing with the problems and issues faced by the most quickly growing portion of the country’s population, seniors. Elder law incorporates the elements of Estate Planning, Medicare/Medicaid Planning, Conservatorship, Wills and Trusts and Health Care Planning.

Mr.Pete Fields, a Greenville Attorney, from Greenville, SC, works to caution seniors and their children of problems that will come up if estate planning issues do not get settled fast, If you wait too long, it could be too late to get your affairs handled the way you want them taken care of!

Here’s just a short listing of the things thisGreenville Estate Planning Attorney can help you in accomplishing:

Make Plans for The Care You Will Require Prior to that Time Occurring

Cut down and Even Eliminate Assisted Living Facility Bills

Increase The Amount of Income You Keep, Safeguard Your Life Savings

Make Proper Investments

Save on Estate Taxes, Income Taxes and Death Taxes

Pass on An Inheritance To Your Children and Grandchildren

Reasons You Need To Deal With Estate Planning As Quickly As Possible!

No one wants to dwell on the thought of their death. However, if you ignore planning for your passing until it is too late, you’ll run the risk that intended inheritors — people that you adore and love — might not inherit the things you’d want them to receive whether due to taxes or quarreling among your heirs. These are reasons why estate planning is so significant, regardless of how small or large your estate may be! It allows you, while you’re still living, to ensure that your property and assets will go to those that you want, the way you want, and in the time you desire. It provides a way for you to save as much on taxes as possible, attorneys’ fees and court costs; and it provides the comfort that your children and family can mourn over your loss and not be burdened simultaneously with needless financial confusion and red tape. Each estate plan should have, at least, two necessary estate planning instruments: a power of attorney and a will. The first is for managing and controlling your assets and property while you are alive, in case you aren’t able to do so alone. The second is for the apportionment and management of your property and assets after death. In addition, more and more often, Americans are using revocable trusts in order to escape probate and to manage their estates both once they’ve died and while they are living. How will you know if you require estate planning help?

-Have no legal documents

-Have documents which are old and your children are grown up

-Your documents no longer show your wishes

About the author:

Pete Fields is a Greenville estate planning attorney in Greenville, South Carolina. He also has an office in Clemson,SC that includes a Clemson estate planning lawyer. This information is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For specific questions or concerns, you should speak to an experienced elder law attorney. 2007 The Fields Law Firm

Pete Fields is a Greenville estate planning lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina. Find more information on Clemson attorneys and estate planning.