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            Planning for when you
can not be there to
Protect those you LOVE  

TM

What is estate planning? 
Estate planning helps me:
  • control my property while I am alive and well;
  • provide for myself and my loved ones if I become disabled and incapacitated;
  • give what I have
    • to whom I want,
    • the way I want, 
    • when I want. 
  • minimize the impact of professional fees, court costs and taxes. ​

Why do I need an estate plan?  Estate Planning protects those you love in the event of your permanent disability or death.  Many people think that as long as there has been a private communication to a family member, or even a baptism naming 'godparents' these people will be tasked with caring for minor children and then distributing "things" and then nothing more needs to be done.  In fact, it is when no planning has occured that there is the opportunity for bad blood to arise - indeed, it is a well known fact that when a parent dies that children feel the most raw emotions of anger, resentment, pain and angst.  With planning for your disability and eventual death, the children are allowed to grieve and can deal with all the natural emotions that arise without the additional anxiety of using their own money to pay for things, fighting to get reimbursed or even fighting over who will make the decisions.  With the help of Treveri Law, you can draft a purposeful document explaining how an inheritance can be received including forcing the recipient to get educated or get sober, or simply to grow up by showing maturity and a demonstrated understanding of basic finances.  You can even severely penalize any beneficiary who may contest your wishes as spelled our in your legal documents. 

 

While we also know that legal documents can not force spouses, heirs and children to be nice to each other, at Treveri Law, we feel strongly that if a principal fails to plan during their lifetimes, we are not interested in trying to sort out what we believe to be the intended chaos and aftermath.  Thus, and at Treveri Law, we do not represent contentious families looking to fight over inheritances.  During your life time you should take the time to put your affairs in order, to make nominations, listing who and how your agents will care for you, what decisions need to be made and how heirs will inherit your assets and under what terms.  Often this will prevent squabbling kids are often relieved to let your plan unfold.

 

If any of the questions below are of a concern to you, then before you become incapacitated or die, call us at Treveri Law at 505-808-0234 to establish an estate plan to address these issues:    

 

During your incapacity what if - 

  • ​​the kid you put on your bank account gets into a car accident and now attorneys claim that your money is subject to a lawsuit? 

  • you need to sell your house to pay for your spouse's long-term care? 

  • the kid you put on the bank account is now using the funds to pay for their personal bills? 

  • your important legal, passwords, personal photos and information are on your computer?

  • the bank doesn't allow your kids access your bank accounts to pay for your care?

  • your spouse or kids needs to sue or defend you against the driver who hit you?

  • you get into an accident when you have your minor children in the car and APD brings your kids to CYFD or puts them in juvenile detention until a court can appoint a guardian? 

  • a world-wide pandemic hits and you get so sick that you need to be intubated, given experimental drugs or a respirator? 

  • your business partner is unable to continue running your business? 

  • your business partner suddenly decides to sell the business to a questionable buyer? 

  • your business partner refuses to pay your spouse or family members a fair share of profits from your business? 

  • there isn't anyone in your business who could do what you did, so nothing gets done? 

  • your spouse or assistant tries to run your business but lacks the skills, connections or intuition that you had? 

  • you become ill and yet your daughter refuses to agree with your other kids that you need to be in hospice and would rather force homeopathic remedies? 

  • you become so ill that hospice is needed but one of your children refuses to discuss the need to remove life-sustaining treatments? 

 

After your death what if - 

  • none of your children want to take the responsibility of asking the Court to be appointed your Personal Representative?

  • your creditors get to the courthouse first and get appointed a your Personal Representative and take all your assets? 

  • one of your children is unhappy with the person you appointed to distribute assets?

  • one or more of your kids is a minor (under the age of 18)?

  • one of your children is receiving federal means-based benefits?

  • another of your children is in the middle of a nasty divorce or is an addict?

  • you owned property in another state which may include oil and gas minerals, timeshares and burial plots?

  • your business partner is forced to sell the business because he lacks the funds to pay your family for your share of the business? 

  • your business partner sells the business for pennies on the dollar - or at least that's what he tells your family when he delivers a check? 

  • your spouse remarries after your death and the new spouse is even younger than your children?

  • your assets are designated for your minor children by beneficiary designation but the court puts your Ex in control of everything? 

  • your assets are designated for your minor children but the court appoints a very costly professional guardian to review your assets and will step into the parenting role while your family is forced to pay for lawyers just to be involved with your children? 

  • the person you asked to distribute your assets gives everything away but then gets hit with an IRS tax bill or your last hospital bill?

  • the property you thought you owned actually is still in your grandmother's name? 

  • you never made a statement that you wanted to be cremated and your daughter is convinced that you wanted a viewing, an expensive and fancy memorial service and full burial ceremony? 

"A good estate plan is like a Roadmap; it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there" 

 - H. Stanley Judd

Why do I need Will?  A Will, also known as a "Last Will & Testament" is a legal document that directs the Court to appoint a nominated person to manage the distribution of asset when you die.  If you are married and/or have kids or assets including investment accounts or a house, you definitely need a Will.  What a Will can not do is manage assets, such as investment assets or life insurance that have beneficiary designations.  If, however, you failed to make those designations, or if your investment company or life insurance company is unsure or unwilling to distribute to your named persons - usually because they are minors or the company has wrong information on that beneficiary, lost beneficiary forms or the premature death of that beneficiary, then the assets will become part of the estate to be managed under a Court authorized proceeding called, "Probate".  If your beneficiaries are minors (under the age of 18), even if you have a Will, the Court will be asked to manage the assets designated for those minors and when they turn 18, a check is cut for them with no guarantee the young adult wont spend it all on cryto, a Tesla or a grand vacation.  Simlarly, if you own a house in your name and you die, or you have more than $50,000 in a bank account your family will need to go through the probate proceed before they can inherit those assets if you only have a Will.   

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What is the benefit of a Trust? A Trust is a legal instrument that continues beyond your lifetime that may hold title to assets as well as provide a roadmap to your Successor Trustees regarding how to manage your assets for the benefit of those you love.  Because a Trust may be funded with real property, investment accounts, life insurance and even bank accounts during your lifetime, when you die your family will not need to go through the court appointed Probate process to inherit the assets.  The terms of the Trust may also dictate when and how a beneficiary may inherit or receive health, educational or maintenance support from the Trust.  Unlike a Will, a Trust can also manage your assets during your incapacity as a support to any Powers of Attorneys you may have nominated. Note that any Trust must go through an administrative phase after the death of a Grantor (or the person who created the Trust).  

  • A Revocable Living Trust is a trust that can take ownership of your property but also allows you to continue managing it and making changes to the Trust during your lifetime.  

  • Irrevocable Trust — Unlike a living trust, an the terms of an irrevocable trust cannot be changed during your lifetime, however, an irrevocable trust also avoids probate.  This important estate planning tool is well-suited for those who wish to provide for a loved one with special needs, to plan for long-term care, to protect their assets from creditors’ claims or to achieve other important estate planning objectives.

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Why do I need Advance Directives? 

An Advance Directive is a set of legal documents that involve two important and distinctive areas of your life.  The Statutory Durable Power of Attorney gives your nominated Agents the ability to determine your incapacity and to step in quickly to help you.  Your agent may make decisions over and control your property, bank accounts, investment accounts, as well as make any necessary legal and tax decisions on your behalf. Only if your actions demonstrate that you are unknowingly putting yourself in a financially vulnerable position may your nominate Agent or Power of Attorney take over your assets.  Without this nomination, your family would need to ask the court to deem you a ward of the state and then the court would appoint a conservator to control your assets including how your spouse and dependents could access your funds.  

 

The Health Care Power of Attorney, HIPAA Authorization and the Living Will are all Advance Healthcare Directives that allow your medical team to work with your nominated agents if you can not make medical, mental health or end-of-life decisions for yourself.  If this nomination does not occur and a catastrophic event happens, the hospital will have the legal authority to do what they think is best for you until a court can hold a hearing to appoint a guardian.  As with the conservator, the legal guardian has the authority to make decisions on your behalf without concern for the costs all the while charging your estate for their time working on your case. 

 

Because it is impossible to know if we will become incapacitated and the impacts of NOT making these decisions and nominations now is so great, everyone NEEDS to complete their Advance Directives or Powers of Attorney documents as part of a comprehensive Estate Plan today.