Please have your affairs in order

foxxycat

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I see a typo in my post above. It is called a "Pour Over Will". In California, the purpose is to cover things that exist outside of your trust that you may not have had time or forethought to put into your trust. It allows your Executor to file a Heggstad Petition which is like a mini probate where the Judge will issue an order allowing your Executor to disperse the property. I don't know if other states have such an instrument.

Speaking from experience not having your affairs in order wreaks havoc on your family. My step Dad died two years ago and had nothing in the form of a Will or Trust even when I offered to draft them for free. He was 79 and didn't see any urgency since people in his line lived into their 90's. He was wrong.

It brings out the worst in people. One of my sisters became someone we didn't know existed with the level of greed and willingness to fight. Thankfully my Dad had some accounts that were able to move by beneficiary designation and my youngest brother was the sole beneficiary in that situation. Clearly it was what my Dad wanted. I helped my brother to take care of the accounts before my sister tried to fight him in court. That is when I really saw the benefit of POD benefits with bank accounts, beneficiary designation, etc. Everything else in his estate had to go through Probate Court. Even though three of us were step-kids he had raised since we were 5, 4, and 3 years of age, the Michigan court only considered blood relatives. He was our Dad. Instead, a child that he had out of wedlock, never raised, and didn't meet until the child was an adult ended up as an equal beneficiary in the eyes of the court. My Dad would roll over in his grave knowing how it ended up. His mistake however.
Yes death brings out the catiness in families. I am working on a Trust for that exact reason. Jon already has his set up-his brother died unexpectedly in 2010? 2011? and he had a trust set up so Jon just went to that Lawyer and get his affairs in order. I need to do the same-as probably leave my accounts to my nieces/nephews since I don't have children and they are all animal lovers and really good kids-
My dad been pestering me to come to the bank to add me to his accounts so when he dies I can still pay bills but he rents his home to someone and it's not an official contract-so been dragging my feet because I can't afford to pay for taxes and utilities in his house as the rent isn't enough to cover it-my dad covers half the costs-and I can't kick out an elderly person in the moment when he passes away..I am trying to get him to go to the lawyer and have some kind of contract made up but ya know it's just a difficult conversation and also yes make sure you voice your wishes to your loved ones concerning your physical property.

I just don't know if I want to take on my dad's request but I probably will..these things can get complicated very fast...
 

EmersonandEvie

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For further motivation, I have an update on my end:

Probate told B's mother that since there was no will, his father's estate/assets are to be divided among his progeny unless they all sign over their rights to her (in their state). B is working on contacting his sisters for their signatures (they are somewhat estranged) and all we can do is pray that the sisters will make the right decision to let his mother keep her house. If they don't, his mother has no legal say in anything- it has the potential to be very, very bad.

What would have prevented this? A will designating everything to B's mother.

Please, please don't put off preventing this heartache.
 
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susanm9006

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I am so sorry about the sudden loss of your brother. I hope you and your nieces are doing well, all things considered.

This is very important. B's father passed away semi-unexpectedly last month and it was a whirlwind of what to do. His wife had NO IDEA of the cost of a funeral and they hadn't even discussed what he wanted done! I couldn't believe it. You'd think a terminal cancer diagnosis would spur you to at least talk about how you wanted your body handled, etc.

Poor B and his mom (who is...interesting...a very classic case of learned helplessness) had to do everything from scratch. He also did not have a will, so I fear that his other children from a previous marriage my take B's mom to court since there wasn't anything specifying that everything go to her. It was a mess.

Once we got back home and settled, I immediately called both of my parents and learned where their wills were and what their wishes were. I never want to be in that same situation again. My heart goes out to your nieces and your family during this difficult time. <3
In most states , absent a will, if there is a living spouse the estate passes on to the spouse rather than children. Georgia seems to be different.
 

EmersonandEvie

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Now I'm confused because I looked it up (this was word of mouth from his mom, who is....interesting) and in their state, the spouse gets half and the progeny get half. Hmm. We will see how this plays out.

I did not mean to hijack the thread! :paperbag: So sorry
 

Willowy

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They don't have to sign the house over. . .they can keep their share and mutually agree to allow their mother to live there for the rest of her life. Drawing up a proper contract so no one person can change their mind later, of course.

Yeah, 50% spouse, 50% progeny makes more sense. It would be really weird if they left the spouse out entirely. Maybe she needs her own lawyer.
 

EmersonandEvie

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That's where it's iffy. The sisters are the dad's from a previous marriage. No relation to B's mother. And none of them care for each other...yay.

We will get it worked out eventually.
 

susanm9006

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Now I'm confused because I looked it up (this was word of mouth from his mom, who is....interesting) and in their state, the spouse gets half and the progeny get half. Hmm. We will see how this plays out.

I did not mean to hijack the thread! :paperbag: So sorry
Was the home held in both their names? If so it would go to her and not be considered part of the estate for probate purposes.
 

EmersonandEvie

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Was the home held in both their names? If so it would go to her and not be considered part of the estate for probate purposes.
It technically is, but the wording is "(husbands name) AND (wife's name)". If it said OR, it could easily go to B's mom. It's just a legal discrepancy.
 

susanm9006

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It technically is, but the wording is "(husbands name) AND (wife's name)". If it said OR, it could easily go to B's mom. It's just a legal discrepancy.
They should see an attorney but if her name is on the deed then the property is joint tenancy and goes to the other tenant at the death of the other.
 

EmersonandEvie

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They should see an attorney but if her name is on the deed then the property is joint tenancy and goes to the other tenant at the death of the other.
I know the house is in both their names. Unsure if the land the house is on is in both.
 

donutte

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I just saw this. I wanted to give my condolences and say how much I can relate. My housemate passed away in October 21st, though it was not nearly as unexpected (she had cancer - but things got really bad, really fast at the end). Worst part, she never told her brothers that she was Stage 4 from the time she was diagnosed. Nothing was set up. No will, no final wishes, no life insurance, just... nothing. It's four months later and they're still working on things.
 
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