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Some Major Compromising Going On ...

September 13th, 2009 at 08:28 pm

As mentioned in my last post, on Thursday we met with an estate planning attorney. DH & I talked about it a bit on Friday, mostly me asking if he wanted to proceed and him saying "maybe later ...I want to think about it a bit more." On Saturday I came to the conclusion that DH was never going to go for the high lawyer fee, that he was going to keep saying "later" indefinitely, and that could mean our documents not getting redone. As much as I really want to get some professional, proper documents in place, I also know that if I push DH all I'm going to get is push-back. (Same thing would happen if he tried to push me in to a major financial decision against my will ... we are both pretty strong and kind of stubborn that way ... it really bugs me when I hear people say things like "my way or the highway" when it comes to financial decision-making in a marriage ... but, I digress.)

So, I came up with a major compromise that I'm not thrilled about but that I know will at least mean getting new documents in place.

I asked DH if he would agree to let a top-notch estate planning attorney of my choice do our estate documents, regardless of the price, when we turn 50, if I do the documents myself now using Legal Zoom or DIY software. His eyes lit up like Christmas morning and he readily agreed. I think I'm going to have him put it in writing ... He has been known to conveniently "forget" promises made years prior. Big Grin

Now I need to decide which program to use, and more importantly I need to decide if I want to do a DIY revocable living trust (the thought is intimidating, but maybe I just need more knowledge) or if I want to stick with a simple will for the time being.

4 Responses to “Some Major Compromising Going On ...”

  1. monkeymama Says:

    If you had ended up in Cali I would have told you that you were crazy. Big Grin But I think Texas is a much simpler state as far as estates go. I'd probably just go with the will. (& I don't think you are crazy).

    Living trusts are important for people you are not married to (single parents, or if you have children, etc.). IT is far less of an issue if all your accounts are joint, etc. So I am not sure I would bother in your case. I mean, it will have its merits, etc., but waiting to 50 seems like a fair compromise. (Well, just think about your family if something happens to both of you - which is when the trust would come in).

    We've got out living trusts, but boy, I haven't found them terribly practical to fund. Real estate is funded in the trust - that is about it.

    Isn't marriage fun? Wink

  2. zetta Says:

    I agree, the living trust doesn't really make a difference until you both die. How long does probate usually take in Texas? On CA it takes 8-12 months, so avoiding the delay by having a living trust is a big deal. Since you don't have children, maybe you don't mind if your next of kin have to wait a bit for the money, and pay probate fees.

    You might also consider asking your DH to update the wills when your total estate (including life insurance payouts) reaches a set value, rather than reaching a set age. For instance, in 2011 the estate waiver will sunset, so anyone with an estate over $1M in 2011 would benefit from visiting an attorney. (For 2009, you're ok as long as your estate is under $3.5M). If you both die and the next of kin includes his mother, ask him how much he'd like to see go to the govt instead of to her. Smile

    We're saving our kids $400k in taxes by having things properly set up. I tried to do it myself with Quicken wills, and now know I did it incorrectly. I looked at Legal Zoom as well, and did not have a good impression.

    Also, call around to get a good price -- I was quoted as much as $5k to do our plan, but found someone who would do it for $2k.

  3. scfr Says:

    The thing I dislike most about probate in Texas is that the records of a couple's total combined assets must be listed and are publicly available to anyone over the internet ... whether a neighbor down the street or a scammer in Nigeria. Loss of privacy and possible identity theft is a major concern. Blech. This alone makes me really want to go the trust route, but I am afraid of what would happen if I did something incorrectly.

    I also have a non-citizen spouse to think about (no spousal exemption on estate taxes for him, but there's something called a qualified domestic trust that lets you work around that). Yea - the ever-changing estate tax exemptions are screwy, aren't they Zetta? I've been keeping an eye on them for years because of the non-citizen spouse issue, and certainly we would re-do documents and consult an attorney before reaching age 50 if necessary.

    Money left to my DD brother needs to be in the form of a supplemental needs trust. In Washington I was able to make provisions for this in my simple will (not sure if that's the case in Texas).

    Also, as crazy as this will sound to the non-pet folks, if DH & I die at the same time, I want our family to have immediate access to our funds in order to care for our pets.

    Finally, in Texas, if you become incapacitated and need someone else to handle your financial affairs, a trust allows you to avoid a guardianship hearing. I'm not worried about this right now, but of course as we get older it becomes more of a concern.

    I know! I'll just make sure DH & I both live to age 50 so we can get the documents re-done by a professional! Big Grin

  4. LuxLiving Says:

    I was just posting about how to be conciliatory and sensitive in dealing w/financial discussions in marriage! Boy is it true.

    I could not FORCE Hubster to anything, nor would I want to, although at times I do feel as if I'm beating my head against the proverbial brick wall.

    Communication is not a once and done thing!

    Good luck with your efforts. I would be very interested in hearing more about your efforts to get those documents in place as that is next up on my own agenda. AND, you need to get them done too! Big Grin

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