This is an educational estate planning story of fictional characters named Mr. “Not-So” Wise and his neighbor Mr. Wise. One day Mr. Wise came into my office and said, “Patrick, I have worked darn hard for what I have in life and I would like to pass it on someday to my spouse, then my children and even something for my grandchildren’s college education someday. I would also like to avoid the unnecessary costs, expenses and inconvenience of Probate Court proceedings if I ever become disabled and when I die. I would like to also save as much as I can on estate “death” tax when I die and give my loved ones their inheritances free from the hands of creditors and financial predators. “Patrick, can you help me with my estate planning goals?” I said, Mr. Wise, I am very glad to see that you have decided to take on the “personal responsibility” of taking care of the people that mean the most to you in your life and, Yes, Mr. Wise, you have come to the right place! Not only will we work together to create your estate plan to meet your goals, we will keep your estate plan updated and maintained for you throughout life without the meter running. We will even meet with your children and future beneficiaries and explain how the estate plan works. We will also help them someday when you are gone and not able to be here for them. We will have your back! Mr. Wise was very pleased with what he heard and even more pleased with the “My Family Life Plan” estate planning process we use with our Trust clients. Mr. Wise made a reasonable but very “wise” investment to properly protect what he has for the people he loves most in his life. The end result was Probate Avoidance, estate tax minimization and protected gifts for his children and grandchildren. Amazing, Mr. Wise saved his family quite a bit of money by planning properly. He also kept his family in tact by preserving the family harmony after his passing. The family mourned his loss but were very proud of the way Mr. Wise planned for them all. They all lived life happy, healthy, wealthy and “wise.”
Now, the not so fortunate story of Mr. “Not-So” Wise. Mr. “Not-So” Wise came into the office one day and said, “Patrick, I need you to draw up a Will for me.” I said to Mr. “Not-So” Wise in the most polite way possible, “what do you think a Will can do for you?” He said, “well, won’t a Will avoid Probate Court? “if” I die someday won’t a Will protect all my stuff from the tax man and creditors?” I spent the next hour or so doing my very best to counsel and educate Mr. “Not-So” Wise on the best ways to meet his estate planning goals. At the end of the meeting Mr. “Not-So” Wise said, “well, it all sounds good Patrick, BUT, I don’t think Probate Court will be so bad, and besides I can hold most of my assets jointly and avoid probate court, can’t I?” He then went on to say “I may have a taxable estate today but I plan on spending everything before I go and won’t have to worry about paying the “death” tax.” Also, he said, “my kids are all wonderful and very smart they would never make poor decisions and they will always get along with no fighting.” That’s when Mr. “Not-So” Wise made his decision to hold onto his old and outdated Will based estate plan. We shook hands and I wished him the very best and reminded him to call me if he ever needed assistance with “proper” estate planning someday.
Unfortunately, you can probably guess the outcome and ill fate of Mr. “Not-So” Wise. A short time later Mr. “Not-So” Wise was called to the pearly gates of heaven by not sure if it was Mother Teresa or Saint Peter. Mr. “Not-So” Wise was now in a good place, BUT back on earth his wife had to hire a Probate lawyer to handle the legal matters of his estate in probate court. Mrs. Not-So Wise had to pay unnecessary court costs, filing fees and hefty legal fees in the long and lengthy probate court process. A good chunk of the family inheritance was now gone. One day she was going to pick up one of the grandchildren from school and got into an automobile accident with a School Bus! The financial creditors of the children from the school bus accident sued Mrs. “Not-So” Wise for medical bills and pain and suffering. 100% of her inheritance from her husband was exposed to these creditors because the Will did not provide any of these creditor protections. Mrs. Not-So Wise’s adult children, Moe, Larry and Curly weren’t happy with this and they began to quarrel and fight amongst themselves about who was going to get the scraps after mom was gone.
No worries Moe, Larry and Curly. While they were busy quarrelling Mrs. Not-So Wise met her second husband “Beau the Tennis pro”. Beau was the handsome, dashing tennis-pro at the local health club. Some say he had an eye for the ladies…but a bigger eye for their purses.
Stay tuned for more on Mrs. Not-So Wise and her new hubby Beau the Tennis pro…
If you like our educational estate planning blogs please share with someone you think could benefit from these stories.
Have you or your elderly loved ones got your affairs in order by updating your Will and Trust so that your home and cash assets are protected?? There has been many changes in laws and your life that may have impacted your estate plan. Call us for a review!
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation please call Attorney Patrick Kelleher at 781-871-PLAN (7526) or by email at Pat@myfamilylifeplan.com
Our firm helps families taking care of them for life. We not only “create” their Will and Trust, but we “maintain it and keep it updated” for them throughout their life! The meter is not running for our ‘Client Care Plan’ members!
Patrick J. Kelleher is a South Shore, MA resident and estate planning attorney serving and protecting families and businesses in the South Shore, MA area. For more information on estate planning visit our firm’s website at www.MyFamilyLifePlan.com where you can check out our Blog, free Newsletter library, free Estate Planning Channel on Youtube and sign up for a Free e-Newsletter!
Also serving the following communities South of Boston; Quincy, Milton, Braintree, Randolph, Holbrook, Weymouth, Scituate, Norwell, Hingham, Cohasset, Hull, Hanover, Pembroke, Duxbury, Marshfield, Plymouth, Rockland, Hanson, Halifax, Plympton, Carver, Abington, Whitman, Kingston
This article is not intended to provide legal or tax advice or create or imply an attorney-client relationship. No information contained herein is a substitute for a personal consultation with an attorney.