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SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS: Estate Planning

Updated: Mar 16

"5-THINGS YOU DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT ESTATE PLANNING"




READER WARNING: IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED, OPEN-MINDED BUT ONLY WHEN IT ALIGNS WITH YOUR OPINION, AN IDEOLOGUE BUT NOT A GOOD ONE, OR THINK BAMBI'S MOM (SPOILER ALERT) SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN KILLED IN DISNEY'S CULT CLASSIC MOVIE ABOUT LOSS AND NEW BEGINNINGS, THEN YOU SHOULD STOP READING RIGHT NOW!......................................................... FOR EVERYONE ELSE, ENJOY!


Foreword:

As the title suggests, this BLOG isn't the warm cozy stuff your estate planning attorney is going to tell you when you sit down for that initial consultation. NOPE.

This is the other stuff! -The no frills in your face I don't give a sh** if I offend you REAL talk.


So with that, GIDDY UP, because HERE WE GO.



No. 1. If you wait until you’re dead to plan your estate, NEWS FLASH; it’s TOO late!


The thing that boggles my mind is, that people think somehow, someway, they know when their ticket is going to be punched; I know I know, crazy right? Yet, true.


THINK about it?


If we really believed we could go any day, most of us (I would think) would get our affairs in order, so that our loved ones, wouldn't have to.


THE fact that we don't plan ahead, SHOWS, in some nonsensical way, that we actually believe we have infinite time; which ofcourse-- couldn't be further from the truth.

No. 2. Your Family doesn’t want the STRESS of probating your estate because you were TOO DAMN LAZY to set up a trust.


Presuming your family actually liked you, they'll likely be devastated when you die; sorry, I know this is a bit smut, but hey, this is the school of hard knocks remember; it has to be!


Of course your family is going to be devastated, I have no doubt! But believe me-- this still doesn't mean, even vaguely, that they want to PROBATE your estate. I mean, who wants that STRESS, right?


Listen, there's a lot of misinformation or just flat out fallacies about estate plans, are they necessary, who really needs them, etc.. One thing I want you to remember, if not anything else; is that CONTRARY to what you might have heard, an estate plan ISN'T this big scary thing that monsters are made from; NOR is it equivalent of having bamboo shoots shoved down your fingernails.


For most of us, it's simple, and unlike the ALTERNATIVE i.e. probate, way way LESS stressful.


No. 3. What you pay for an estate plan is PEANUTS compared to what your estate is going to pay in attorney fees if you die WITHOUT one.


Look, this blog isn't about throwing numbers out, or laying out equations that only 1% of 1% of people can actually understand; GOSH no!

There are other blogs for that; some, that I have written!!lol


This blog is about giving you hard facts and even harder truths about estate planning, in a way other professionals (lawyers, cpas, or financial planners) just aren't going to do.


Now, whether this is from fear of judgment, upsetting you, or some other psychological reason; it suffice to say, they're just not going to be this BLUNT!


And for many of us, this is exactly what we need; straight talk, peppered with a lot of grit.


I KNOW I KNOW, you're screaming right about now, "BUT Ruben! Why on earth would somebody, especially an attorney, HOLD BACK!?"


Sounds counter-intuitive, right? Agreed. So try this, consult with an estate planning attorney and let me know if after that conversation you felt the slightest bit of discomfort. If you did, GREAT! It's because you had the good fortune of speaking to a straight talking attorney that cares more about facts, and to a lesser degree, your feelings; kind of like me, but I digress. But for most of you, your consult is going to look something like this:

YOU: So I'm thinking that sometime next year I'll be ready to start on this trust.

ATTORNEY: Fabulous! I am here whenever you're ready.

YOU: I also think that I'll name all my children as trustees, because I would hate

for any of them to feel left out.

ATTORNEY: Marvelous! They can all be co-trustees and decide how to best adminster

your trust.

YOU: I also, don't think I'll need any of the emergency directives like the Health

Care or Power of Attorney; I do Yoga, which means I'm healthy, and

we'll, I plan on being here for a long time.

ATTORNEY: STUPENDOUS! Now that you mention it, you look fantastic!

What yoga video's do you like? Me personally, I love.... //////


CUT!!!!!

ALRIGHT ALRIGHT, you get the point, enough of the baptist sermon; moving on.


Cost:

AN ESTATE PLAN isn't like going to the Dollar Store, it can be expensive; a thousand, a few thousand, in some cases even more depending on the size and complexity of your estate.


But folks, this is peanuts compared to the tens, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in Probate, Property, and Capital Gains Taxes, that you're estate (property you leave behind) will end up paying if you die without an Trust.


SO--if penny pinching is what you do; or stated differently, if you rather your loved ones and not the government get your hard earned money, than BY GOLLY get an estate plan.


No. 4. Everyone’s busy, put time aside; NO EXCUSES.


The biggest reason I hear from people as to why they've waited so long to get their estate in order (cue the drum roll please), is BECAUSE they are too BUSY.


Now let's chew on that for a second shall we. First off, has there ever really been a time in your life outside of your childhood and maybe those first few years after high school or college when you were slumming it, you know, trying to find yourself, that you were not in someway, shape, or form, busy? Seriously, think about it! Second, have you've ever been busy but miraculously taken on something else, or committed to do something, because it was important, or because it just felt like the right thing to do?.....Of course you have! It's part of being a grown man or woman, father or mother, brother or sister, friend or co-worker.


So why not apply that same fortitude to an estate plan; something with tangible benefits; something, that will impact your family and children's lives for years to come.



BUT WAIT! An estate plan doesn't just mean trust and wills, and things that occur after death, heavens no,,,instruments like a Power of Attorney, Beneficiary Designations, and Health Care Directives, play a critical role while you're alive and should be a part of everyone's portfolio, regardless of their social-econmic status.


So ladies and gents, toss YOUR EXCUSES to the wind;

and remember one undeniable truth;--we're all flippant busy!!



No. 5. Estate plans are for everyone, NOT JUST the wealthy, so get to it!


"But RUBEN, I have no house, I barely make ends meat, and if I'm being honest, my possessions wouldn't even fill a 6x10 trailer. So why on earth do I need an estate plan?"


Have no fear my wide-eyed wanderer,

for I will assist you, in your dark existential moment of bewilderment and uncertainty.


How? With a series of questions of course!

  1. Do you have minor children (kids under 18yrs old)?

  2. Do you own anything of sentimental value (engagement ring, family heirloom...)?

  3. Is it possible that one day you might get into an accident, have a heart-attack, get amnesia, become terminally ill, or suffer from a sudden and incapacitating event?

  4. Do you have any debt or bills that you pay on the regular?

  5. Are you a pet owner and care about what happens to them after your gone ?

FOLKS--

IF YOU ANSWERED "YES" TO ANY OF THE 5-QUESTIONS ABOVE, THEN YOU MY FRIEND CAN AND WILL BENEFIT FROM ALL OR SOME OF AN ESTATE PLAN.


Homework


Next time, some uppity Ivy league a**hole tries to feed you some BS about estate plans only being for the wealthy, I want you to look that self-entitled prick in the eyes (maybe throw a raised eyebrow in there for good measure); and exclaim, "No sir, that is INCORRECT!" "Estate plans in fact offer something for everyone, regardless of their social economic status!" --"AND if you must know, why this is true; then I implore you; no, I beg of you"........................................... --"call Ruben J. Martinez; "HE'LL EXPLAIN EVERYTHING!"



Till next time my legalites


-RJM LAWYER





[DISCLAIMER]: in no way should this blog be construed as legal advice. You should always consult a licensed professional before making substantive legal decisions. This blog's aim is at humor and providing marginal advise on various legal matters; nothing more. By sharing said information in no way do I become your attorney or is a client-attorney relationship formed]


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