A Story About Your Home, Your Heirs And Probate
PART 3: EXECUTION OF THE PLAN
Only six months after Betty completed all of her health documents and end of life documents in my office I received a phone call from Jen, her daughter. Betty had passed away. Jen explained that she was able to help her mom by using the power of attorney (POA) document and that allowed her to pay bills like utilities and medical invoices and Jen did all of that until her mom passed away. The POA ceases to function upon a person’s death. But Betty and I planned for that and Jen was able to access the funds that remained in the bank accounts the same day she received the death certificate. She was very glad Mom planned this way as she, Jen, did not have the funds to cover the cost of cremation or burial.
Well, there was a hitch and mom’s medical care for the last few months cost a lot more than her monthly income covered so her savings was depleted. Left in the account was just under $1,000. This took care of the cremation but did not leave enough for the cost of burying the cremains with Betty’s husband, Jen’s father.
This left Betty’s family with a few hurdles including: not being able to bury mom as her wishes directed (she could have pre-paid the amount and it would not have had an adverse effect for the medicare look-back period), the looming property tax bill (homestead was to be terminated as Jen, the daughter and beneficiary, had her own homestead property), the costs of probate to transfer ownership for the property, and the uncommon issue of the home being in an age restricted community and the grandson, living in the home, was not of the age to qualify.
Jennifer had quite a situation but with careful work using the information I knew about Betty and her planning process I was able to help Jen navigate the simpler (and cheaper) form of probate and arrange to have the home deeded in such a way as to preserve homestead without activating a gifting tax between Jen and her son, Robert.
A trust is not always necessary and it is not a one-stop solution even for those that really do need a trust. Having thorough discussions with your attorney, your tax advisor and your financial planner will help you determine if you need a trust and what other documents you need to make your planning work for you the way you want. A joint discussion with all three professionals is often an excellent choice and can save you time and money.
Call today to set up your complimentary consultation to evaluate your needs, your current documents, and to determine what changes or additions you may need to make now or in the future.
Consultations are available in the office or at your location. Evening and weekend appointments are available for your convenience.
Call Bonnie Klein Rhoden, Esquire at 321-631-0506 or email using the contact form on this page.