Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Death and Taxes

The only certainty in life? Ahhh! The Today show even quoted Big Ben this morning as apart of their series on how to save money filing your taxes or something like that. I was having a hard time hearing over Rt pleading with me to watch his signing video. "Baby, Baby, Baby?". "Not now, sweetheart. Quiet now." "Baby, Baby, Baby??????". Anywho, both seem to be the going subjects out there lately.

Just yesterday, I was at my MOPS meeting (Mother's of Preschoolers)(aren't I kickass?) where an Estate Planning and Asset Protection lawyer spoke. Usually at our meetings, the mood is fluffy, the crafts are quaint, but useful, and the food takes the shape of a supposed egg casserole, but yesterday, it was MAJOR HEAVY. I even teared up during the presentation. No one wants to think about what will happen to your child if you AND your hubby dies. It literally makes my heart hurt. The whole point to the lawyer being there was to inform us, if we weren't "ready" for the worst to happen, then it could mean a lot of trouble for our offspring and family.

Here is what I thought you should know:

1) Make sure you have a list of FIRST RESPONDERS and their phone numbers given to ANYONE who watches your children when you/hubs are not there. These people are to be called in case you do not come home or something has happened to you. These people do not need to be the permanent guardians of your children. They should be people you trust who are local and can get to your kids quickly.

2) Give these First Responders Legal authority to take custody of your children. It must be giving in writing. (A lawyer should look over the document.)

3) Carry a CARD with you in your wallet under your driver's license to tell police how to reach your First Responders.

4) Name a PERMANENT guardian. If you don't, a COURT will do so for you and you will have no say in who raises your children.

5) Is there anyone in your family you do NOT want to raise your kids? If so, you should have an estate planning attorney prepare and ANTI-NOMINATION.

6) If you own a house or have more than $100,000 in assets, you need to make sure your property goes to your child in a LIVING trust. Without one, your loved ones will go to probate court which costs 5% of your gross estate and take 16 MONTHS to resolve. (IN CA)

7) Make sure your child never inherits anything from you OUTRIGHT. The best way is to us an ASSET-PROTECTED trust that last their entire lifetime. This trust will help protect your inheritance from being lost due to divorce, estate taxes, lawsuits, etc.

So, after reading all this, are you scared shitless? I know I was. The only MAJOR ASS kicker to getting a LIVING TRUST is, they are expensive. Now, not as expensive as how much it will cost in legal fees and taxes after the fact, but for anyone's regular budget, it can be pricey. I'd say somewhere around $1500 as a minimum would be about right. Ouch.

Now that I have made myself sick thinking of "what could be", I have to get back to filing our taxes online. Woo hoo! Let's just hope we get a whopper back from Uncle Sam, so we can actually consider getting us one of those live trust thingys.


1 comment:

LVGurl said...

Before Andrew and I went to France, we drew up a will using a software program and got it notarized. We still have it, it's official. But we definitely need to meet with a lawyer for create an updated will and get a living trust drawn up! Thanks for the reminder.