Concerns of a Trustee, a Valuable Interview

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Concerns of a trusteeQ: Do your parents have a trust? A: Yes

Q: Do you know where the trust document is? A: Yes

Q: As your parents are getting up in years, what are your main concerns? A: Will I have enough money to take care of them or do they have enough money?  What will be my costs for supporting them if I need to?  Are their assets protected fromt he state or goverment, or prtoected from family members who they don’t want to have it?

Q: Do you have a copy? A: Yes

Q: What have they told you about it? A: Not much, I am the Executor and in charge of everything.

Q: Do you know what it means to be an Executor? A: Yes, to read out the document and make sure my parents’ wishes are carried out.

Q: Do you know Executor’s have specific fiduciary responsibilities? A: No

Q: Would it be helpful for you to have information that explains these responsibilities? A: Yes, as long as it was not too long ot in terms which are hard to understand.  I would like to know what’s expected of me.

Q: Do you have siblings? A: Yes

Q: Do you anticipate conflict with your siblings? A: For the most part, no.  I anticipate we could have frustrations over how to handle things, but nothing major.  My parents trusted that I could handle it best out of all kids.  My plan is to disperse everything evenly, without conflict…if possible.

Q: Do you feel added presure or burden for being the Executoe, especially because your siblings are not? A: Yes

Q: Do you know what Settlement means? A: Sort of. I have a basic understanding.

Q: Where would you turn for settlement help? A: An attorney

Q: Did you know a CPA could be needed for settlement? A: No

Q: Do you know all of your parents assets or have you seen a list of all their accounts? A: No but I have a decent idea.

Q: Do you know the name of your parents’ financial advisor? A: Fidelity

Q: Anyone at Fidelity specifically? A: No

Q: Do you know the firm or name of the attorney who drafted their trust? A: No

Q: If you have any questions about the trust document, where would you turn? A: An attorney

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As an attorney in our Licensed Attorney Network, you will be able to provide the finest estate planning document packages to your clients, matured through more than 1,000 network attorneys, and utilize our excellent support services as your back office. Our system allows you to build the estate planning portion of your business by receiving referrals from our network of Independent Advisors, save valuable time on research of federal law changes, and reduce the cost of generating new clients.  View more

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As an Independent Advisor you will be able to support your client from start-to-finish by assisting in the non-legal aspects of the estate planning process.  This includes educating your clients on estate planning concepts, gathering information, working in conjunction with an attorney who is affiliated with our network, to create a living trust, aiding in the execution and funding of the trust, and assisting with the settlement process.  View more

 

 

What We Inherit From Parents and Attitudes It Creates

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"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."  -Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Have you read Jonathan Franzen's new novel, "Freedom"? It has the dubious distinction of being one of Oprah's Book Club selections and receiving a devastating review in The New Republic.

There being no such thing as bad publicity, the breadth of comment and reaction in many venues at many levels of criticism and approbation has it firmly ensconced on the New York Times best-seller list. The main plot, the train wreck of a marriage between Patty and Walter Berglund and all the collateral damage caused to other family members and friends, I will leave to your reading.

The Berglunds are liberals during the George W. Bush administration and raise a family, have affairs, destroy relationships and generally wreak havoc. As Ruth Franklin, writing for The New Republic says, Freedom is a "The Way We Live Now" novel in which, as in Trollope's novel of that title, the perfidy and moral vacuity of the age are laid bare. "Mistakes were made."

Near the end of the book, Patty Berglund's mother, Joyce, is trying to make an estate plan. She is a widow and owner of a family estate her husband inherited from his father.

Spoiler Alert: The story that follows about Patty's family is near the end of the book. You may want to wait and read the book. On the other hand, in truth, this particular vignette has precious little to do with the rest of the book; and you won't really be spoiling anything.

What is Joyce's problem? Her children and other family members are pressuring her. Her son Edgar, his wife and numerous children live in the estate, which has fallen into grave disrepair. They live there rent free, of course. This son has produced Joyce's only grandchildren. He threatens that he, his wife and the precious grandchildren will relocate to a settlement on the West Bank in Israel if he doesn't get his way.

Patty's two sisters, Abigail and Veronica, who were the favorites while Patty was growing up, have failed to become self-supporting and count themselves entitled to mother Joyce's support.

Patty hasn't been part of the family for years — since the first Thanksgiving after she married Walter. Now she is back in the picture trying to broker a deal. But of course, she and her children aren't in line for part of the inheritance — she has been the family black sheep for too long.

Also in the picture are Joyce's two brothers-in-law. Her husband received the family estate from his parents. The other two brothers were left other assets in the will but, regrettably, these declined in value and were worthless when they were inherited. Joyce feels they may have a moral claim on part of the family estate.

What is the inheritance here? False claims of entitlement, emotional blackmail, long-held grudges, greed, and jealousy. Who is the property owner? That would be Joyce. Does anyone care, does anyone even ask, what she wants? Joyce is paralyzed by the conflicting demands, so does nothing? This is always making a decision in itself. By doing nothing she is choosing to let New York's intestacy statute apply, dividing the estate equally among the four children. And who is to say that is not the best thing?

From generation to generation: what is the legacy for Patty and Walter's two children? That selfishness and cruelty continue down the family tree? That people are really "selfish and shortsighted and egotistical and needy." Will Walter make sure that his children get the lake cottage he inherited from his mother? Will one of the children demand that they get all of it — cutting off a sibling in juvenile rivalry?

And you, what will you do with your estate? Are you avoiding making decisions because you know the children will be "unhappy?" Are you planning your dispositions secretly, so the bomb will go off after the funeral when the will is read?

By Patti S. Spencer, Staff Writer

Top 5 Estate Planning Mistakes

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I recently read a report that suggested that only about 20 percent of the population has a formal estate plan. After reviewing the points below, please take a minute to consider whether it's time for you to create or update your estate plan.

Here are five estate planning mistakes that people make that can be avoided.

1. Dying without a will or trust - If you die without a will or trust, the state in which you reside and the IRS will simply make one for you.  Of course, they have no interest in avoiding or reducing estate taxes, minimizing estate administration costs or protecting your family and legacy. The distribution of your assets will just be turned over to the Probate Court. The probate process is needlessly time consuming, frustrating and expensive. It is also open to the public, meaning creditors, predators or anyone else will have complete access to all information about your estate. For the vast majority of people, the benefits far outweigh any initial costs.

2. Having an "I love you" will – An”I love you” will is one in which all the decedent's assets have been left to the spouse. On paper, it might seem to be a caring, thoughtful gesture, but the reality is quite different, because such a will simply passes the complex issues and problems associated with transferring and protecting wealth onto the spouse or other loved ones.  It creates more problems than it solves, particularly for future generations.

3. Giving property outright to your children - Here is another solution that might sound good at first, but ignores several important realities. For instance, what if the child in question is too immature to handle the responsibility of a large sum of money on his or her own? What if the child suffers a severe financial setback that puts the inheritance at risk to creditors?  What if the child marries a fortune-hunter, is addicted to drugs or alcohol, gets divorced or remarried? You may need to protect your children and heirs from their own poor decisions.  These assets are also gifted assets which carry potentially large IRS penalties if not handled properly.

4. Owning property jointly - There are two types of joint ownership, Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship (JTWROS) and Tenants in Common (TIC).  Problems with JTWROS include postponement of probate only until last tenancy, the loss of the double step-up in tax basis creating more to pay in capital gains taxes, and outright distribution.  With TIC, you also lose the double step-up in tax basis where it's available, and your property is subject to the estate plan of each tenant as well as probate for each tenant.

5. Not having a trust - A trust is the single most effective estate planning tool available. There are many different types of trusts.  Among the better known and more commonly used are revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts and testamentary trusts. A Trust protects your privacy, and will help you leave what you want, to whom you want, in the way you want at the lowest possible cost overall.  The additional advantage is that you avoid Probate altogether, which means that the settlement of the living trust will be done swiftly, without court or attorney's involvement, in contrast to having only an "I love you" Will.

Planning Matters: Even estates of rich and famous crash and burn

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If you are like most people, you have done no estate planning. If that is the case, you are in good (bad) company.

You would think lawyers -- trained legal professionals -- would have completed their own estate plan. Alas, lawyers are no different than anybody else and often fail to plan. One of the most famous and respected lawyers of all time, Abraham Lincoln, died without a will. I also have known a number of attorneys who died without even having the simplest of wills.

More often problems arise when lawyers, who are not estate planning specialists, attempt to do their own estate plans. These lawyers often believe they are qualified to prepare estate plans for themselves and their clients. I regularly review wills and trusts, powers of attorney and other estate planning documents that are drafted by lawyers who are not estate planning specialists.

These plans usually have unintended results.

There are health care powers of attorney that do not to have living will provisions, mental health care powers, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act access and releases or signed patient advocate acceptances.

It is not uncommon for trusts to have faulty tax provisions. I have seen wills, which are death instruments; contain health care powers, which can only be used during a lifetime.

I often see financial powers of attorney that do not allow for the gifting of assets to the family instead of spending it all down on nursing home care. Unfortunately, many times I only see the estate planning documents after the maker's incapacity or death when there is little that can be done to remedy the situation.

What do Pablo Picasso, Howard Hughes and Sonny Bono all have in common? None of them had a will.

Often the rich and famous do no planning or poor planning. However, with estates whose amounts end in lots of zeros, the unintended consequences have much more of a financial impact.

The rich and famous make the same mistakes as everybody else, only worse. The failure to plan or failure to plan properly has resulted in many their estates to be eaten up administration expenses, taxes and litigation costs.

One of the more well-known estates that had unintended results is the estate of Elvis Presley, the King of Rock 'n' Roll. Considering his stature in the entertainment world, Elvis left a relatively modest $10.2 million estate.

However, the settlement costs of his estate totaled nearly $7.4 million leaving only about $2.8 million to his heirs. About 73% of his estate was eaten up by the settlement costs.

The super-rich also are not immune from doing poor planning. Conrad Hilton of the Hilton Hotel chain left an estate of nearly $200 million. More than half of that was consumed in settlement costs.

Author and filmmaker Michael Crichton, best known as the author of "Jurassic Park" and creator of the TV series "ER," died unexpectedly when his wife was pregnant. He had not provided for his unborn child in his estate plan. This resulted in substantial legal fees for his widow in her quest to obtain a share of his estate for their child.

Andy Warhol on the other hand, did proper estate planning. This resulted in only a fraction of his estate being eaten up in settlement costs. Although his estate settlement costs were nearly as much as Elvis' at a reported $6.9 million, because his estate was nearly $300 million, only 2.3% of his estate was consumed by the settlement costs.

Because it looks like many celebrities' estate settlement costs have left their legacy as "not so rich and famous," don't take your cue from them.

Do proper planning with a legal specialist in estate planning. You wouldn't go to an oncologist to treat your diabetes any more than you should have a divorce or criminal lawyer prepare your estate plan.

The estate planning professional who prepares your estate plan should have a working knowledge of not only estate planning, but also federal and state tax laws and elder law. Without a working knowledge of all three of these areas, your estate plan could be missing some critical elements. So go forth and do proper estate planning today.

Matthew M. Wallace

Membership- General Overview

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As an attorney in our Licensed Attorney Network, you will be able to provide the finest estate planning document packages to your clients, matured through nearly 30 years and a 1,000 network attorneys, and utilize our excellent support services as your back office. Our system allows you to build the estate planning portion of your business by receiving referrals from our network of Independent Advisors, save valuable time on research of federal law changes, document processing and reduce the cost of generating new clients. View more


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As an Independent Advisor in our professional network, you will be able to support your client from start-to-finish by assisting in the non-legal aspects of the estate planning process.  This includes educating your clients on estate planning concepts, gathering information, working in conjunction with an attorney in our network, to create important planning documents, a living trust, aiding in the execution and funding of the trust, and assisting with the settlement process.  View more


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Attorney Affiliation Details Page.Advisors

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Request an Information Packet

 

As an Independent Advisor in our professional network, you will be able to support your client from start-to-finish by assisting in the non-legal aspects of the estate planning process.  This includes educating your clients on estate planning concepts, gathering information, working in conjunction with an attorney in our network, to create important planning documents, a living trust, aiding in the execution and funding of the trust, and assisting with the settlement process. 

1.  Once your application has been approved,  you will receive a sample trust (full binder) customized to your home state, a training manual, a sample client workbook, and The Living Trust book by Henry Abts III.

2.  When you have a client you will  input their information into our client workbook (provided online); then you will provide the workbook to an attorney in our network to create the trust.

3.  The attorney will send us the client/trust information electronically; we will then prepare the documents and ship them by FedEx to you or the attorney’s door within 2 weeks.  (A mini-summary is printed in addition to printing the trust and provided in the shipment for the attorney to forward to you.)

Training/Education INCLUDED

A training course is included in your set-up fee, The Basic Institute for the Estate Preservation is offered several times a year.  It is necessary to complete this course within your first year of affiliation.  We require this course because we have found it to be extremely valuable in your performance and success.  We've gathered nearly 30 years of proven results.  For information on The Basic Institute for the Estate Preservation please click here.

Resource Center INCLUDED

You will have access to the Affiliate Resource Center.  This is a password protected area you will be given access to utilize numerous tools and resources at your fingertips.  It includes items such as articles, educational material, forms, marketing materials, workbooks and more.

Referrals INCLUDED

We offer free referrals to our trusted network professionals that are generated through The Living Trust book and through our website.

Expert Support INCLUDED

We offer education and expert support for client estate planning solutions (strategy), developing business strategies, tracking changes in federal law and tax code that will impact the industry, and keeping you alert of the changes through email, your Affiliate membership to the website, and our newsletter The Source.

Affiliate Membership INCLUDED

ACCESS TO ALL:  Articles, The Source e-newsletter, Videos, Seminars, Case Studies, the Forum and Blog, 25% off Education, 45% off Training Institutes, Infographics, Tools and the Affiliate Resource Center.

ADDITIONAL AFFILIATION DETAILS

There is a one-time set-up fee of 695.00. When your application is approved,  you are set-up as an affiliated professional in our network.  There is a $175 annual affiliation fee processed through automatic renewal at the end of your fiscal year from the date of approval.  

HOW TO GET STARTED

1. Request your Information & Application Packet, please fill it out and submit it by faxing to 775-828-4444 or emailing it to alliances@tepsource.com 

2. Once we receive the application, we will review and approve it.  We will contact you upon approval and payment. (Any application that is not accepted will receive a full refund or not be processed.)

3. We will send, by FedEx ground, a sample trust (full binder) for your state, a sample client workbook, and The Living Trust book by Henry Abts III.  Included in your set-up fee is our educational training course; The Basic Institute for Estate Preservation, it is recommended you attend this course at your earliest convenience, and modules are now available online if you prefer to get a quick start.  The training manual you will receive is for this training course.

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Training & Education

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THE ADVANCED INSTITUTE FOR ESTATE PRESERVATION

LIVE ADVANCED INSTITUTE - AUGUST 14-16, 2017 - RENO NEVADA

The Advanced Institute is a professional training course that offers an extensive education on current topics affecting your estate planning practice.  Each subject is presented by an expert in the industry.  An example of training topics are Medicaid and Veterans Planning, When a Corporate Trustee is Necessary, The Power of Trust Provisions, IRA Trust Planning, Settling the Estate, and more.  The Basic Institute course is preferred prior to attending this course.

THE BASIC INSTITUTE FOR ESTATE PRESERVATION

The Basic Institute is a professional training course that offers a solid education on living trusts, solutions for clients and higher net worth clients using advanced planning concepts, how to properly execute and fund a revocable living trust, steps for estate settlement, available marketing materials and how to use them, and where to look to potentially unlock new business and more.

TOPICS YOU WILL LEARN IN THE BASIC ESTATE PRESERVATION TRAINING INSTITUTE

The History of the Living Trust and Its Relevance Today
The Dangers of Probate
The Revocable Living Trust System
The Revocable Living Trust – 222 Provisions
Ancillary Documents in a Good Trust System
The Planning Team and Avoiding the Unauthorized Practice of Law
Client Generation, Marketing, and New Internet Systems
Advanced Planning Vehicles
The Estate Planning Client Process
Building Estate Planning Office Systems
Working with The Estate Planning Source
Putting Your Plans in Motion
Case Studies

ONLINE TRAINING & EDUCATION

Various information, training and educational material available to network professionals

Who We Help

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ATTORNEY

As an attorney in our Licensed Attorney Network, you will be able to provide the finest estate planning document packages to your clients, matured through more than 1,000 network attorneys, and utilize our excellent support services as your back office. Our system allows you to build the estate planning portion of your business by receiving referrals from our network of Independent Advisors, save valuable time on research of federal law changes, and reduce the cost of generating new clients.  View more

ADVISOR or Financial Planners

As an Independent Advisor you will be able to support your client from start-to-finish by assisting in the non-legal aspects of the estate planning process.  This includes educating your clients on estate planning concepts, gathering information, working in conjunction with an attorney who is affiliated with our network, to create a living trust, aiding in the execution and funding of the trust, and assisting with the settlement process.  View more

 

 

About Us

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About Us

As a leading national document fulfillment organization, The Estate Planning Source (TheEstatePlanningSource.com) offers one the finest revocable living trust document packages available, matured through more than 1,000 Network attorneys.

Acting as a "back office" for attorneys, the associates at The Estate Planning Source prepare requested documents, customizing, printing, and assembling a trust package. To date, the company has finalized over 60,000 trusts. Detailed and comprehensive, these trust documents have been developed through years of hands-on improvement by hundreds of attorneys throughout the United States resulting in thousands of satisfied clients. They are drafted to ensure accuracy with current state and federal laws, and are updated as changes occur.

The Estate Planning Source has a national Network of attorneys and financial planners, making its business model one of the most unique in the industry. Together, advisors and attorneys work as a team to help their clients obtain the best documents for their estate. This team aspect helps attorneys strengthen their business, while the advisor is able to support their client from start to finish by assisting with the non-legal aspects of the estate planning process.

Based in Reno, Nevada, the company continues to both streamline the living trust documentation process and educate the general public in choosing trusts as an alternative to traditional wills through TheEstatePlanningSource.com.

We strive to protect our fellow Americans from the evils of probate. We do so by recruiting and training reputable, knowledgeable and experienced Network Attorneys and Financial Advisors and provide them with the most comprehensive and up-to-date estate planning documents so they can offer all-inclusive estate planning services to the American public from concept through final settlement.

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