The Over-Planned Estate

Once is enough.

Suddenly this office is awash in probates where the decedent decided to help out a bit more after leaving our office.

We had carefully examined the assets, laid out a disposition for the property in the will, and bid farewell to the client.

Next stop for the client: The bank to execute payable on death clauses to make sure the people had money when the client died to settle his or her affairs.

Isnt that what the will is for? Last will

The trouble is that second step means the estate is gutted of those funds and the bequests in the will never get funded. Absent the beneficiary taking a moral course back to our office to unwind this step, the money quite possibly never finds its way back to the estate to make sure the right people get the bequest, or even “people have money to settle my affairs”.

As a matter of law this money which is payable on death belongs to the person the client named after he left our office, and the beneficiary doesn’t have to “do the right thing”. remember you are not here in that event to make it right.

This event might fall into the category of ” I just want it to be simple ” but too much effort means it is not. Instead it gets complex. Saying it once in the right place is enough.

A Six Pack of Lawyer

My client is getting divorced from her husband who works at Costco. He has a sizable retirement account which we must divide by “qualified domestic relations order”, or “QDRO”.

What this does is segregate money to her own account which she would own free and clear when the divorce enters and without tax consequences. Of course Costco, like any other company, has a say about what the order looks like. It is common that we more or less follow whatever rules the given company may want to impose on how this gets divided.

Costco is the first company I have seen that actually charges the couple for the task of reviewing the order for accuracy.

This has led me to question what this is going to cost. I wonder whether the Costco lawyers come in multi-packs, shrink wrapped together and on a pallet. Individually the lawyer is not that expensive, but a six-pack of lawyer taken all at once the fees tend to add up.

I am glad they take American Express. My firm does too, but you can see us one lawyer at a time.