E186 Who Will Bury Me If I Have No Family_

E186 Who Will Bury Me If I Have No Family?


This is an important question for Solo Agers, or for anyone without family nearby.

Friends, Neighbors, Community

Pros

Your close friends, neighbors, etc. probably know your wishes best. And they also most want to honor you, have a nice remembrance.

Cons

It’s a big ask, even for close friends. Tending to final remains, and organizing a funeral service is a big and emotional job. Your friends may prefer to attend your funeral, not run it.

Distant Family

Pros

Blood is thicker than water, right? You may feel than any relative, even estranged, is most appropriate.

Cons

Just like with close friends, it’s a big ask. And distant relatives won’t know much about you or your final wishes.

funeral flowers

Hired Professional

Pros

Want something done as you like? What better way then to hire someone? With friends and family, it’s either an honor or an obligation. Hire a pro, and it’s their job. A professional with a reputation to protect will reliably carry out your final wishes.

Cons

A professional may not have the same warmth as a friend or family. But remember, someone like a professional executor is just organizing burial and the funeral. Your friends are still in attendance, and free to focus on remembering you.

The Public Option: Pauper’s Funeral

Pros

Well, it’s free. Yes, the state has a burial option of last resort for anyone with no family or no money.

Cons

It’s in the name: this is a pauper’s funeral. Typically for the homeless, your burial will be carried out by New York’s incarcerated.

E183 Did Her Estate Plan Work?

E183 Did Her Estate Plan Work? A Solo Ager Example


Let’s take a look at a real world example of whether a Solo Ager’s estate plan worked towards the end of her life.

Ms.H’s Plan: DIY Will + Professional Executor

Background

Ms. H is a solo ager (unmarried, no kids, over 60 years old) who’s been estranged from her closest relatives (siblings and nieces and nephews) for decades.

She made a do-it-yourself will leaving everything to charity. Thankfully, she hired a lawyer to supervise her will signing.

Ms. H named me her professional executor in her will, and over the past 10 years her wishes have remained largely the same.

Recently

Sadly, age has caught up with Ms. H, and she was recently hospitalized for lack of self-care. Her doctors agree they cannot discharge her to live alone anymore, so we’re making arrangements for Ms. H to move into assisted living.

take care of yourself

She’s understandably anxious about all this, and even contacted her long-estranged niece and asked her to visit.

What Went Right with Her Plan?

Ms. H avoided a few problems by naming me her professional executor.

First, she won’t have to deal with any “court-appointed strangers,” such as a guardian. Instead, she can turn to me, someone she’s chosen and has a relationship with.

Second, she felt comfortable reaching out to estranged family, without fear they’d try to sneak into her inheritance. Since Ms. H already has a will and an attorney-executor standing by, her niece has focused solely on reconnecting with Ms. H emotional, not financially.

And lastly, Ms. H’s doctors, hospitals, and social worker have all been grateful to have me as a main point of contact for her care.

What Went Wrong with Her Plan?

Her plan does have a couple of weaknesses.

Since an executor steps in after death, I don’t have authority to help Ms. H now. For example, I can’t help make financial arrangements for her to access a better assisted living. She much choose among the options thru Medicare.

Also, if unscrupulous and aggressive family comes out of the woodwork, I have fewer tools to fend them off. We’d have to battle in court, which could waste Ms. H’s time and money, and cause her stress.

Why a Trust Could Have Been Better

If Ms. H had made me trustee, I’d be better to avoid any court-appointed strangers for her. And more ability to upgrade her care, and deter unwanted family, without having to go to court.

Living trust and estate planning form on a desk.

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E179 3 Steps to Make Sure Your DIY Will Works

E179 3 Steps to Make Sure Your DIY Will Works


Since we keep seeing folks who are going the DIY will route, a few more tips on how to make sure that software or will form actually works

Today we’ll discuss:

  1. Use local software/forms
  2. Keep it simple
  3. Hire a lawyer to supervise the signing

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E163 Always Leave Inheritance in a Trust Fund

E163 Always Leave Inheritance in a Trust Fund


Rich people don’t walk past free money, they pick it up (metaphor, not literally). Let’s discuss an estate planning example: asset protection trusts instead of direct gifts

Today we’ll discuss:

  1. What’s a direct gift?
  2. What’s an asset protection trust?
  3. Why it’s “free money” that EVERYONE should take

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E162 Post-Coronavirus Trusts Make Even MORE Sense

E162 Post-Coronavirus Trusts Make Even MORE Sense


There are lots of reasons why a trust is better than just a will. And post-coronavirus, a trust makes even MORE sense.

Today we’ll discuss:

  1. Video notary instead of witnesses
  2. Quarantine is a new type of incapacity
  3. Locked down courts: another reason to avoid probate

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E161 Court-Appointed Strangers

E161 Court-Appointed Strangers

Most of us cringe at the idea of some stranger or bureaucrat having power over us. But that’s exactly what happens with Court-Appointed Strangers. Specifically Guardians: the strangers with power over our seniors

Today we’ll discuss:
(1) How Guardians get power
(2) Some unnerving examples
(3) It’s always about money
(4) How to avoid this type of stranger
(5) Other types of court-appointed strangers

Estate Planning for Bitcoin

Estate Planning for Bitcoin

Cryptocurrency has an estate planning problem. And it’s one of the barriers to wider cryptocurrency acceptance. Nobody wants to accumulate an asset that may disappear, often upon death.

Getting Final Affairs in Order Before Death

Getting Final Affairs in Order Before Death

Whether you’re the caregiver or the terminally ill, it can be satisfying to help get organized and take inventory. This is really important if there aren’t many close relatives.

5 Mistakes With DIY Wills and Witnesses

E151 5 Mistakes With DIY Wills and Witnesses


I get that Do-it-Yourself is very tempting. But you may be creating HUGE problems for your heirs.

We’ll discuss:

  1. Witnesses names
  2. Witness addresses
  3. “Self-proving”
  4. Professional witnesses
  5. Court’s assumptions

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E91 Would You Trust ACS with Your Kids? 956x423

E91 Would You Trust ACS with Your Kids? (Reminder to Name Guardians)


If you don’t have a plan in place, what happens to your kids in an emergency? If the police can’t locate next of kin immediately, your kids may be off to ACS, or foster care.


A recent probe revealed concerning facts about ACS.

Links:

https://nypost.com/2019/05/05/acs-is-often-careless-when-handing-kids-to-foster-parents-probe/

http://lauraecowanlaw.com/

https://www.wpaslaw.com/