Do you have a tangible personal property memo as part of your estate plan? I just read a Forbes article that really makes a good case for why one is necessary.
An example they used is as follow, “When a widow with incapacity issues and squabbling adult children died, the executor she named in her will rushed to her home and changed the locks just as one son showed up to take things left in her will to his siblings.”
“in another case, an elderly woman who lived in a run-down house despite having millions of dollars in securities in the bank, had told various nieces, nephews and friends from church that she would give them specific pieces of costume jewelry, the family bible and her collection of homemade jams. What they were fighting over were these sentimental, valueless items because they had an emotional attachment to them.”
How can you prevent these kinds of squabbles at what is already a very emotional time in your family’s life? Put everything in writing. Don’t must make oral promises. Spell out who gets what in a will, trust or personal property memorandum. That way, there won’t be any guessing games or arguments. Your executor will distribute specific items to those who you wanted to have them.
For more information about end of life planning, check out our website at www.diesmart.com.
Bet you never thought that there would be places where death is a crime. Well, there are. Seven cities in Italy, France, Brazil, Spain and Norway urge their citizens not to die.
- Sellia, Italy – The town has only 537 residents, the majority over 65. The mayor decreed that getting sick was not an option. If the residents died, it might kill the town as well. Even though the ban is not enforceable, the town government encourages its residents to stay healthy. Anyone who doesn’t get a yearly checkup will be fined.
- Cugnaux, France – Because there were only 17 plots left in the town cemeteries, in 2007 the mayor decreed dying illegal for anyone who didn’t already have a crypt to be buried in. The only available land for a new cemetery was on a nearby military air base. However, the defense ministry did not want the town to bury its dead there. Luckily, the defense ministry finally gave in and agreed to allow burials.
- Sarpourenx, France – In 2008, because of overcrowded cemetery conditions, the mayor forbid residents from passing on. “Offender shall be severely punished.”
- Biritiba Mirim, Brazil – In 2005, there was such a shortage of space in the local cemetery that the mayor banned death. Luckily, a new cemetery opened in 2010 so people are allowed to go on dying.
- Lanjaron, Spain – In 1999, this town faced a grave shortage. So the mayor forbid his citizens to die until municipal officials could find space for a new cemetery.
- Falciano Del Massico, Italy – In 2012, this town decided to outlaw death as a way of prodding a neighboring town into letting it share cemetery space. (The neighboring town had been charging non-residents more for a plot.) As of 2014, the town was still fighting to get a new cemetery.
- Longyearbyen, Norway – It’s the world’s northernmost settlement and mostly a mining town. In 1950, realizing that bodies in the local cemetery were not decomposing, the town stopped allowing new burials. If you get sick and think you’re going to die, you’d better go elsewhere.
If you know of another town anywhere in the world that doesn’t allow death, we’d love to know about it.
For information about end of life planning, check out our website www.diesmart.com.
As everyone probably knows by now, Prince died on April 21, 2016 and he didn’t have a will. You’d think that someone who had attorneys involved in almost every phase of his life and was worth more than $250 million would have done some estate planning, but evidently not.
Once his death was announced, 29 people came forward claiming to be Prince’s relatives. After several court hearings and DNA testing, the group was whittled down to 6. A few weeks ago, the judge ordered additional genetic testing to conclusively determine whether these people are his descendants.
What did all of these court hearings, testing sessions and attorneys cost? We don’t know but the amount is definitely a sizeable figure. It’s an amount that could have been avoided if Prince had written a will and a trust. In those documents, he could have spelled out exactly what he wanted done with his money and to whom he wanted it to go.
You probably don’t have $250 million to worry about but, whatever the amount, you can make it much more cost effective and a lot less nerve wracking for your heirs if you’ll just prepare the appropriate legal papers. That way, there won’t be a lot of guessing and fighting in court about what others think you meant to happen. It will all be spelled out in your will and trust so there will be no doubt about your wishes.
For information about estate planning, go to our website www.diesmart.com or consult a estate planning attorney.
That’s the percent of Americans who do not have a will, according to a Google Consumer survey by USLegalWills.com.
A recent Forbes.com article talks about some of the horror stories that occur when people die without putting an estate plan in place.
Here are the headings from the real stories:
Death causes sibling in-fighting.
Children get nothing, new wife gets everything.
Life partner left without legal standing.
Life insurance ends up in the wrong hands.
Heirs are left trying to find everything.
Partner owes enormous taxes on property.
Process is time consuming and expensive.
I urge you to read the stories. You may recognize yourself in some of them. But you can avoid the terrible consequences that the people encountered if you will just take the time to prepare an estate plan that reflects what you want to have happen to your assets when you die.
For more information about what to do, go to our website, www.diesmart.com.
Earlier this year, we wrote about the first state to adopt the new, revised UFADAA (Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act) recommended statute. This statute makes clearer the ways which an estate executor and others can deal with your digital assets when you die.
Indiana, this week, joined the ranks of states that have decided to pass a “law that addresses the rights of a fiduciary, such as a personal representative, trustee, attorney-in-fact or guardian, to access digital property, such as online financial accounts, emails, texts, social media accounts and online document and picture storage.”
Since digital assets are a large part of many people’s estates, this new act has become more important. States are recognizing this and, as of this date, many have either adopted the act or are in the process of considering it.
For information about whether your state has adopted this important act yet, click here.
For more information about digital estate planning, check out our book “Access Denied: Why Passwords Are Now As Important As Your Will” or go to our website www.diesmart.com.