Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples – An Ever-Changing Domain of Law

A current legal issue today is whether same-sex couples should have the right to marry. It seems like every new day brings in another court case, a piece of legislation, or the vote of the people on the issue. The rights that "heterosexual" couples take for granted – the right to inherit property from a spouse, the right to make medical decisions when loved ones can not, the ability to handle financial matters when A partner is unable – are changing for gay couples. Some States have unreservedly endorsed same-sex marriage, either by legislation or by court order; others have banned same-sex marriage, through legislation or a referendum vote. In states that do not allow same-sex couples to marry, there is a multitude of laws that may allow recognition of "significant persons" of the same sex in certain areas, but not in others. . and even in the most negative places, there are laws that same-sex couples can use to protect themselves and their loved ones.

In my humble legal opinion, if we honestly interpret the US Constitution, the government ("state action") can not deny fundamental civil liberties (eg, the right to marry) to a "suspicious class" "(Constitutional jargon for a class of people who have always been discriminated against, including women, minorities, people with disabilities and a multitude of other groups). On the other hand, religious institutions, to which the Constitution does not apply, can do what they want and refuse to marry same-sex couples. But the government simply can not discriminate.

I am hopeful that this legal quagmire will be solved among homosexual couples. favor in the near future and that same-sex couples will enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual couples. (And as some histrionics claim, the world will not stop.) However, until this problem is finally and consistently resolved, it is imperative that same-sex couples take precautions to make sure that they are protected in case of calamity. In my practice of law, I have seen cases where the survivor of a homosexual couple was set aside while the family entered and took the assets of the deceased, because the deceased did not have a will. I have seen episodes in which a partner could not participate in the medical decision-making of the sick partner because there was no power of attorney for health care nor medical power of attorney. And I&39;ve seen guardianship proceedings that have resulted in fierce fighting between the incapable person&39;s family and the long-time lover to know who is best placed to make decisions.

Not only is it important to protect against these inappropriate scenarios, but it is even more important to protect yourself and your partner, as same-sex laws evolve. What is the effect of the marriage of a homosexual couple if they move or live in another state? What is the effect of appearing on a national partnership register? Which states have what rights and protections? And if you divorces? And if children were involved?

Quite simply, same-sex couples can avoid these problems by planning in advance with the right professional. A well-prepared and executed will designating the heirs speaks loudly to the justice system, including how to treat children. Duly executed advance directives – proxies, proxies for health care, living wills and medical proxies – avoid the complicated scenarios described above. These legal documents – which must be part of the estate plan of each individual – must be prepared by a lawyer who practices in this area of ​​law, who can ensure that your wishes are fulfilled, especially as this area of the law remains in mutation.

How to invest in real estate using your IRA or Keogh plan

Did you know that you can invest in real estate using the funds from your IRA or Keogh plan? Although most people are surprised to hear this, many are interested in learning more about this rewarding opportunity. Before you start, it is important to know the right way to invest using your IRA. With a little planning in advance, you can greatly increase your chances of a good return.

Learn the rules for the acquisition

Your IRA or Keogh plan will have what is called a trustee or custodian. This is a very important point to remember. You must acquire the name of the trustee or custodian registered in your account. The only time this does not apply is if you are qualified as a non-bank trustee.

If you have already purchased real estate using your IRA and your name has been mistakenly listed on the title, this error should be corrected as soon as possible.

Payments must be taken from your IRA account

Loan payments for the purchase of real estate must be deducted from your IRA account. This looks like a mortgage where payments are automatically withdrawn from your checking account monthly. You have to make sure that there is enough funds in your IRA to cover these deductions.

In some cases, this may require additional contributions or cashing other assets to make a payment. Whatever it is, you want to be sure to have enough funds in your account each month. As with a mortgage, if you default, you risk losing the property.

Invest with IRAs

Investing with your IRA is a serious decision that requires thought. You do not want to use all your retirement funds in an investment opportunity unless you are familiar with the procedure. This is why it is wise to seek professional advice before making any kind of commitment. An advisor can also help you verify that your portfolio is in good working order. This is especially important if you have beneficiaries.

Understand the Keogh and other retirement plans

A Keogh is a type of retirement plan often used by self-employed and unincorporated businesses. Most Keogh plans are configured according to the defined contribution method. These contributions are generally tax deductible up to a specified percentage of your annual income. Keogh&39;s plans may also involve profit sharing, money purchase plans and defined benefits. It is important to have a thorough knowledge of your retirement plan before considering any type of real estate investment.

Estate planning in my self-directed IRA

Self-directed IRA investment options go beyond traditional stocks and bonds in real estate, limited liability companies and partnerships; tax liens, mortgages, precious metals, notes, etc.

To establish an IRA real estate investment account, the first step is to create an IRA. A self-directed IRA account allows the account holder to control and make the final decisions as to the type of IRA investments that he considers the most profitable.

Self-directed IRA investors can take advantage of their real estate investments through a non-recourse mortgage loan, also known as an IRA loan. Through an IRA loan, the real estate investor can buy a property with his IRA account without needing the total selling price of his IRA account to do it. The IRS prescribes that any loan related to a self-directed IRA must be "non-recourse" when the loan is not personally guaranteed by the borrower. This means that even in the event of loan default, the lender only has the collateral as a solution to repay the loan, not the IRA account or the borrower. This is valid even if the value of the property of the guarantee does not fully cover the loan amount in default. In short, the IRA and the borrower are exempt from personal liability with this type of loan.

Once the self directed IRA has been created, the investor must identify a lender for the mortgage without recourse. At the time of submitting an application to the lender, the borrower would need to file returns relating to their self-directed IRA, their credit application and their latest credit report. Once the loan is approved, the borrower then locates an appropriate property and buys it via the self-directed IRA.

Invest in self-directed IRA funds

The self-directed IRA account holder can invest the IRA funds in two ways:

a) Ask the IRA custodian to buy the property directly with the assets of the IRA

b) Form a limited liability company and purchase the property through the LLC

Both of the above methods involve typical estate planning challenges. The account holder must know which transactions are prohibited and discuss the tax implications with a competent tax advisor.

Investing in real estate through a non-recourse mortgage is one of the most cost-effective ways to get the most out of a self-directed IRA, allowing the investor to enjoy a comfortable retirement. The main advantage of real estate financing IRA is the possibility of buying a property at a very advantageous price – for example, an investor could buy foreclosed properties – and generate a profit sufficient to repay the loan. The other advantage of the non-recourse mortgage option is its ability to protect the assets of the investor because the property purchased constitutes the loan guarantee. This guarantees the IRA holder of all liability.

The non-recourse option for a real estate IRA allows the self-directed account holder to authorize it, offering complete freedom and total control over the investment, as well as specific benefits such as a tax-deferred income, protection of assets and compound interest.

Processing Estate Planning Details

It is extremely important to have your will, as it helps the efficient and hassle free distribution of your property, patrimony and property to your heir. When you make a will, you have to keep many different details in mind and that is why many people end up using the services of a testamentary lawyer.

What is the main role of a testamentary lawyer?

Ideally, the testamentary lawyer will assist you throughout the process of writing the will. He can offer you legal advice and complete all legal formalities. When you are not trained in the legal process, you can contact your lawyer to classify all the documents in the correct format. Just express your opinion and the exact distribution of the wealth you want.

Does the trustee offer similar services?

A trust lawyer does not really offer the same set of services as there is a difference between the two. When there is no proper will, you will need the services of the probate law to spread wealth among the heirs. Ideally, a trusted lawyer will offer you the best counseling services that will help you in the right form of estate planning.

When dealing in real estate, you must comply with various formalities. When you have invested in properties that fall into another state, you must make sure that you do not comply with the rules and that the services of a lawyer of trust come into play.

By choosing the services of such a lawyer, you will be able to get the proper advice and guidance, which can do wonders for your estate planning. Investing in real estate is not easy, because there are a hundred things to keep in mind. If you are complacent, you may find yourself facing a lot of problems.

If you do not want to be stuck in legal trouble and you are one of those who likes to have an effective estate planning before putting your hard earned money, the right thing to do is to seek the services of a lawyer. competent experienced and qualified. These issues are of great value and importance and should not be taken lightly. Find the right lawyer and ask for help to facilitate the treatment of your estate and will.

Use a lawyer for your will and estate planning!

Estate planning, writing a will, passing on your property upon your death can be a minefield with unexpected consequences, especially if you do not consult a lawyer. In this article, let&39;s look at some examples of the many problems that can occur.

A common mistake is to assign common names to an adult child so that it is automatically transferred to the child at the time of your death so you do not have to pay legal fees. This idea has many pitfalls. If the child dies before you, you return to square one. It may not be a problem if you have time to solve this problem, but what if you are together in an accident and you never have the opportunity to change things? Or what happens if you never do it? From now on, your heirs will have to check your assets, which will cost them much more than consulting a lawyer in estate planning.

Creditors are also a consideration. Did you know that your child&39;s creditors could use your property to collect the debts of your child? If your child has the title, he is the owner. Creditors may prefer real estate for the recovery of judgment. They can seize bank accounts. When this happens, it is up to you to attempt to cancel it. Prove that something is really up to you, recovering funds, freezing a frozen bank account or removing a privilege can be very difficult and does not always work. This usually requires the help of a lawyer, which is more expensive than what you would have spent for a lawyer specializing in estate planning.

Another common idea is to leave everything to an adult child, because this child "knows what you want to do with it" and divides things as you go. It can take many forms, including a common title, the name of a single child in a will he wrote himself, or simply tell him what you want without discussing it with anyone, or take no formal action. What&39;s wrong? A lot! On the one hand, as in the previous example, the child may die before or at the same time as you. You also put your child in a difficult position in case of disagreement between your children. You may not think that your little darlings would behave this way, but money and sorrow do strange things to people: the temples ignite, the brothers and sisters do not get caught up in it. do not hear and sometimes the child who was supposed to divide the property decides to keep everything instead. Stories of quarrels between children abound, ultimately costing high legal fees and leaving behind broken relationships. Even if you are certain that it will not happen to you (last famous words), consider the other extreme: will your child feel so shaken or erased of himself that he gives everything to his children? brothers and sisters and the guard nothing?

Writing your own will or your trust can also cause problems. If you do not comply with the required formalities, the document will be invalid. If there is anything ambiguous in what you have written, a court will decide what you want to say. It&39;s expensive and it&39;s like throwing a dice. If you think it&39;s easy to be clear, think again. Take the case of the man whose will tells his daughter to receive a large cash donation if she survives him 30 days later and that his second wife receives all the rest. The girl died on day 28. Who gets her share? The will said that the woman gets everything "differently". The Will did not say what to do if his daughter had not survived. Does the second wife receive it or does it go to the children of the man from his previous marriage? Where do you think these kids think this should go? A court will probably have to intervene and it will cost a lot more than asking a lawyer to write the will!

Do not try to be your own lawyer, nor would your own dentist or surgeon. As the saying goes, "You get what you pay for." If you think that an estate planning software to do it yourself is the solution, you should read the assessment done by Consumer reports .

QDOT – A viable option in estate planning for non-citizens

Estate planning is essential to maximize the gifts you leave to your beneficiaries. However, if you are neither a US citizen nor a US resident, you need to be aware of the differences between the laws when it comes time to plan your estate. The differences may be unfavorable. In addition, marital deductions are not allowed for the estate of a citizen or a resident of the United States when the beneficiary is a non-resident spouse. Fortunately, the establishment of a qualified domestic trust, the QDOT, can be a viable option for increasing tax deductions.

When a QDOT is established, the estate is treated as that of the surviving spouse and is therefore taken into account in the lowest tax brackets. To be eligible, a trust must appoint at least one US citizen or national business as a trustee. In addition, the trust must be structured so that appropriate taxes are collected through the US Treasury. If the estate that will pass into the QDOT exceeds $ 2 million, one of the trustees must be a domestic corporation or an obligation must be subscribed for 65% of the fair market value of the estate in order to ensure the payment of the tax. If the estate is less than $ 2 million, the law states that no more than 35% of the estate may be held in the form of real estate located outside the United States.

The regulations are particularly flexible with respect to the possibility for a person other than the deceased to establish a QDOT, such as surviving spouse, the representative of a surviving spouse or the executor of the estate. . Nevertheless, it is best to treat this type of problem as soon as possible.

The establishment of a QDOT has some disadvantages that should also be assessed. Since the Designated Trustee will act as a withholding agent, he / she may be personally liable for the taxes if they are not withheld or improperly withheld. In addition, if the estate is entrusted to a corporate trustee, administrative expenses may result. For example, if the estate does not have liquid assets (those that can not be easily cashed out, such as real estate), it may be that it does not happen. there is not enough cash to pay the trustee&39;s fees (fees must be paid to the trustees to manage the estate) or to pay the deposit, if any. In this case, it may be necessary to sell the assets to cover the costs, which can be difficult or unwanted. Because of the many advantages and disadvantages associated with QDOT, it is best to use an experienced professional to assess your estate and determine if a QDOT is the most economical way to set up your estate.

Whether you choose to use a QDOT or plan your estate in another way, it is essential that you examine your options with a lawyer not only in estate planning, but also familiar with the nuances of working with non-estate owners. residents. to maximize the value of the estate you leave to your loved ones.

Medicaid Estate Planning: Maximize Your Results

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the 2005 Tax Reduction Act, some provisions deal with specific transfers by seniors under the new Medicaid Homes for Seniors provisions. Under the new provisions, before seniors can qualify for Medicare assistance in a retirement home, they must use their assets. These new restrictions have a balance sheet of five years. The assessment was 3 years.

By a vote of 216 to 214, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that will impose new punitive restrictions on the ability of seniors to transfer assets before they can receive Medicaid coverage of home care. of retirement. You can access the new Budget Deficit Reduction Act, 2005 in PDF format, click on: . The section on transfer provisions begins on page 222.


What is Medicaid? Medicaid is a government assistance program for people over 65 years old or disabled. Medicaid&39;s help was designed for those who can not afford medical expenses (for the poor), but Medicaid has become the default solution for the middle class. The middle class has become the new poor.

Medicaid planning and Medicaid rules are complicated. The government requires a five-year follow-up of any transfers you may have made to prevent you from entering the retirement home. Before the 2005 tax reduction law, he was 3 years old. The transfer of all property by the elderly has taken the form of a "fraudulent transfer" or, in the language of government, of "deprivation of resources".

These new rules are spousal impoverishment programs designed to punish a healthy spouse. If one of the spouses gets sick, all resources must be spent before they can claim help from the government. These new restrictive rules punish the healthy spouse to leave the healthy spouse at the mercy of social assistance or his children. It is very humbling that seniors planned their retirement based on their ability to keep their home.

The assets you need to spend

Assets that you must spend before you can qualify for assistance in a nursing home. Everything you own on your behalf or with your spouse. Cash, Savings, Auditing, Certificate of Deposit, US Savings Bonds, Credit Union Shares, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), Retirement Home Trust Funds, Annuities, Revocable Living Assets, Any Trust revocable Medicaid estate planning, real estate held by a house, other real estate that you hold as investment property or income producing business, cash value of your life insurance policy, face value your life insurance policy, household effects and effects, works of art, burial sites, canceled, motor vehicles, land contracts, real estate property, trailers, mobile homes, real estate commercial and other, and anything that is in your name or in your possession.


What do you mean by "fraudulent transfer" or "deprivation of resources"? If you give away your assets and you do not receive an equal amount (value), the transfer is a deprivation of resources and you have committed a fraudulent transfer (you give your home to your children for $ 100.00 when the fair value the worth of your house is $ 150,000). If you gave your home to your children for $ 100 sixty (5) years before entering the retirement home, you "have deprived your resources" of retirement home expenses. Unwittingly, you also had to pay a gift tax equal to the difference between $ 100,000 and $ 150,000. In addition, you may have misappropriated the government&39;s inheritance tax.

How does the federal gift tax apply?

The tax rules relating to donations apply to the donation transfer of any property. You make a donation if you give a property (including money), or you give the use of a property, or give the income of a property without expecting to receive something of value at least equal in return. If you sell something at less than its total value, or if you take out an interest-free or low-rate loan, you may be giving away a gift.

The general tax rules for donations state that any gift is a taxable gift. However, there are many exceptions to this rule. As a general rule, the following gifts are not taxable gifts:

– Gifts whose exclusion does not exceed $ 12,000 per year for the calendar year beginning in 2006 (annual exclusion for any 12-month period, see below).

– Tuition or medical expenses that you pay directly to a medical or educational institution for a person,

– gifts to your spouse,

– Donations to a political organization for its use, and

– Donations to charities.

– Tax exclusion of annual donation. A separate annual tax exemption for gifts applies to every person you give a gift to. For 2007, the annual donation tax exclusion is $ 12,000. As a result, you can generally donate up to $ 12,000 each to an unlimited number of people in 2007 and none of the gifts will be taxable. However, future interest donations can not be excluded under the annual exclusion provisions. A gift of a future interest is a gift that is limited so that its use, possession or pleasure begins at some point in the future. A federal tax return on donations is filed on Form 709 for taxable gifts exceeding the annual exclusion.


Generally, you must file a tax return on a Form 709 if you are in one of the following situations:

– You have made gifts to at least one person (other than your spouse) whose "financial" value is greater than the $ 12,000 annual exclusion for the 2007 taxation year.

– You and your spouse divide a gift.

– You have made someone (other than your spouse) a gift of a future interest that he / she can not actually own, enjoy, or receive from income until a later date.

– You have given your spouse an interest in a property that will end in a future event.

– the entirety of your interest in a property, if no other interest has been transferred for less than adequate consideration (less than its fair value "in cash") or for a use other than charitable; or

– a qualified conservation contribution that is a restriction (granted forever) to the use of real estate


Inheritance tax can apply to your taxable estate upon your death. Your taxable estate is your gross estate less allowable deductions. On the date of your death, everything in your name is taxable. Take stock of your assets: cash, savings and checking accounts, CDs, stocks, mutual funds, bonds, treasury bills, exemptions, jewelery, cars, stamps, boats, paintings and more collectibles, real estate … principal residence, vacation place, real estate investment, your business, interests in other businesses, limited partnerships, partnerships, mortgages and notes receivable that you hold, retirement plan benefits, IRA, or any amount you expect to inherit from others.

Many people prefer not to think about what will happen to their deaths, but none of us is immortal and if we do not plan properly, we risk leaving behind a mess that needs to be resolved at great expense by our loved ones. and disadvantages, at a time when they are emotionally bankrupt.

Your federal estate tax (up to 55%) is based on the "fair value in cash" of your property on the date of your death, not on what you originally paid. State probate and death taxes are based on the "location" of your property. Thus, if you own property in different states, each state must be registered and everyone will want its fair share. The only real alternative to a will is to put in place a lifelong trust structure that, with careful planning, can eliminate probate periods, administrative costs and taxes, while providing a many additional benefits. For these reasons, the use of trusts has increased significantly.


Your gross estate includes the value of all property in which you had an interest at the time of death. Your estate will also include:

– life insurance proceeds payable to your estate or, if you own the policy, to your heirs;

– the value of certain annuities payable to your estate or your heirs; and

– The value of some property that you transferred in the 3 years prior to your death.


The allowable deductions used to determine your taxable estate include:

– Funeral expenses paid on your estate,

– The debts you owed at the time of your death,

– the matrimonial deduction (usually the value of the property that passes from your estate to your surviving spouse), and

– The charitable deduction (in general, the value of property that passes from your estate to the United States, to a state, to a political subdivision of a state or to an eligible charity for exclusively charitable purposes ).


If you die during the 2007 taxation year, your "taxable estate exemption" raises to $ 2,000,000, your "donation tax exemption", $ 1,000,000 and your inheritance tax does not exceed 45%.

If you die during the 2008 tax year, your "taxable estate exemption" raises to $ 2,000,000, your "donation tax exemption", $ 1,000,000 and your inheritance tax does not exceed 45%.

If you die during the 2009 tax year, your "taxable estate exemption" raises to $ 3,500,000, your "gift tax exemption" is $ 1,000,000 and your estate tax does not exceed 45%.

If you die during the 2010 taxation year, your "taxable estate exemption" is $ 0.00 (that is, it is repealed), your "tax exemption for donations" is $ 0.00 (that is, it is also repealed) and you have a maximum estate tax of 55%.

13 times in 32 years, the congress changed the rules. Congress always has fun with the "transfer fee". For more information on what is included in your gross estate and allowable deductions, see Form 706.


You can avoid all the unpleasant results above and filing requirements with an irrevocable trust set up 60 months before you qualify for the retirement home.

By reposing your assets (transfer of your assets) to you in an irrevocable trust, you will no longer own the assets:

– you are not eligible for the approval process, and

– you do not have to file a declaration of succession,

– because on the date you qualify for the retirement home, you do not own ANY assets,

– at the time of your death, you have NO assets for the probate procedure,

– and on the date of your death, you have NO property to report on your tax return.

What a estate planning lawyer can do for you

If you own several assets and assets in your name, it is best to consider planning and arranging them with the help of an estate planning lawyer. For you, it may still be too early to think about the future of your family, especially your children. But since no one really knows what will happen, it is better to be prepared to avoid problems and allow potential parties to take advantage of the situation.

Putting your property, such as real estate, in place right now will ensure peace of mind for both you and your family. The establishment of a will is also important if you have already stopped working and enjoy your retirement. Your will can be prepared with the help of your lawyer who can draft the necessary conditions and allowances according to your decisions. The tedious tasks can be assigned to a lawyer specializing in estate planning. Contacting a person whose many clients represent the caliber can certainly help you achieve your future goals.

The treatment of your personal belongings is easy to say what to do. A estate planning lawyer can give you the best options for managing your money, estate and other assets. In fact, you can set specific rules on how to manage your valuable assets during your golden years and beyond. You may have stored your property documents in a trust, but you will have to give them to your beneficiaries. The sooner you plan and accomplish all of this, the better for your assets.

In the event of a divorce, an estate planning lawyer can help you write the necessary actions to determine where your money should go and who should benefit from it after the split. More often than not, some couples forget the importance of keeping their assets for their children because all they want is to get their share of the assets once the marriage is over.

Preparing for your golden years and having a knowledgeable lawyer can make your job easier, especially when it comes time to no longer be there to entrust and designate your property and property. It can also help your family, especially your children, during your absence and their vulnerability. This can give everyone peace of mind and clarity at the right time.

Although your loved ones and your immediate family can offer help in these areas, it is always ideal to let the experienced and professional lawyer handle it for you. You should soon consult a lawyer if you are already planning your future and the security of your assets.

Why own a piece of Kent Island real estate

Kent Island offers the comfort of urban living with a touch of rural life, the most enjoyable lifestyle in secure neighborhoods. The island was one of the places where we had the first European colonization, which explains the architectural designs of European influence that dot the region. The unique blend of different architectural elements is one of the fascinating attractions of the island.

This unique island is made up of incredible riverside communities. If you are looking for a home with a certain floor space, then this is a place in Maryland that should be at the top of your list. This place is a paradise. Everything that makes life interesting is close by, including dinners, recreational areas and parks, shopping areas, schools and excellent water access.

It will only take you a tour of the island to discover the riches and beauty that lie hidden there. Falling in love with Kent Island after your visit should not be a surprise. The place is really charming and you should consider getting a piece of the island by owning a house here. If you want to have a beachfront home, this can be made easier. A house on the island is an excellent investment, with huge private patios for beautiful days and waterfront walking trails.

Panoramic views from all sides are one of the few things that are no less so on Kent Island. Much of the real estate development work takes place near the shore to provide you with affordable and adorable homes. Owning a home here will give you pride of ownership. A house on the island is not an ordinary house. It&39;s a little gem.

If you want to find a house for sale, just venture online. The galley of looking at one house after another is totally eliminated. The price ranges will vary depending on the size, design and location of the houses. But rest assured that you will find something that suits your tastes and your wallet. Whether you are old or young, there is a neighborhood that fully meets your needs.

If you love history, Kent Island will give you the opportunity to learn and appreciate the role that the island has played in the history of Maryland. As the gateway to the east coast, the island has a lot to offer.

If it is not possible for you to live on the island, a vacation home is not a bad idea either. From time to time, you will have to break with your daily routine to relax and rejuvenate yourself. A getaway on the island will provide you with a truly relaxing vacation. It&39;s a fantastic place to spend their holidays.

As the largest island in Chesapeake Bay, Kent Island offers an incredible number of amenities to demanding owners.

The dangers of estate planning to do it yourself

I was trying to repair my house more often than now. The experience can be a teacher so hard. On one notable occasion, my plumbing "repair" caused a flood in my home. I was so confident, before the fact, that the initial problem (constant drip, dripping, drip from a leaking valve) would only require that "the" a simple solution. Not so. If you&39;ve ever watched Mickey Mouse play the role of the sorcerer&39;s apprentice, you can imagine my panicked response when water started flowing on the floor, through the ceiling, and so on. "Our first claim of homeowners," remarked my wife in fact, as we examined the damage I had caused. As embarrassing as it may be for me personally, the blow to my wallet was harder. The dollars I expected to save while doing the work myself were in fact paid several times in order to meet the deductible provided for in my owner&39;s policy.

I have therefore learned to leave a lot of "simple" repairs to those who are more skilled. In the same vein, I have found in my estate planning practice that people who try to do it themselves are likely to develop big headaches. Example: A few years ago, a new client came to see me after her attempt to sell her house was completely frustrated by the planning of her estate. It all started when she inherited a house from her parents&39; estate. She decided that it would be easy to add her three minor children under the property. As she explained to me after the fact, her intention was to protect the rights of children in the property in the event of death. Keeping this in mind, she bought a fill in the blank waiver application act at her local stationery store and had the act registered. Shortly after, when she decided to sell the property, she learned that the addition of her underage children to the title posed enormous problems: for the securities company, which does not have a lot of money. would not insure the transaction because of the minor sellers; for its prospective buyer, who would not proceed without title insurance; for his lender; and for herself. Too late, my client understood that she was trying to do her estate planning herself as well as my plumbing repair exercise.

I&39;ve heard variations of this sad story from other estate planning professionals. It seems that it is not uncommon for well-intentioned people to embark on the preparation of their own estate plan without consulting a professional. I suppose that access to all this free information via the Internet, the proliferation of legal kits to make oneself and the perfectly understandable desire to save a few dollars as much as possible have brought more than one consumer undertaking to go boldly where he will eventually realize that he wishes he did not have it. Having endured the wet shoes in the puddles created by my do-it-yourself plumbing, I can certainly sympathize. As I&39;ve learned and my client has learned, good professional advice can protect you from costly mistakes.

© 12/8/2016 Hunt & Associates, P.C. All rights reserved.