The SafeEstates Blog

July 1, 2014

A Happy Ending to a Life Lived Well

I was sitting at my desk, preparing to start another work day, when a nurse at Lakeshore Senior Living called to tell me my father had died peacefully in his sleep earlier that morning. He was 94 and mentally sharp until the end. We celebrated his wonderful life for the next three days, ending with graveside military honors and burial alongside my mother, grandparents, aunt and uncle at Woodlawn Memorial Gardens. Here are some estate planning and probate truths I learned from my father. Revocable living trusts avoid the expense and delay of probate. My parents made a revocable living...

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June 4, 2014

A Family Tragedy

A recent Harris Poll online survey revealed sixty-four percent of adults don’t have a will.  The top reasons given for not having a will are: Haven’t gotten around to it 57%   ///   Don’t need one 17% Not urgent 22%   ///   Do not like thinking about death 14% Don’t have a lawyer 17%   ///   Cost 14% Let’s think about the number one reason – haven’t gotten around to it.  I understand important tasks like getting our affairs in order are inconvenient and easily put off until tomorrow.  I feel the same way about that tooth my dentist...

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May 3, 2014

A Password Tip

Families are encountering a digital twist in estate administration.  As financial institutions push for online account management, automatic deposits and bill payments, and paperless statements, there is little or no paper trail for the survivors to follow.  We rarely share our computer and online account passwords with anyone. Consequently, families are unable to unlock a decedent’s computer, identify and access accounts (even joint accounts) quickly and pay urgent bills.  So consider maintaining a paper list of your passwords in a safe place where your family can find it. PS - Make sure your passwords are more secure than "123456"

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May 22, 2013

What is Heir Property?

You might be surprised to know a large number of houses and farms are “heir property”, meaning the owner died but no one bothered to probate the will or administer the estate, and some of the heirs simply took possession. Why? I don’t know: maybe to save money, maybe procrastination, maybe to avoid a family feud, maybe ignorance. It usually works for a while, until one of the heirs gets tired of waiting and forces the issue in court. Sometimes real estate remains “heir property” for several generations, so instead of three or four heirs there are thirty-three or thirty-four...

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February 4, 2013

Spring Cleaning

Weekends between Easter and Memorial Day are filling up fast. So many opportunities to pursue my recreational passions (golf, hiking, road trips). Somewhere in there we will set aside time for cleaning out the garage and organizing the closets. Funny how I need to do this again every spring. Try as I might, things I put aside thinking “I will take care of that later” and over time I have created a pile of clutter. The job will not take that long but if I don’t put it on the calendar, it won’t happen. And I am happier when my...

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