What do you think happens if you fail to plan or set up a living trust? What about these things?
1. A surviving spouse came to me thinking she was all set as they had done their trust and other documents in Legal Zoom. Legal Zoom sent them a nice zippered binder and all the documents. The couple never opened the nice binder to actually sign the documents. So when the husband died – we wound up having to probate one of his properties that he inherited from his family. Had he signed his trust as he prepared with Legal Zoom all would have been right with the world. But this couple never unzipped their binder.
2. A man was worried that he was going to be sued. So he signed a quitclaim deed to transfer his family home all to his wife as a married woman as her sole and separate property. He didn’t get sued, but never put the property back into their names as joint tenants. His wife died suddenly. Now he is in the middle of a probate for his own home!
3. A couple got into a pretty big fight. The husband went off and did a trust but forgot to mention he was still married in his documents. Then he died a few years later. Of course they had reconciled, but his wife was omitted from the documents. The wife had to file a lawsuit against her sister in law to rightfully gain her half of the community property assets back because of what he did while he was so angry. This legal battle costed the wife over $50,000 in attorney fees.
A scary situation does not need to happen to you. You can, while life is good, plan for just in case something bad happens. A well prepared trust, with matching wills, durable powers of attorney and advance health care directives can ensure that things will go as you plan.