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Let's talk about trusts, TOD/POD, JTWROS, beneficiaries, etc....

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I am wondering how people in this forum title their assets (or how people you know title their assets). I am also wondering if anyone has gone through probate in the state of CA (or anywhere for general procedures) or avoided probate via these title designations. What if a relative passes away in a different state from where you live?

 

I was reading about trusts and discovered there are many different versions out there. Not all of them are just for the wealthy.

 

POD = payable on death

TOD = transfer on death

JTWROS = joint tenancy with rights of survivorship

 

How do all of these bypass probate quickly? Is it instant or does the named person have to wait a certain amount of time? What happens with personal property that cannot be "titled" in such a way? With a modest home filled with ordinary belongings (no fine art or collectibles, etc), how much time/money does it take for probate? Who pays the probate costs?

 

I am curious for several reasons. My grandparents live in one state. DH's parents are just a little younger than my grandparents and live in a different state. My dad lives locally, but owns property in another state in addition to here. DH & I have been discussing all this again and wondering if we made the right choices.

 

What are the differences when a child is a minor versus a legal adult? Also, California is a community property state. How does that effect the above titles and/or probate processes?

 

ETA: I shortened the reasons for my curiosity to make it clearer it is a general discussion versus a "what would you do?" scenario. I know the best way to decide for our specific situation is to talk to an estate attorney. winky.gif


Edited by sunnysandiegan - 5/12/11 at 2:00pm
post #2 of 5

These actually are not questions that can be answered accurately on a forum board.  Each financial situation is different and depends on SO much, including the laws of the state in which you reside.  You really need to consult with an estate attorney.  We got the information we needed about such issues as you're discussing (except dh is from Turkey, so we were dealing with things like ownership of property outside of the COUNTRY and how, for example his family who all still live there would inherit a portion of our estate, etc.) and we got all of our stuff lined out, written and filed for under $1000.

 

You really need an attorney.  If you have kids, you need a will and revocable trust.  Without these, your kids are sitting ducks if you both were to pass.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

For clarification purposes, I am not asking for hardcore information for what we will do. I am asking for curiosity purposes to get me thinking of things to ask a qualified professional and for a better GENERAL understanding of probate and how it might differ by state. I am also curious about how people here title their assets, as I stated above. Surely, these are appropriate for a forum discussion. winky.gif

post #4 of 5

I'm low income and own 'nothing'. No house, car it titled to a family member (thanks to mr. wonderful being a jerk) but everything and I mean EVERYTHING is set up as a trust.  Trusts are not just for old rich folks!

 

My grandpa died last year and he 'had money'.  Everything of his was in a trust and as far as I know there was no probate.  My father was a trustee and the accounts kept moving right to him to function.  My parents have the same type of thing set up.

 

A good estate planner can get you the info you need.

 

** keeping my answer very short on this one.

post #5 of 5
Also in CA.

We have the trust, will, etc, p/w sitting here. Just need to visit a notary, which I think is on the calendar for Monday.

Currently we hold title JTWROS. What that means here is that the survivor gets the property, do not pass probate, do not collect probate fees. You file an affidavit of death, a simple form w a copy of the death cert. That's it. The rest is really dependent upon the trust and wills. We had everything written up so all property gets transferred into the trust. That does avoid probate. Any personal property on our deaths is considered part of the trust also. The successor trustees step in, file death certs, and they take over. It's a bit of paperwork, but cheaper than estate taxes. So long as the wills go uncontested, the courts don't get involved.

As for guardianship of minor children, thats more complex. You can make recommendations to the court, but ultimately a judge will make those decisions.

Can't speak to the interstate issue.
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