Blog of The Law Offices of Daniel Timins

Some of the Many Reasons Estate Attorneys Should NOT Work with Citibank

While I have made sweeping generalizations that corporate trustees will take money from you faster than hitting after you draw 17 in Vegas, it’s pretty rare that I overtly criticize a particular financial institution in my blogs. But since I can’t hide my frustration anymore (and since proving libelous behavior requires a written statement to be untrue, which none of the following is) I feel it is time to send out a warning to my Estate Planning and Elder Law attorney colleagues: Do NOT work with Citibank, and tell your clients not to, for the following reasons: The Inmates Get the Keys to the Asylum: Citibank allows their desk clerks to review your legal documents and make their own assessment

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When “Transfer On Death” Accounts Go Bad

If you have ever had to deal with a complicated or contested Probate over a family member’s Will, you know that a lot of your problems would have been avoided if funds had instead been held in Transfer On Death [“TOD”] accounts: While Probating a Will requires a lot of court paperwork, time, and the cost of paying an attorney to help navigate through the proceeding, TOD accounts transfer as Operation of Law assets, meaning all the beneficiary of the account has to do is show up with an original death certificate. But sometimes TOD accounts are not properly set up, cause confusion or secrecy where none was desired, or end up being transferred to people you don’t want them

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Your Inherited IRA Just Got Nerfed

Every few years the federal government passes last-minute legislation that totally messes up your estate plan. On December 20, 2019 President Trump signed Congress’s “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019” into law. On top of the fact the government paid a 12 year old to sell the rights to his treehouse password in order to create a nitwitty acronym, the “SECURE Act” makes radical changes to how your post-mortem beneficiaries receive your retirement plans that might actually make you feel less secure. When your parent, family or friend dies and leaves you their IRA account you use to receive an “Inherited IRA”, meaning the original owner’s name remained on the account, but the account was change

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A Legal Magic Trick: Revoking Irrevocable Trusts

The world changes, and so does our family, friends and charitable organizations. And we do too: We start to care more about relationships than money, health instead of inebriation, and sometimes come to an understanding with those people we disagree with. However, estate planning benefits do not always lend themselves to changed circumstances, so if you want creditor protection, government benefits, estate tax savings or the ability to control your family’s inheritance “from the grave” you usually need an irrevocable trust, I.e. one you cannot change even if you desperately need to change the documents. When you create certain irrevocable trusts, you cannot modify them. These trusts are (typically) either the trustee or the beneficiary but never both; you may

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Getting Divorced? Leave Children’s Life Insurance to a Trust

As a member of the First Spouse Turned Demogorgon Club, I can tell you with hindsight that divorce can be a wonderful thing: No more arguments, no more awkward Thanksgivings with creepy in-laws, no more washing the dishes during prime football hours. But at the same time, divorce is almost never positive during the initial process, self-doubt and anger consumes you, and (ultimately) you will have to deal with financial matters, particularly if you have minor children. And when child support or maintenance is in the picture, your former best friend is going to want to make sure that cool hard cash is still there if you pass away during the payment period. So, purchasing life insurance to cover your

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What is a Fair Executor Commission?

When we used to go out to dinner with my grandfather, he would always put some of his food on my plate. It wasn’t that it was cold or not tasty (though his love affair with tripe was engaged in by him and him alone), the thing was that it wasn’t what I had expected, the food that was placed on my plate was not always the part I would have preferred, and it always got entangled with my own eating affairs (I.e. the mash potatoes). Eating other people’s leftovers is often an unsavory task, but it can be about 1 gazillion times more palatable than having to deal with another person’s estate. Sometimes the deceased person was a hoarder

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