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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Acting In His Own Best Interest

King Fear has put his real estate into land trusts and the rest of his assets into his own Living Trust. He still has full control over all of the assets owned by his Living Trust, because he named himself trustee of the trust.  As trustee, he manages his assets and makes all decisions about them. 

Plus, he’s also the beneficiary under his Living Trust.  So as trustee, all of his decisions have to be, in his own judgment, in his own best interest.  This all sounds a lot like the power he had over his assets before he transferred them into his Living Trust, which is no coincidence.  That’s exactly what he intended when he created his Living Trust. 

He’s simply using his Living Trust to pass his assets after his death outside of probate court procedures and outside of what is written in his Will.  That way, he can continue to trick his vicious daughters, Goneril and Regan, into pampering and catering to him in order to remain in his Will. 

Of course, the only things he plans to have in his probate estate at his death to be given to the daughters named in his Will is a coal shed and his suitcases. The rest will go to his loving daughter and his good friend Duke Loyal under the terms of his Living Trust and his land trusts. 

Estate planning can help you make sure your money goes were you want it to go after your death, in whatever way you decide is fair.  For help creating your own estate plan, please call my office at (815)436-1996 for an appointment.

© 2014 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Control By Amendment

King Fear put many of his assets into his own living trust. But he still has full control over all of the assets owned by his living trust, because he can amend it at any time so long as he follows a few formalities.

The amendment must be in writing and, of course, be dated. It should be signed in a manner similar to the signing of the original trust, including witnessing of his signature. After all, Fear can change how much each person receives, whether a bank or a relative will serve as the next trustee and change any other provisions in his trust.

In fact, if he wants, he can “restate” his trust and change everything about it by replacing it with all new provisions.
Only he can amend his trust, though, because he is the only grantor of the trust. No one else can ever serve as grantor of the trust.

“Grantor” is the label that his living trust puts on the person who decided what the terms of the trust were going to be, in other words, the person who created the trust and put his property into it. Other common terms used for the grantor of a living trust are settlor, trustor, and maker.

So only King Fear can amend his trust. And he can amend anything about it. But on his death, it may as well be cast in stone, because no other person will ever be able to amend it.

Estate planning can help you make sure your money goes were you want it to go after your death, in whatever way you decide is fair. For help creating your own estate plan, please call my office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

© 2014 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Controlling King Fear's Stuff

King Fear’s decision to leave all his extensive property to his daughter Delia and Duke Loyal, and virtually nothing to his cruel daughters, Goneril and Regan, must remain secret. After all, he wants to be pampered during his planned rotating month-long visits with all his daughters.

He has put all his real estate into land trusts with banks, and left them to Delia and Loyal. But he knows there are still things he owns that would pass according to his Will, which names Goneril and Regan. So he must quietly clear out just about everything from being officially titled in his own name, because that stuff would get put in his “probate estate,” which is the legal label for the property that would pass under his Will to Goneril and Regan.

Fortunately, he does not have to give up control of his things in order to do this. Instead, he can create a living trust, which avoids probate and the Will, but preserves his authority to control his own assets. He can name himself to be Trustee of the trust.

As trustee, he could buy, sell and use his assets just the same as he could before. Why? Because he can write the trust that he himself is funding to say that he can.

Saying what you want in an estate plan can make all the difference for making your wishes a reality. For help planning the future of your own property and assets, please call my office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

© 2014 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How To Keep A Secret

King Fear’s decision to leave all his extensive property to his daughter Delia and Duke Loyal, and virtually nothing to his cruel daughters, Goneril and Regan, must remain secret. After all, he wants to be pampered during his planned rotating month-long visits with all his daughters.

His Will leaves everything to Goneril and Regan. But he has secretly sold most of his various pieces of property and bought new properties. He put all the new properties into secret land trusts held by a bank, who is the owner shown in public records.

His daughters now cannot find out what properties Fear has recently bought, even if they suspect he’s been buying new property. It would be difficult to shake it out of the bank, because the bank would be breaking its land trust contract with Fear if it told anyone.

Fear’s “ownership” of the property is actually called a beneficial interest in the land trust.

The best part of it from Fear’s perspective is that with the land trusts, he can designate a successor beneficiary of his interest in each land trust.

All the properties in land trusts can pass to his designated beneficiaries, Delia and Loyal, without Goneril and Regan even knowing about it, outside his Will and probate court procedures. So Goneril and Regan won’t even know what properties to vandalize to take out their rage until after they find out they’ve been had.

For help with your own estate plan, please call my office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

© 2014 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Step One for King Fear

King Fear has decided that he wants to leave all his extensive property to his daughter Delia and Duke Loyal, and leave only a shed full of coal and his tattered luggage to his cruel daughters, Goneril and Regan.  But he doesn't want them to know about it, because he intends to be pampered during his planned rotating month-long visits with all his daughters. 

He's asked them to prove their love for him in exchange for a large share in his Will. And he plans to write his Will as he promised, leaving Goneril and Regan each half of his property.    But he also plans to secretly sell his various pieces of property and put them in land trusts.  In those trusts, he will authorize a bank to be the official title holder on the properties, as Trustee for him.  The bank's power will be limited to holding title and following Fear's directions to sign documents that affect title, such as a mortgage or deed. 

Only the bank will show in the public records as the owner of the property.  Even the tax bills can be sent to the bank, to be forwarded to Fear.  So Fear's name will not be on the public records at all and what property he owns will be his secret.

Next week we'll talk about how the land trusts allow Fear to secretly leave his secret properties to Delia and Loyal.  Meanwhile, for help with your own estate plan, please call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.  © 2014 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

King Fear's Plan

King Fear is rich with property, a multimillionaire on paper. In fact, his three daughters can't even keep up with all the holdings he has.  That's just the way he likes it, especially after he discovered that two of them, Goneril and Regan, were behind the brutal intentional blinding of his best friend Duke Loyal.

The enraged Fear wants to force Goneril and Regan to publicly declare their love for him and for Loyal in order to receive a large share in his will.  In fact, he has told them that whomever can convince him she loves him most will receive the biggest share. Since then, he has already heard some incredible love descriptions from both of them.

But Fear plans to secretly leave nothing to Goneril and Regan except title to a shed filled with coal and the tattered luggage he plans to use when being pampered by each of his daughters during his month-long visits.  He will leave all of his valuable property to Loyal and Delia, who he knows truly love him, although neither will make any public statements about it. 

In the next few weeks we'll describe a couple of ways Fear can do what he wants.  Meanwhile, for help with your own estate plan, please call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment. © 2014 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Closing Case Protection

Sue has completed all of her duties as executor of her dad Luke’s estate in the probate court, except for formally reporting to the court and officially closing the case.

To close the case, she presents a Final Report to the court with a supporting Receipt and Approval from herself as the sole beneficiary under the Will, plus Receipts from all the creditors she paid, and proof that she published notice in the newspaper to the creditors.  Her attorney will give these to the Judge and present an Order approving Sue’s administration of the estate, discharging Sue from her executor duties, and closing the case. 

The court’s order releases Sue from further duty as executor, so Sue can ignore later bills for her Dad that she receives.  Or, if she wants to stop the mail, she could send a copy of the final court order back to any creditors who send later bills.

Now that Sue has received the court’s seal of approval of her administration of the estate, that approval is available as part of the public court records.  That means anyone with any questions about it in the future could simply look in the court records to find out that Sue’s job is finished and nothing is left to be done on Luke’s estate.

For advice on taking care of a deceased family member’s estate, call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.  © 2014 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Proving House Ownership

Sue has completed most of her duties as executor of her dad Luke’s estate in the probate court.  She’s paid the bills, worked on the necessary tax returns and is ready to distribute what is left of Luke’s estate to herself, as his only daughter and the only person he named in his will to receive his estate.

The money is “easy”.  Most of the money left in the estate account can be given to her by check.  Then she can deposit it wherever she wants, in her own name.  The small amount left is a reserve amount to allow her to pay the final expenses of closing the estate in the probate court.

The other major item left over is Luke’s house, which is what started Sue on this probate journey in the first place.  As executor, she can sign a document transferring ownership to herself. But she could also sell it to someone else and sign a deed finishing the sale to them instead.

If she chooses to transfer it to herself, that is considered taking an “in kind” distribution from the estate.  And the document she signs as executor proves she owns the house as an individual herself, so she can take out a mortgage on it, rent it out, or sell it in the future without the probate court.

For advice on taking care of a deceased family member’s estate, call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.  © 2014 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Proving Tax Compliance

After some ado, Sue as the executor of her dad Luke’s estate in the probate court has now paid all of her father’s valid bills and received written proof of payment as needed for the court.  As Luke’s only daughter and the sole legatee (beneficiary) named in his Will, Sue is now ready to distribute what is left after the bills to herself.

But first she has to make sure the appropriate reporting is to made to the IRS by filing Luke’s final Form 1040 income tax return as well as the income tax return for the Estate, a Form 1041.  She must still be the executor appointed by the court to have the proper authority to sign the Estate’s return. 

Properly done, the two returns will divide the income received on Luke’s assets during the past year between Luke and the Estate, based on the date of his death.  Plus, the IRS will be informed of the death and the planned completion of the Estate so that it will not expect additional returns in future years.

It is a common mistake for family to be unaware that both a final personal income tax return and at least one Estate income tax return will need to be filed before the Estate is finished. 

For advice on taking care of a deceased family member’s estate, call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.  © 2014 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Proving Payment Required

Sue, the executor of her dad Luke’s estate in the probate court, asked the judge to decide whether the interior decorating consultant’s claim should be paid.  The judge ruled that only $300 for the initial meeting was due, rather than the $30,000 claimed for custom-made furniture and further services.

Sue, therefore, has to pay $300 to the consultant.  The court will require proof of payment to be filed in the probate case before it will allow Sue to close her dad’s probate. 

The best way to prove payment is to file a signed Receipt/Voucher from the consultant with the court.  In return for providing the consultant with payment, Sue needs to have the consultant sign the Voucher acknowledging payment in full. 

If the consultant will not cooperate, Sue could delay payment to pressure her to sign a Receipt/Voucher.  If all else fails, Sue may be able to prove payment in full to the court by filing a canceled check showing that the consultant deposited the check.

Unfortunately, that is becoming more difficult with banking technology advances today that make receiving the original cancelled checks slower, or sometimes even impossible. 

For advice on taking care of a deceased family member’s bills and assets, call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment. © 2014 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Prove It First

Sue, the executor of her dad Luke’s estate in the probate court, decided to deny the creditor claim filed by a fen shui/interior decorating consultant.  So far as Sue knows, the consultant only met once with her dad, and Luke told Sue that he wasn’t buying anything.

So Sue files written notice with the probate court that she is denying the $20,000 claim and sends a copy of it to the consultant.  Now the consultant has to prove her claim in court before Sue has to pay her.  Then either the consultant or Sue can make a motion to be heard by the court to decide.

To prove the claim, the consultant might be able to submit copies of order forms for custom-made furniture signed by Luke before his death.  At the hearing, the consultant presents her proof of the amount owed, and Sue presents what evidence she has, such as the fact that no furniture was ever delivered, to show that it is not owed. 

The judge rules on whether Luke’s estate has to pay the claim.  If the judge rules the estate does not have to pay, the consultant cannot take Sue to any other court to collect the money she says is owed, unless she appeals the probate court ruling directly.  And if the court rules the estate does have to pay, Sue will have to pay the bill before she can close the estate.

For advice on taking care of a deceased family member’s bills and assets, call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.  © 2014 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


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