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Are You Ready To Die?

Most people would say “no” but in reality we all die. Unless you are super rich and maybe a little goofy, you could look into a good cryogenic vendor to freeze your brain in the hopes of a future cure for whatever ultimately pushed you out of this life and into the next.

For the rest of us, death is inevitable. If you own income producing real estate, it’s vital to do some estate planning now while you are still counted among the living.

Don’t think death can’t come knocking at an early age. I know of two local men in 2018 who recently unexpectedly passed. One was in his late thirties, healthy, fit and heading out for a morning run when his running partner found him deceased on his front porch. Another man was 44 years old, in the process of getting healthy with diet and exercise. He left his Orangetheory Spin class early not feeling well. He went home and had a massive, fatal heart attack.

Neither one of these men had done any estate planning because they were "too young" to think about it. Both left their families with not only the emotional grief of losing a loved one but also a very complicated, expensive and time consuming task of unwinding their assets through the dreaded process known as probate. Letting a judge decide what’s best instead of the owner is not a good idea, which is why its best to make these decisions in advance.

It's worth pointing out that a revocable living trust is different from a will. If all you have is a will, your heirs will still have to go through probate. This won't be the case with a revocable living trust.

As an owner of real estate I urge you to take the time and spend some money on a good lawyer to have them create a Revocable Living Trust. I have talked with several lawyers and they all explain a Living Trust in the same way. It must be a required seminar in law school on how to explain a revocable living trust to all us non-lawyers…With a yellow legal pad they draw a box and say “a Revocable Living Trust is like a legal box that we create. We then put all your assets into the box and then detail how the stuff in "the box" is managed and by whom. While living, you still have complete control of the assets and you can change the terms of “the box” and even remove assets from “the box” if you want."

If you are a social media user on sites like Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, unless you specify a revocable living trust who will handle these accounts, nobody will be able to manage them when you're gone. Who will tell your friends from High School that you have passed on? Not only will you be dead, but all your old friends will think you’re a snob because you haven’t “liked” their latest cat video on facebook. Instead of sympathy you will receive scorn. How unfair is that?

If you have online banking accounts, those will immediately be locked and unavailable to your heirs to continue paying bills that need to be paid.

The two things I urge all my good friends to get are a colonoscopy at 50 and a Revocable Living Trust NOW.

Coffin with Flowers

 

I am such an advocate of Revocable Living Trusts that I am having each of my adult children (all owners of real estate) go to a meeting with the same attorney I have used to modify my own Revocable Living Trust.

Because the tax law and society in general change over time, I also suggest a check up with an attorney to review your Revocable Living Trust about every 10 years. If you get married, divorced, your children precede you in death, these are all events that most likely trigger a needed modification to your Revocable Living Trust. It’s back to the lawyer you go.

Creating a Revocable Living Trust allows you to make sure your assets are handled the way you want them handled when you are gone. It also saves your heirs all the headaches and legal restrictions of acting on your behalf when you are no longer able to because of your own demise or incapacity.

Beyond your physical assets, the Bible says in Hebrews 9:17 “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment:...it is worth understanding what the Bible says about this life and the life to come. To find out more on this topic check out this link: www.ttb.org/howcaniknowgod

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