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3 Estate Planning Questions with Macie Tuiasosopo Gaines

Macie Tuiasosopo Gaines

Dave: Hi, everybody; Dave Sullivan here. I’m part of the marketing team at People Driven Credit Union. I have an exceptional guest today.

Macie:  Hi my name is Macie Tuiasosopo Gaines.

Dave: Macie, What company are you with?

Macie: I’m with Gaines & Gaines law firm, and we are primarily probate and estate planning practice.

Dave: We met at our town hall Zoom meeting with Kyra a few weeks ago.

Macie: Yes, that was very successful.

What happens if you don’t have estate planning?

Dave: We had many people reach out, and I thought I’d get together with you and ask you a couple of questions. The first question a lot of people had was what happens if you don’t have a Will, Trust, or

Macie: Estate planning?

Dave: Yes, what happens if someone passes away without that?

Macie: When someone passes away without estate documents like a Trust or a Will, they must go through probate court to administer any assets. If your loved one passes away, you have to go through the court formally to notify them of the death and then go through the proper channels to transfer the asset, depending on what it is.

Dave: More than likely, the descendant would have to hire an attorney to do that, or can they do that independently?

Macie: They can try to navigate on their own. I encourage it often, but sometimes it can be challenging, and again, I always say a lot of people have no idea what probate court is until they must use it. It’s unfortunate because most of the time, it’s when somebody passes away, and so you’re mourning.

Dave: Right.

Macie: But at the same time, trying to get access to bank accounts or should have to pay funeral bills or anything really, and so it is something that you can try to attempt without an attorney. Still, you would often benefit from hiring one because it is specialized, and a lot of attorneys and many of my clients are attorneys who don’t practice the area, sure. They say, hey, I have probations, and I don’t know what to do, so here it is.

Ladybird Deeds

Dave: Yes, what are some things that people could do on their own, maybe to prepare or be better prepared if something happened to a parent or someone they took care of.

Macie:  I always recommend that if possible, designate beneficiaries for bank accounts. Designate beneficiaries for life insurance, for homes, real estate. With any real estate, you can execute things called ladybird deeds, and they’re so powerful because all they do is allow you to preserve your interest in a home and then will enable it to be transferred to whomever you want immediately upon death.

A lot of probate cases that come to us are pretty sad, or I don’t want to call them simple, but a lot of people come here, or come to need probate court, because there’s a house and the house is not in anyone’s name, and you cannot transfer home after someone dies without probate, so there’s a lot of estates that are just one house and they have to go through the whole process.

Dave:  Okay, a ladybird deed. I’m not familiar with a ladybird deed. What can you describe that a little bit?

Macie: It’s just like a deed. When you purchase a house, the company or title company will give you a warranty deed or a quick claim that transfers the right the rights from A to B.

A ladybird deed will allow you let’s say a transfer to keep your rights. At the same time, you’re alive keep everything you can convey it you can sell it you can transfer to somebody else you can do anything you want during your life okay but immediately upon death; there’s an event it’s like a beneficiary designation sure and the only thing that person would have to do is take a death certificate to the register of deeds. It’s already transferred. I love that. I mean, I always utilize those because I feel bad if somebody is just like my grandma pass she has this house even and if it’s a lower value, they still have to go through this whole process to transfer it sure, yeah that’s uh that sounds like an excellent tool for people to use.

Wills and Trusts

Dave: Yes, absolutely, now what situation, what type of individual do you think would require maybe a complete will or a trust?

Macie: I think mixed families are a good fit to have estate planning. That would include a trust, a will, or attorneys for health care, power of attorney for finances. The reason why I think mixed families are a good fit is that generally, the law is favorable to a spouse.

So if you have children with the first wife and then you get married to the second wife and intend to leave something for your children there’s a chance that they won’t get anything. If you know there’s no dispute and you want everything to go to your wife that’s fine, but with mixed families it gets really complicated and it gets sad sometimes because the children will come to court and say I’m his kid, he wanted me to have these things, but there’s a certain amount under the law that his spouse is entitled to and a lot of times the spousal share under the law can swallow an estate.

So if you want to leave something for your children even if it’s like a small sum of money, a vehicle, that’s the best way to do it.

I think it’s also good to have trusts or entire estates for people with minor children. That’s important if want to make sure that they’re taken care of and if you’re going to leave things for them. If you pass prematurely then you’ll be able to control conditions well beyond your death. Give incentives for them to act specific ways, even beyond your death, so you can give x amount of money from a life insurance policy if they go to college or if they go to a trade school.

Dave: I like that a lot. That way, they’re not just giving all this money when maybe they’re too young, right, and they blow through it, and it’s gone.

Macie:  Also too, if they are young and you want to make sure they’re taken care of, and you know you don’t wish to the spouse or the mother to spend everything during their lifetime, you can make provisions and craft them any way you want, and that’s probably my favorite part about trust because you can get interesting like requests sure but um that’s how I know the more interesting the requests are for provisions in the way that I know that the job is getting done because it’s tailored specifically to one person sure your situation.

Dave:  Yeah, I like that. I like that a lot, so if people were looking for you to help them, how might they reach out to you?

Estate Planning at gaineslawyers.com

Macie: You can likely reach us on our website, which is probably the easiest because there’s an inquiry box on there to set up an appointment for a consultation, and that’s gaineslawyers.com

Dave: Okay, great. I’ll put a link down below. Thank you so much. I appreciate that it is always good to see you, and maybe we could do a livestream again.

Macie:  That would be great. Thank you so much. Yes, no problem.