3 Estate Planning Questions with Macie Tuiasosopo Gaines
Dave: Hi everybody, Dave Sullivan is here and 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.
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.
Macie: but at the same time, trying to get access to bank accounts or a funeral bill 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.
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, you know, designate beneficiaries for bank accounts to designate beneficiaries for life insurance, for homes real estate, 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 it will enable it to be transferred to whoever you want immediately upon death, okay and 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 because or come to need probate court because there’s just a house and the house is not in anyone’s name, and you cannot transfer home after someone dies without probate so a lot there’s a lot of estates that are literally, just one house and they’re like we need to do it, and you have to go through the whole process.
Dave: Okay, a ladybird deed I’ve not heard or not. I’m not familiar with a ladybird deed. What can you describe that a little bit
Macie: It’s just like a deed when um 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 to trans 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.
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 really good to have a state plans trust that would include like a trust a will of attorneys for health care power of attorney for finances the reason why I think mixed families are really good 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 so it’s very important a lot of times 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 of the fact that the estate you know the children will come to court and say you know I’m his the 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 um trusts or entire estates for people with minor children okay so that’s important as well because you want to make sure that they’re taken care of um and if you’re going to leave things for them and you pass prematurely then you’ll be able to go conditions well beyond your death so I always say it’s like the dead hand where you can control their behavior or not controller to give incentives for them to act specific ways even beyond your death so you know x amount of money from my life insurance policy if you go to college or if you go to a trade school something like that is always good to have in place in case something happens .
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?
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 live stream again.
Macie: That would be great thank you so much. Yes, no problem.