Having been an estate planning attorney for over 20 years I have come up with a short list of the forgotten assets that are most commonly omitted from trust funding. That is, these assets are frequently found after death titled in individual name rather than the trust. In some cases they can be cleared up by small estate affidavit, under $150,000 probate successions, Heggstad petitions and in some cases full probates. However, it's important to realize that in any of the above examples there are unnecessary attorney fees being spent. Our job is to help you avoid that unnecessary fees! So, without further adieu, here are some assets we commonly find after death having been omitted (accidentally for the most part) from trusts.
LOANS - By far the most commonly omitte
Let me start by saying that I love timeshares. I enjoy staying at timeshares on vacations. You can meet many friendly people while BBQing your dinner, sitting by the pool, playing ping pong, or at some of the organized activities. I also think they are fascinating from a business perspective. I like reading about the exchanges between timeshare salespeople (who seem to trump used car salesmen for stories) and innocent vacationers. This post is not to bash on timeshares but is merely a reminder of some things to think about when you are buying a timeshare.
Yes, a timeshare is an asset. In fact, just as the salesperson told you, it can be willed to your kids or other loved ones. I try to always ask clients about any timeshares they own when going through my estate planning questionnaire
Client’s often ignore their timeshare. They typically cost much more than they are worth but you should not ignore them when doing your planning. Failing to properly plan for your timeshare can leave your loved ones with a big pain in the neck… in addition to the ongoing maintenance fees!
I deal with dozens of probate and trust administration cases per year. That is, cleaning up affairs after death. Cases with timeshares often have extra headaches.
Do not ignore your timeshare. If you have a living trust transfer the title to your trust. This often costs extra money (especially in states like Hawaii) but it’s worth it!
Talk to me about planning for timeshares or cleaning up after the fact. -John