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Old 06-26-2017, 01:20 PM   #1
Very Josie
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Death, Wills and Shiats

Cliffs:

My sister has been living with her boyfriend for the past 6 years and they are indeed life partners but not married...yet anyway. BF has been ill with ups and downs, for pretty much the past 3 years.

He was a stock broker that opted for early retirement because of his disability. He collects disability from the state and also a pension and has a 401(k) plan as well as a life insurance policy (for 35K) that my sister is the beneficiary of.

He has a house that is upside down; he owes more than it's worth. My guess is to the tune of about 50K.

He has cash in various accounts, totally about 15K.

He has virtually no living family.

He is dying.

Complications from diabetes (toe removal and sepsis) led to heavy duty antibiotics that his damaged liver couldn't process, to make a long story short.

He's been in constant pain for the past 2+months because his body cannot process pain meds. On Saturday (before my training session) doctors said that his liver isn't functioning and there is no way to get it to improve.

What he can do for now is take strong laxatives that will work in place of his liver, while he gets his affairs in order, sees friends, etc. They said his only hope would have been a liver transplant but he is too ill for that surgery.

So yesterday he asked me to help him get his will made. He also asked my sister to marry him so that she'd be taken care of.

Is marrying him (assuming his debt as well as his assets) her best move or is it better to just be a beneficiary of his will?

I called BF's lawyer but he is out of town until Wednesday but I will be talking to him then.

Any help, assistance, thoughts and advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 06-26-2017, 01:45 PM   #2
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Re: Death, Wills and Shiats

Your sister wouldn't generally assume a debt when married if the debt was assumed before the marriage. Marriage could be beneficial for assets that can't be passed on in a will like the pension. Also a 401k gets more favorable treatment for a spouse compared to a non spouse.

What kind of lawyer is the BF lawyer? Probably want to get someone who deals with this sort of thing frequently.
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Old 06-26-2017, 01:50 PM   #3
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Re: Death, Wills and Shiats

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Originally Posted by SenorKeeed View Post
Your sister wouldn't generally assume a debt when married if the debt was assumed before the marriage. Marriage could be beneficial for assets that can't be passed on in a will like the pension. Also a 401k gets more favorable treatment for a spouse compared to a non spouse.

What kind of lawyer is the BF lawyer? Probably want to get someone who deals with this sort of thing frequently.
Here's what lawyer's website says:
I am a Massachusetts attorney and I have been in practice since 1990. If you need help with your legal affairs and want an attorney that you can sit down and discuss your problems with in a relaxed manner, I can help you. I handle care & protection cases (representing parents or children facing DCF involvement), child requiring assistance (CRA's formerly CHINs petitions) , divorce, family law, estate planning and probate and personal injury. I want to make it as easy as possible for you to obtain the legal services that you need. I can meet you in person or consult with you by telephone. I also can make home or hospital visits for those who are unable to come to my office. If you need legal services such as wills, trusts, homesteads, deeds, or divorce representation, call me to set up an appointment.

Would she get SS death benefits if she marries him before death?

Last edited by Very Josie; 06-26-2017 at 01:50 PM. Reason: Thank you for your response!
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Old 06-26-2017, 01:57 PM   #4
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Re: Death, Wills and Shiats

I think so but that's like 250 bucks
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Old 06-26-2017, 02:09 PM   #5
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Re: Death, Wills and Shiats

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Originally Posted by SenorKeeed View Post
I think so but that's like 250 bucks
I thought it was a monthly check.
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Old 06-26-2017, 02:48 PM   #6
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Re: Death, Wills and Shiats

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Originally Posted by SenorKeeed View Post
What kind of lawyer is the BF lawyer? Probably want to get someone who deals with this sort of thing frequently.
This x 1000. Relevant experience is everything. If your $200/hour lawyer hasn't handled lots of these cases, you'll be getting about the same quality of advice as you'd get speaking to a street ruffian.

I'd honestly consider something like community legal services. Pay them a donation so you're not scabbing. They're the people who deal with low level debt and illness and de facto couples every day, in a practical way.
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Old 06-26-2017, 02:50 PM   #7
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Re: Death, Wills and Shiats

The ss death benefit is a $255 lump sum.
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Old 06-26-2017, 08:53 PM   #8
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Re: Death, Wills and Shiats

There are two different primary SSA death benefits.

One is a lump sum of $255.

The other is continuing monthly benefits.

For claiming the monthly benefit, the marriage needs to have had a minimum 9 month duration. There are a few exceptions to this rule such as an accidental death or adoption of the spouse's child.

It may be helpful to review the Survivor's Benefits section of the SSA handbook, especially the section on When is a widow(er) entitled to widow(er)'s insurance benefits?



If I were in your shoes, I would not use the attorney you described, based on their blurb. I would instead meet with a few different attorneys who are dedicated to and specialized in estate planning and choose one of them. There are a lot of them out there, no reason to go with someone who does it as a secondary or tertiary focus.
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Old 06-26-2017, 08:54 PM   #9
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Re: Death, Wills and Shiats

Not a lawyer, but have run a couple estates. One thing to look into is getting his assets into Transfer on Death.

What this allows someone to do is two-fold: One, allows the decedent to specify assets go to someone other than their natural heirs and two, keeps those assets out of probate (and thus out of the hands of the tax man).

My uncle didn't have any debt when he died and was single, so I don't know how that changes things. But, if the TOD thing works for your sister's situation, that may be a way to transfer the assets but not the liabilities of her partner to her.

They may be common-law by now too, don't have any idea how that would affect things.

Best of luck.
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Old 06-26-2017, 08:58 PM   #10
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Re: Death, Wills and Shiats

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Originally Posted by golddog View Post
What this allows someone to do is two-fold: One, allows the decedent to specify assets go to someone other than their natural heirs and two, keeps those assets out of probate (and thus out of the hands of the tax man).
I don't believe the bold is true.
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Old 06-26-2017, 09:20 PM   #11
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Re: Death, Wills and Shiats

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Originally Posted by Didace View Post
I don't believe the bold is true.
Perhaps I'm stating it wrong. The county where my uncle lived took a fee which was calculated as a percentage of the probate value of the estate. (I think the fee was for filing paperwork? It's been > 6 years now).

Anyway, by setting up some assets to be TOD, they transferred immediately to the recipients without going through probate.

Didace and others here make a good point: definitely don't take my word for it. Find a professional who specializes in this area in the appropriate state, and they can advise whether this approach even works in your state and makes sense for this situation.
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Old 06-26-2017, 10:27 PM   #12
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Re: Death, Wills and Shiats

Oh, I wasn't thinking about probate fees. Yes, depending on location, they can be a not small amount.
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Old 06-27-2017, 10:33 PM   #13
Very Josie
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Re: Death, Wills and Shiats

Quote:
Originally Posted by chopstick View Post
There are two different primary SSA death benefits.

One is a lump sum of $255.

The other is continuing monthly benefits.

For claiming the monthly benefit, the marriage needs to have had a minimum 9 month duration. There are a few exceptions to this rule such as an accidental death or adoption of the spouse's child.

It may be helpful to review the Survivor's Benefits section of the SSA handbook, especially the section on When is a widow(er) entitled to widow(er)'s insurance benefits?



If I were in your shoes, I would not use the attorney you described, based on their blurb. I would instead meet with a few different attorneys who are dedicated to and specialized in estate planning and choose one of them. There are a lot of them out there, no reason to go with someone who does it as a secondary or tertiary focus.


Ty chopstick, def helps. Checking link now.
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Old 06-27-2017, 10:36 PM   #14
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Re: Death, Wills and Shiats

Quote:
Originally Posted by golddog View Post
Not a lawyer, but have run a couple estates. One thing to look into is getting his assets into Transfer on Death.

What this allows someone to do is two-fold: One, allows the decedent to specify assets go to someone other than their natural heirs and two, keeps those assets out of probate (and thus out of the hands of the tax man).

My uncle didn't have any debt when he died and was single, so I don't know how that changes things. But, if the TOD thing works for your sister's situation, that may be a way to transfer the assets but not the liabilities of her partner to her.

They may be common-law by now too, don't have any idea how that would affect things.

Best of luck.


Thanks so much for the advice. Will work on transfer on death.

Ack I just hope he makes it through the night. Just got home from hospital. He went from being in agony to passed out but breathing. Horrible.

I'm going to find any lawyer I can tomorrow.

Ty u all for your help.
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Old 06-28-2017, 10:15 AM   #15
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Re: Death, Wills and Shiats

Seek an estate Planning attorney. He has sufficient assets whereby paying for a good one is worth it. Act quickly.
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Old 07-02-2017, 09:33 PM   #16
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Re: Death, Wills and Shiats

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Originally Posted by ToothSayer View Post
This x 1000. Relevant experience is everything. If your $200/hour lawyer hasn't handled lots of these cases, you'll be getting about the same quality of advice as you'd get speaking to a street ruffian.

I'd honestly consider something like community legal services. Pay them a donation so you're not scabbing. They're the people who deal with low level debt and illness and de facto couples every day, in a practical way.
This makes no sense. Community legal services would provide you with much less beneficial info than a $200/hour lawyer.
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:01 PM   #17
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Re: Death, Wills and Shiats

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Originally Posted by housenuts View Post
This makes no sense. Community legal services would provide you with much less beneficial info than a $200/hour lawyer.
How many $200/hour lawyers have you been to? I've been to at least a dozen, from $100 to $500/hour. On one particular business matter, I was advised by four lawyers to settle for $25K to $50K, said I had little chance for more. The fifth was a one man show who wasn't a ****wit, and I got $180K in the first settlement meeting we had.

On another matter (complex legal advice related to tax advantaged residency), three $300/hour lawyers completely ****ed it up. A $500/hour expert partner got it done properly, and quickly.

Lawyers are morons unless they're well experienced in the area you have a problem in. Going to a garden variety general practitioner type lawyer when you have a specific matter is like flushing cash down the toilet. Community legal services with lots of practical experience in debt and dying situations are going to be a miles better than your average cuck lawyer doing "wills, estates, tax planning, litigation and family law"
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Old 07-16-2017, 08:09 PM   #18
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Re: Death, Wills and Shiats

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Originally Posted by ToothSayer View Post
How many $200/hour lawyers have you been to? I've been to at least a dozen, from $100 to $500/hour. On one particular business matter, I was advised by four lawyers to settle for $25K to $50K, said I had little chance for more. The fifth was a one man show who wasn't a ****wit, and I got $180K in the first settlement meeting we had.

On another matter (complex legal advice related to tax advantaged residency), three $300/hour lawyers completely ****ed it up. A $500/hour expert partner got it done properly, and quickly.

Lawyers are morons unless they're well experienced in the area you have a problem in. Going to a garden variety general practitioner type lawyer when you have a specific matter is like flushing cash down the toilet. Community legal services with lots of practical experience in debt and dying situations are going to be a miles better than your average cuck lawyer doing "wills, estates, tax planning, litigation and family law"
That should be hanging above the door of every law firm.
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