Ready to conquer the complexities of probate? Join us in a riveting dialogue with our esteemed colleague, Wesley White, as we unravel the labyrinth of probate and estate planning. We promise to offer you valuable insights into why avoiding probate can save you from the headaches associated with the court system and creditors. Listen in as we share strategic ways to maximize your estate, minimize taxes, and ensure a smoother transition for your heirs.
If you thought probate was a daunting task, prepare to transform your perspective! This episode is a treasure trove of guidance, shedding light on the critical role of seasoned attorneys in the probate process. We chat with experts like Wesley and others who help dispel the myths surrounding probate and make it more accessible. Beyond that, we reveal the importance of proactive planning to circumvent debt, creditor claims, and other potential hiccups that might put your estate's worth at risk. So, fasten your seatbelts as we embark on this enlightening journey into the world of probate and estate planning.
Hi, I'm Greg McIntyre with McIntyre Elder Law and this is the Elder Law Report. And I'm here with one of my esteemed colleagues, wesley White. I call him Wes, his friends call him Wes, his clients call him Wes. We're here. Our topic is avoiding probate. You hear that term, wes, all the time, avoiding probate. But you know, I'm not so sure that our clients really know what that entails or why they need to avoid in probate. So I want to start with a why. Okay, why should someone avoid probates? I know that there are three really good reasons that I have that clients should avoid probate, you know, and reasons why they should avoid probate. But you know, let's have that conversation so, and then we'll talk about some strategies that fit into those three reasons. So what is your top reason for avoiding probate, wes?Speaker 2:
Really I have it kind of co-equal reasons, okay, first one being it's really just a hassle and a headache to go through the process. Whether your loved one died with or without a will, you still have to go through probate if you're going to pass title of things. If you're going to, you know if you're supposed to get dad's truck or you're supposed to get, you know, dad's bank account or whatever it is, you have to go through that process at the clerk or court, whatever county. It is just to be able to pass title to those things. So that's the first reason to avoid just that headache. And then the second reason, which is just as big 65 to 70% of people pass away with debt to their name. You know it could be medical debt, could be credit cards, whatever it is. If you pass away with debt when your loved one, whoever the executive of your estate is that when they go open that probate case, they have to send a notice out to the world and to your creditors and those creditors are allowed to come in and they can make a claim on your estate. So anything that passes through probate, your creditors, after you're going, could come in and lay their hands on it to satisfy that debt. If your items are not going through probate, guess what? The creditors can't touch it. And so that to me those are the two main reasons.Speaker 1:
Okay, so castle, headache. So you bought it down to two. You got it down to even better. You know easier to grasp than I have Castle and headache. Let's drill down on that a little bit. You said you know dealing with the court system can be a headache and a hassle. I mean, what does that entail? You know time, money, you know what all does that entail?Speaker 2:
Yeah, all of that I mean. And if you think about, if you don't, especially if you don't have an attorney in your corner, you go down to the clerk's office and say, hey, my dad died or my mom died, I need to probate this will. They're not gonna take their time out and help you go through the process. All they're gonna say is, well, here's a form you know, fill it in and come back and file it. They're not allowed to give you legal advice, they're not gonna help you, and so you're kind of just left standing there, kind of figure out, navigate these laws that are on the books. You know what has to be listed. How do you notify the creditors when? How much time do you have to do it? What do you have to list as part of the estate? Do you have to list the furniture and the dishes or do you just list the property, all those things? It's like a nightmare of like. It's like a freight train of different things coming at you all at once, and if you could avoid that, you know that's what you wanna do.Speaker 1:
And as much as I'd like to get paid to have people hire me to handle their probate estate that'd be great guys. However, I can help you avoid that, which might be detrimental to me. But it's a lot less costly to plan with someone like me or Wes on the front end, right? I mean, that's real talk, that's you know. Estate planning on the front end can save you a lot of headache, hassle and money on the backing. You know, one of the hassles, I think maybe my third one, Wes was really maximizing the estate that goes to your heirs, controlling the estate that goes to your heirs using tools like trust. Also minimizing taxation, which is also part of maximizing the estate that goes to your heirs. Trust can be drafted to double the estate and debt tax exemption and that thing bounces around like a ping pong ball. There's a very interesting, you know, like 95 page report that the IRS puts out and it has a graph in there. The only useful piece of information in that, besides putting yourself to sleep reading it at night, is a graph that shows the history of the estate and debt tax, you know, since its creation, right? Essentially with the US government, and it's all over the place, right? So if it's really high now, it might be really low tomorrow. Yeah, you know, using tools like trust would maximize what gets to the airs, or charities, or or Given out over time, you know, to two airs that might not need to get a lump sum, Maybe as a young person to help them go to college. Maybe not get cursed with a large amount of money at a very young age and act irresponsibly like I absolutely Would have done it 18 years old.Speaker 2:
I'm not with it, driving a Lamborghini with monster truck tires down the main street and Myrtle Beach Something really redneck like that and I got out of rehab with no money at like 19 years old. Ah, I would have had no education and no money. Okay, you know, it would have been much better for me if my parents would have passed or structured that to help me responsibly Get my education, get more life experiencing in, incurred, you know, less debt with college education and to help me get into life. That's part of the trick of raising our children, maybe grandchildren and enacting responsibly. And I thought one of the part of you know a real summary and cherry on top of this and then We'll get to your two is Peace of mind. I mean the relief you have from planning with a professional who does this all the time. And just in case anybody's wondering, wes and I aren't going to handle your speeding ticket or your divorce or child custody case. We have really good attorneys we refer to who do just that. But we're all we do all day, every day, is help people strategize to maximize their estate, minimize the leans, creditor leans, taxation, avoid a state-in-death tax. You know and and we know the legal strategies that are safe and clean and clear to allow you to do that. So there's a lot of peace of mind and comfort that comes from knowing you have that legacy set up. There's so many more subs that we could break down from this West Lake, like the. The avoiding you know your two was avoiding debt, avoiding creditor claims, things like that. What comes to my mind is long-term care claims is so many times the place a Will and just so we're clear. People say to me wrongfully but earnestly hey, I don't have to worry about probate because I have a will, greg Right, and I inform them that, hey, yeah, the only place a will has any teeth power or can do anything. The process is to submit it to the court for probate. That's the will is nothing more than a set of instructions For the probate for probate, yeah, but other than that, you know you're not anybody's executor Just because it says so, until the court says so, right, you know. And then that 90-day claims period that you were talking about, after publication the notice to creditors it's not so people can send a bunch of money to my state right, it's so that creditors can file claims and take money from my state. Exactly, north Carolina is not an expanded recovery state, which a lot of states are. That means that there's not enough money in the estate, they can pull assets in that pass automatically by deed or beneficiary or something like that to satisfy those claims. North Carolina is a great state To pass or in if you plan properly and take advantage of the laws. Because, it said, the only window creditors can crawl through to break into your estate is through probate. Precisely, they're set it up another way, right? So, knowing that if I, if there's any chance that I might have a long-term care lane and West, I'm never gonna have to go to long-term care Because I'm healthy, I work out, I'm strong, I eat, right, well, some would say I don't. I mean I have a funky, weird diet, but I can shake that. But you know, for me it works for me, okay, and I'm never gonna have any health problems and I'm gonna live to 150 and I'm gonna be froze.Speaker 2:
Right, I've heard that before very few.Speaker 1:
Okay, right, if I mean you know that's, that's utter crap. Okay, if I'm honest and I look at the statistics, 70% according to a US Department of Health and Human Services survey or study that was done and this is what you hear. All financial planners, elder law attorneys, estate planning attorneys this is what they're quoting from. That's where it goes back to. That's the source. 70% of everyone in Murrica over 65 years old is going to need some type of long-term care during their life. Long-term care being in-home, assisted living or nursing home care Right, that's what I'm super worried. I'm less worried about the Lowes credit card bill or my Visa or MasterCard bill than I am some multi-hundred thousand dollar bill for where I had to tap a long-term care Medicaid benefit and to get that benefit in the end. They know they're going to go back and take my house when it passes through my private estate, right, and they're going to run a trust, a convertible trust, an irrevocable trust or a ladybird deed to protect that home. But you wouldn't know that and you wouldn't know all the laws and rules and ways and strategies you can take advantage of probate avoidance unless you sit down with a knowledgeable estate planning or really for this type of planning. It's a niche, a niche within a state planning which is elder law.Speaker 2:
Yeah, and people, a lot of people, have this misconception that you have to be wealthy, you have to be a millionaire. Well, I'm not. I can't have a trust. I'm not a millionaire, I can't.Speaker 1:
It's not to be a Rockefeller or a Kennedy to get a trust.Speaker 2:
Right, and it's nothing to be further from the truth. These things we do for people are for everybody.Speaker 1:
And if you move your head. I used to hate hiring a CPA to do my taxes because I could do my taxes myself, right? I still know family members that are very close to me, they're very smart, that do all their taxes themselves, right, know what? I didn't really know anything about taxes because it wasn't what I did for a living, right? Well, I started really, really working with a CPA and said, you know, I got to pay a few dollars up front for professional services to really get a ton of tax advantages every year. That mounts every year. And then I then, I understand, light bulb went off. Man, I've got I need to have this professional relationship because I'm going to pay a little on the front end to save a ton on the back end. And that's the real question and people get bogged down with is you know, we have this middle class curse I do, which is I got to pay for everything, pay my own way, and I'm going to pay my own taxes and I'm not going to access a benefit that I paid for with my taxes, and you know, and I'm not going to pay for professional services because you know it goes against the grain of saving every penny I earn. Well, that's the attitude that really walks people into a corner that they can't get out of in the end and then they lose everything because they failed to plan, because they didn't know what they could do to plan. So the mission of this firm and the establishment of this firm was for exactly that reason to educate, to cater to and to service everyone and bring really high level estate planning that was previously reserved for the rich, the over-rich, to everyone, to every man, to every woman. I don't know. Today you say every person every day. Exactly, you know, and that's what I'm proud of, that we've done and I appreciate your topic. Today I would be glad to offer a free consult to anyone out there who would like to sit down and talk about probate avoidance and the different tools that can be used to avoid probate and really how reasonable it is to plan ahead and to get into those services.Speaker 2:
Yeah, Anybody out there watching this should take advantage. You know you can come and get a free consult from Greg or myself or any of the other attorneys at any of our locations. You know we're in Charlotte, we're in Shelby and we're in Hendersonville and all you gotta do is call up and come up here and we'll sit down and go over your specific life and what you have and we'll tailor a plan just for you and you'll have that piece of mind.Speaker 1:
I like to think that I'm very proud of all the knowledge that I've learned over the years, but I'm also very humble in knowing I'm always learning and always growing, and I'm also very grateful that I've worked with amazing attorneys like Wes, like Brenton, like Jane and like Sam. You know I like to always work with people who are super smart, smarter than me and really make me up my game. So I appreciate you, wes, and thanks for coming on. The Elder Law Report today and looking forward to our series that we're gonna do together on different topics. So give us a 1-888-999-6600 or schedule your free consult today at mclderlawcom. We'll see you next week on the Elder Law Report.