Showing posts from April, 2008

What to Do When Someone Dies in Iowa

Besides taxes, the other sure thing in life is that it comes to an end eventually. A common question becomes "what's next?" (I'll skip the whole afterlife heaven and hell discourse and stick to the worldly issues.) And of course you have the whole " what to do with the body issue ". Depending on the planning that was done beforehand will dictate a lot that will be done afterwards. For example, if the decedent properly used a revocable trust , it may not be necessary to go through the probate process. Good planning and organization prior to our "time" is important in helping to alleviate the work that our family and friends are forced to go through. Transfer of Assets If all of the assets were held jointly , it may not be necessary to go through the probate process, although there may be some other advantages with going through probate. Also, if the asset has a named beneficiary (e.g. life insurance, IRA, etc.), that asset will pass automati

National Health Care Directives Day

I missed it last week, but April 16th was National Healthcare Decisions Day 2008 . Most people have an opinion on what type of medical treatment they would receive if they had the opportunity to visit with their healthcare provider. It certainly makes sense that one would want to establish ahead of time what type of medical treatment if they weren't capable of visiting. Unfortunately, a 2003 article reported that less than 50% of severely or terminally ill had an advanced directive in their medical record. If you don't have an advanced directive already, take steps to have one signed. Then, after getting it signed, the next step is to have it included as part of your medical record.

Making a Revocable Trust Work Right

John Dedon of Dedon On Estate Planning has a good summary on some key issues to keep in mind after you establish your revocable trust. One of the key advantages of a revocable trust plan is the capability of your estate to stay out of probate. While there are advantages and disadvantages to each plan, one of the biggest downfalls, as noted by Dedon, is the failure of individuals to properly fund the trust (read - transfer assets to the trust). While it is possible to transfer certain types of assets that are left in an individual's name to a trust post-death, there are no guarantees that it can be accomplished. It typically involves time and expense, some of the key issues a trust seeks to avoid.