Sure about that?
At a financial health seminar at Tucson Medical Center this week, attorney Mark Valentine and financial advisor Brian Sonnleitner say all too often, there are pitfalls in estate and financial law that might not work the way families anticipate.
Many couples, for example, think they are protected by community property laws.
And indeed, the statute says the half of the property belonging to the deceased passes to the surviving spouse – unless, however, there are children from previous marriages.
In that case, the decedent’s portion passes to those offspring, to the complete exclusion of the surviving spouse.
“This is the Green Valley nightmare. This is the Saddlebrooke saga right here,” Valentine said, noting his firm handles this precise problem at least a few times a month.
Another misunderstanding: Divorce revokes an existing will.
“Even with the right planning at a point in time, even if you address all these area, it is very, very important to revisit it from time to time,” said Sonnleitner.
He acknowledged it’s often a nuisance or even an added level of stress to draw up such contracts, so when people are done, they generally heave a sigh of relief and shove them in a safety deposit box, never to revisit them. And they wouldn’t understand them, often times, even if they did.
But since life happens, even with the best of planning, it’s important to make sure not only that you understand and update the document, but that your successor trustee understands it as well, Sonnleitner said.
It’s also important to think about legacy, said the two professionals, who are members of TMC’s Planned Giving Council. The council is comprised of professionals in the areas of estate planning, financial planning, insurance, real estate, banking and trust management, and charitable giving. In addition to providing professional expertise, the planned giving members serve as key advocates of the mission of the TMC Foundation.
The seminar educated attendees about ways they can earn income and give to the TMC foundation through a Charitable Gift Annuity, which is a simple contract between the donor and the TMC Foundation.
In return for an irrevocable gift, the TMC Foundation pays the donor (or a designee) a fixed payment over a lifetime, which increases with the donor’s age. For instance, the charitable gift annuity rate for someone at age 70 is 5.4 percent, but the rate increases to7.1 percent for a person who is 80, when the annuity is funded. The remaining principal passes to the TMC Foundation at the passing of the donor.
“The TMC Foundation offers this seminar as way to help educate and encourage individuals and families to think about designing how you wish to leave your legacy,” said Julie Wolfe Beadle, the director of major gifts for the TMC Foundation.
One participant had this to say on the feedback forms, “I really liked the enthusiastic presentation of both Mark and Brian. They are a dynamic duo that made a difficult subject fun and gave me tips on how I can help my family and give to charity. I want more—keep educating me.”
Well then, by popular demand, Part 2 is now scheduled for Aug. 10, 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m. in the TMC Marshall Conference Center. This seminar will continue the discussion on wills, trusts and charitable gift annuities. One need not have attended the first to attend. The next Financial Planning Health Check-up seminar, Part 1, will be Sept. 18 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the Marshall Conference Center.
Anyone interested in learning more about the series or about making a planned gift to the TMC Foundation, may call 324-3411 for more information.