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Senior Advisor

Re: Retirement plans

This is not unusual and it need not be a new spouse. I know of a cse where a kindly enighborhood care giver was the beneficiary of an estate. The deceased man ignored the wishes of the original owner of the property and completely stiffed her surviving children.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Retirement plans

Mike and I formed a new estate plan ten years ago, when the youngest child was turning eighteen...no more guardianship issues to deal with at that juncture.  We selected one of the best estate attorneys in the state, who truly understood farmers and our special concerns about the land and farm succession. 

Each of us would benefit from all of the properties we own via trust instruments. 

We placed this farm into an evenly-held LLC, and are leaving it in halves to the child who's farming it with us.  The other two get their respective farms in VA, with money, investments and life insurance proceeds to level things out when the second one of us passes, and everything is appraised. 

I do need to contact him to make a second codicil, as we've purchased a couple of small tracts in this state in the past four months, but I need to settle a share situation on one of them first.  Was waiting for the holidays to pass, so may start on it this week. 

We filed a first codicil a few years ago,  after buying a lot near this farm to get riffraff out of the neighborhood...essentially the reason we bought the two parcels this year, too. 

I am sure that our plan isn't perfect, but it is reasonable and reasonably simple.  When the attorney looked at us back then, and asked what we wanted to do if the money didn't completely level things out, we both said,  "They will have to accept that we did the best we could." 

All of them have homes we helped them obtain.  Two already have businesses we helped them to start up - which we'd also do  for the third one if she asked, as she knows - I think they know that some of what they would ahve inherited is some of what they have already received.  That thrid one wanted an expensive college diploma that her brother and sister did not require, and that factors into the overall equation, too. 

I do need to sit down and write out some speciifc bequests for personal items, as does Mike.   Whoever gets his motorcycles and toyhauler, and my stash of stained glass supplies, will be worth a small fortune! 

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Veteran Advisor

passing on assets

Just to throw some more thoughts in about passing on estate items.

Sometimes the best plans get misplaced/adjusted/changed because of a less stable mind as people age and I am not sure there is a foolproof way to protect.

My mother had promised some keepsakes to several of her grand daughters.

We know that at least some of them were marked with the recipients name.

Father died and mother lived another 6 years or so in the house with a diminishing mind.

When we finally moved her out of her house and then decided to sell it some 8-12 months later clearing out her treasures found several of the promised items missing. No idea real proof where they went but it has been suggested that some neighbours and friends that used to visit her when she lived alone expressed an interest or favourable comment on an item and mother gave same to them, forgetting that it was promised to others many years before.

Could also tell of an estate that was kind of "paid" early to 2 sons 20 & 30 years ago with the remaining home to go to the daughter after the parents deceased.

Parents are still alive in their nineties, have sold last property and continue to live off the proceeds of that sale.

To make it even more unfair it is the daughter who has been doing all the necessary running and assistance with their care as they age and as a final hit the father was angry with the daughter because she was the one who had to tell him to do things he did not want to do, so he wrote her out of his will and left all he has to his 2 sons. He made sure to tell daughter when he did this.

 

The sons both live several hours away so daughter still has to take father to doctors etc. Will they do the right thing?

 

Estates can be changed when the mind is not as rational as in your younger years and I know of no fool proof way to protect from this.

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Advisor

Re: passing on assets

My own father threatend me three years plus ago with disinheritance if I didn't do something his way.  He gave me a week to "change my mind."  I told him not to wait a week, to get it done that day.  Last time we spoke.  His loss, not mine. 

I'd tried for over fifty years to satisfy someone who has never admitted to being wrong once in his long and abusive lifetime.  I've watched him bully everyone who was afraid enough to let him.  I finally decided I was not one of them anymore. 

If you hang around waiting for a bequest, you will almost always be disappointed.  We just decided to earn what we need and buy what we want.  Works better this way. 

It is all just stuff.  We have aimed to be as fair as we can be to our three kids all along.  We have tried to leave everything as equitably as possible with our passing, just as we've attempted to provide each of them with what they needed (and much of what they wanted) under our care as their parents. 

 It is up to them to decide to either focus on the fairness we attempted to provide as best we could, or fret over what perfect division we could not accomplish.  That is more a function of their own personalities and perspectives than anything we can or cannot do.  People can either be satisfied or they cannot....and that usually has very little to do with what they possess materially. 

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Advisor

Re: passing on assets

That's a sad story Kay.  My condolences.   I lost my dad when I was 27 yrs. old.  Shortly before, both maternal grandparents died also.  It was a struggle but somehow we made it thru the 80's.  Life isn't fair but earth wasn't meant to be perfect.  It's just a stepping stone.

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Senior Contributor

Re: A Simple Plan

If I was your banker, and with the little I know about you, I probably would only give  you 1% interest, too. Or maybe less.

 

My off farm investments have been great to me. The fall of 2008, when the stock market was all beat up, I doubled down and put everything liquid into world wide stock funds. Sat back and watched the numbers double by the next August. Had all my money I had ever invested and/or earned back, and a little more. I was satisfied, and put the bulk into a 3% CD. So at the end of this year, I will have made another 10% on it. Granted, this does not mirror the increase in the value of my farms, but it actually is real money, too.

 

Every dog has its day. Some days, Cash is King....other days it pays not to have much in liquid assets. When the screw turns, it can turn quickly. Maybe you have forgotten what the 1980's were like. Every prudent farmer should have a stress test in mind, and position themselves for the "what if" of double digit interest rates.

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Advisor

Re: A Simple Plan

A lot of the problems of the 80s was that many farms had variable interest rate loans on them.

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Senior Advisor

Re: A Simple Plan

I had first hand experience of this--never again

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Senior Contributor

Re: Retirement plans

Many years ago when IRAs first came out, I put this money into long term CDs which I was fortunate to lock up for up to 25 years at 15% interest. When they matured, I put them into some  mutual funds which have done well.

Even with the recession and drop in the stock market, I am still way ahead and enjoy a good retirement.

Just look at the increase in taxes that I will have to pay by doing this instead of paying when I earned this money

Retirement plans, just like any other investment has to be looked at almost every day

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Advisor

Re: passing on assets

It is sad, but I had to look at the best way for me to finish the walk through this lifetime, and it was not right for me to keep on trying.  My own husband and children have been so much happier with me since I stopped in the futile attempt to be loved with all those strings attached.   

I was the kid who carried them flowers for no reason, and made many gifts of my artwork to them, which I understand they still display.  Wrote them a poem that made anyone who ever heard it break down and cry; but, he'd rather be right. 

Sometimes, we learn by a good example, and other times, we learn in spite of a bad one. 

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