Eugene: If something were to happen to you today, would your family be protected? That might depend on whether or not you have a will.
Colleen: Here with more this morning is Greg McIntyre, with McIntyre Elder Law .
Colleen: Greg, good morning. We’re so glad you’re here today.
Greg McIntyre: I’m glad to be here. Colleen, Eugene, thank you so much for for having me today.
Colleen: Of course. Let’s start with this-
Greg McIntyre: You’ve got me nervous today.
Colleen: Oh yeah?
Greg McIntyre: Yeah.
Greg McIntyre: I don’t know.
Colleen: It’s all good. It’s all good. Let’s start with this, what is a will, and why is it so important?
Greg McIntyre: I get that question all the time. Or, because I practice estate planning and elder law, I get the Larry the Cable Guy question, which is, “You do wills?”
Greg McIntyre: Yes, we do wills, okay? However, that may or may not be the best place to pass your hard earned money and property. Wills are fraught with peril. But let’s talk about that.
Eugene: What type of financial things are located in the will, or situated in a will?
Greg McIntyre: Sure. A will allows you to name the person, the executor, that passes on, and that handles the distribution of your assets, passing out your hard-earned money and property, after you pass away, to your heirs. To your children or grandchildren, or perhaps charities, your church. Okay?
Greg McIntyre: You can really pass almost anything through a will. A home, any real estate, or any kind of money, IRAs, 401ks, but that may or may not be advisable, based on your individual plan.
Colleen: Hmm. Okay. How does a will help the surviving family members avoid probate?
Greg McIntyre: That’s a great question. A will actually is subject to probate. To avoid probate, you would pass your money and property outside of the will. You could use payable-on-death beneficiaries for bank accounts now. That’s free probate avoidance advice. You can use transferable-on-death beneficiaries on investment accounts now.
Greg McIntyre: You can use trust to avoid probate, but your will has to go to the clerk of court. “Madame clerk, will you please probate this will.” Okay. Don’t take your own will, because you have to pass away first, before you can probate it.
Greg McIntyre: Okay. But then it’s subject to liens, because you publish in the paper for four consecutive weeks. It’s open for 90 days before, really, anything happens. That’s so that liens can come in and attach to the estate. If you want to avoid that, there are some certain ways to do that.
Greg McIntyre: You might want to consider will/trust combinations, or other ways to pass your money and property outside, just by making sure your beneficiaries, your primary, secondary, tertiary beneficiaries, are all lined up. I counsel people on those things all the time. But it’s a very individual process.
Eugene: Can the executor of a will ignore what is spelled out in the will?
Greg McIntyre: No. And the-
Eugene: What keeps your protected from that?
Greg McIntyre: That’s a great question, Eugene. When you take the the will to the clerk’s office, and they probate the will, there’s going to be a very highly-trained probate clerk, and if need be, a judge, that’s going to ensure the executor does exactly what they need to, and that you specified needs to be done with the will, or they’re subject to removal.
Eugene: Oh, wow.
Colleen: Very good.
Eugene: I didn’t know that.
Colleen: You have a visual map, that helps walk people through this estate planning process.
Greg McIntyre: I do.
Colleen: Can you tell us more about it?
Greg McIntyre: This is what I’m trying to probate with you. This is an EP map, estate planning map. I’m a very visual person. It took me a long time to grasp all the concepts, and I still learn every day. Sometimes, when I explain things, we have to go over them multiple times.
Greg McIntyre: Some people, who are very visual, it looks very much like a board game almost, but it shows the house, investments, money, property, being passed outside of the will in different types of ways, with trust or deep planning. It also shows the will and probate process, where liens can attach.
Greg McIntyre: If people want their copy of this, this really helps families plan out their futures, especially families with seniors, or seniors themselves. Okay. Go to McElderLaw.com, that’s our website, /epmap. McElderLaw.com/epmap, and you can get this.
Greg McIntyre: I spent a lot of time working on this, there’s several iterations, and here’s how it exists today. I want them to have it. I want the viewers to have it today.
Colleen: So does it just depend on each person, I guess-
Greg McIntyre: It does.
Colleen: Whether it’s best to leave these things through the will, you mentioned, or outside of the will? How-
Greg McIntyre: It all depends on your risk for liens. In elder law, we’re always looking-
Colleen: Got it.
Greg McIntyre: At that longterm care component to, hey, how are they going to pay for that? Are they going to run up this huge tab with Medicaid for North Carolina, that’s going to attach to the estate? Is there a way to avoid that, or otherwise pay for longterm care, and how should we pass those assets?
Greg McIntyre: It may be the will, but it certainly may not be.
Eugene: You also wrote a book called Saving the Farm, correct?
Greg McIntyre: I did. Saving the Farm: A Practical Guide to the Legal Maze of Aging in America. Spent a couple of years working on that, tens of thousands of dollars on bringing it to the public.
Greg McIntyre: You can buy it on Amazon, or I’m going to give it away for free today, if you go to McElderLaw.com, or McElderLaw.com/epmap, sign up for that, and you’ll get a free audio and ebook copy of Saving the Farm.
Colleen: Again, to get a free copy of the estate planning map, or a free ebook copy of Saving the Farm, visit McElderLaw.com. It’s right there on the screen. Go to the website now.
Colleen: Greg, thank you so much for being here.
Greg McIntyre: Thank you so much. You guys have a great day.
Eugene: All right, thank you.
Colleen: You, too.
Eugene: All right, coming up on the show today-
If you have any questions or want to learn more you may contact McIntyre Elder Law at: 704-749-9244 or online at mcelderlaw.com.