Thursday, June 6, 2013

Who Do You Living Trust?

Okay, this is a bit morbid to write about.  But there comes a time in everybody's life have to think about the end of it.

I just finished thinking about that.  And now I will attempt to live the rest of my life to the fullest, knowing that everything post-Len has been taken care of.  Well, nothing everything.  My co-executors will have to decide how to dispose of me.  I thought I wanted cremation.  Now I'm not so sure.  I know I don't want any memorial services or wakes.  When the time comes, I think I'd like to simply disappear.  

But, of course, there's all of Len's stuff to be dealt with.  Right now, I have a lot of it.  Hopefully, when the time comes, I have been around so long that I use it all up.  Spend to budget, as they say.  In the event, however, that I don't.....

Well, I needed to make plans.

Okay, I did do this once before.  Way back after my father died and I was still sporting a moustache, I had my last will and testament done.  I was living in New York with all sorts of different estate rules.  The White Plains lawyer who put it together was probably 75 at the time.  In that document, I left everything to my mother.

Okay, years later, Mom is gone and not in need of an impressive TV and stereo sound system.  The lawyer I used is likely dead himself.   I assume this, because he apparently didn't see fit to include me in his own last will and testament.  I figured I needed a new document and one based in California where I currently live.  Heck, for all these years without any directions or plans, I could get hit by a bus and the government would take control of everything.  Before you know it, Dianne Feinstein gets a new and impressive TV and stereo sound system.

I could have found a local estate attorney by sifting through the Yellow Pages but I opt to discuss this first with my financial advisor who points me to a friend of his.  Ideally, this lawyer's business address does not mention a cell block number.  

I learned from my initial consultation with Perry Mason that, in California, the best way to avoid any posthumous issues (as if I really care) is do a living trust as opposed to a last will and testament.  The latter makes for a great scene on daytime soap operas but not in real life.  A living trust is the way to go.

So, as good friends know, there is no significant other or children residing in Len Land at the moment.  Moreover, as good friends also know, there are no siblings.  As a result, the main beneficiaries of all my hard work and effort will be close friends or the children of said close friends.  I've always had these thoughts in my head on how to disperse the winnings.  So this is all a pretty cut-and-dried process, right?


Because my living trust is significantly "friend=driven," my lawyer says this presents a potential problem.  

"Is there no family around at all?"

I explain that my parents, along with all aunts and uncles, were wiped out over a single five-year span.  It was like St. Peter had a quota to fill so he could get a year-end bonus from God.  I wonder why this is even an issue.

Matlock explains that, in his experience, there have been living trusts similar to mine that are contested when a long lost relative comes out of the woodwork looking for....maybe an impressive TV and stereo sound system.

As a result, I am asked to provide in writing a complete family tree going back to my grandparents.  I have to detail who's connected to and their current status as far as life goes.

This is easy to do.  Grandparents on my mother's side?  I never knew.  I never saw a photo.  Gone in some influenza outbreak during Franklin Roosevelt's first term.  Grandparents on my dad's side?  They live on this blog only.  Long gone.  As are my dad's brothers and their wives.  And my mom's sister and her hubby.  

But, a-ha, Judd for the Defense says.  There are cousins.

Yes, there are six of them.   Two I have not seen since my dad's funeral in 1991.  Sorry, an annual Christmas card doesn't merit a gift from the grave.  Two others I have not seen since they forgot to tell my mother that her only sister had died a month ago back in 1995.  For them, there's not even an annual Christmas card.

Now I do have two cousins that I am in contact with.  They live in Florida and we communicate on Facebook.  I think of them often.  

But, apparently not enough to mention them in the living trust.  

Ultimately, all of the aforementioned folks are listed by name in my living trust.  As a means to demonstrate that I am fully aware of who's living and who's dead.  And that my decisions moving forward were made with a sound mind and body.

As my good friends know, the last sentence could be contested in a court of law.  But, for now, that's the legal device which justifies why one of my closest friends will be impressive TV and stereo sound system.

There are two co-executors.  There is a back-up co-executor.  There are all sorts of accommodations in writing that stipulate how this all works if one or more of the executors have beaten me to the finish line.  It results in an extensive document that reads like an Abbott and Costello routine.  I announce on Facebook that, unless you're one of the close friends I have told about being included in my living trust, you can stop being nice to me.  Too late.

But it is an amazing relief when it is all done and notarized.  I discover that all of my stuff fits in one 8 x 13 envelope.  Hopefully, life will be wonderful and necessitate the inclusion of numerous codicils.  Maybe I will spill over to a second 8 x 13 envelope.  That would be nice.

Or perhaps I will hang around so long that I spend it down and the remaining single piece of paper can be simply shredded like last month's Visa bill.  

As a matter of fact, I like that notion.  I'm going out to buy a couple of new Blu Rays.

And enjoy them on my impressive TV and stereo sound system.

Dinner last night:  Super Dodger Dog.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks in advance.