Living Alone…. Part 2
Wills…Some 30+ years ago my stockbroker told me I needed wills for Norma and myself. The reason was to protect our investments from outrageous income taxes on savings and property we were amassing for our retirement.
We bought a fishing cabin on Toledo Bend Lake in July 1983. In 1958 we were offered a chance to buy the property the cabin was constructed on and we began the creation of our retirement living complex. At this point I made a decision to put both the land and construction in Norma’s name as she was eight years younger than I was and would logically be the last survivor.
When she died it was several months before I realized it was time to make the changes to put the property into my name. Next, I discovered that my decision was not the smartest thing I ever accomplished. The County had sent me the tax bill for 30+ years and I had paid the taxes. I was advised to find a title company who was required to trace all transactions for those years before they could issue a new title for the homestead.
At that point I went to a local Title company to get the process started. While waiting to meet with someone, a lady asked me if Norma had a will and when I responded “yes” another question was asked. “Has the will been through Probate?” I believe my next response was “what is Probate?” At this point I was given information on Probate of wills.
My next appointment at a later date was a meeting with an attorney. During this meeting I learned more about Law than I had learned in my lifetime. I was advised that our wills were written during a time that taxes upon death were created to minimize taxes on anything willed. I was advised that the wills were primarily designed to tax everything and if you had a good will it was a tax saving advantage. Norma’s will was sent to our four children with questions for them to answer.
To help others understand is the reason for each chapter of what looks like it will be a book, if I live long enough. This chapter is designed to help explain wills and Probate by a non-lawyer to other non-lawyers. As I have grandchildren from a previous marriage who are attorneys I feel certain they will correct me if I make any mistakes in this chapter?
Last week I was notified to join my Attorney to attend the Probate of Norma’s will. My Attorney, Sabine County Judge, the Honorable Judge Daryl Melton and two ladies that were working with them asked me a series of questions that were totally understood. At the end of each question I was asked to sign each document and I was given copies. The meeting was very professional and each question was fully understandable.
After the meeting the attorney asked me to make arrangements with his secretary to meet and complete the changes to the property titles and my Will. He will go over any changes we made or need to make to my will to make it compatible with changes to laws made over the last 30+ years.
Another legal issue that needs to be involved and completed involves a Trust I had another attorney create a few years ago. At this point I plan to leave our homestead to my seven youngest grandchildren. This will make sure the Trust and my revised Will remain compatible when I die and my designated Power of Attorney is required to have my Will probated. I also intend to spend my last breath living in Sabine County, Texas where all remaining legal business will be conducted.
Hopefully this chapter will help other senior citizens with wills and Probate to make sure they understand the laws before they die. My next meeting is scheduled for June 13, 2022. I will include any future actions concerning Wills or Trusts should this meeting require any other legal dialog that can help others understand. Clyde Brewer 5-26