Law Talk with the Flock

Estate Planning Drama: What Happens If You Don’t Plan Now?

October 22, 2020 Jeana Goosmann, Matthew Abel Season 1 Episode 29
Law Talk with the Flock
Estate Planning Drama: What Happens If You Don’t Plan Now?
Chapters
Law Talk with the Flock
Estate Planning Drama: What Happens If You Don’t Plan Now?
Oct 22, 2020 Season 1 Episode 29
Jeana Goosmann, Matthew Abel

Goosmann Law Firm's Sioux Falls Estate Litigation Attorney Matt Abel and Host Jeana Goosmann discuss what happens when you don’t have an estate plan in place, the probate process, and how to avoid these issues in the future:

  1. It’s Estate Planning Awareness Week! Oct 19th - 25th
  2. What are the disadvantages of not having a plan?
  3. When does probate come into play? How does it work?
  4. What are the best ways to avoid the cost the probate?
  5. How our Trust Law Counsel Team can help

Learn about Goosmann's Estate Planning Practice HERE. 

Become a flock fan and subscribe to our Podcast for weekly episodes! Learn more at www.goosmannlaw.com.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this podcast episode “episode” is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. By listening to our episode, you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Goosmann Law Firm “GLF” attorneys and podcast publisher. No information contained in this episode should be construed as legal advice from GLF or the individual author, hosts, or guests, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. Please read our full Podcast Disclaimer.

Show Notes Transcript

Goosmann Law Firm's Sioux Falls Estate Litigation Attorney Matt Abel and Host Jeana Goosmann discuss what happens when you don’t have an estate plan in place, the probate process, and how to avoid these issues in the future:

  1. It’s Estate Planning Awareness Week! Oct 19th - 25th
  2. What are the disadvantages of not having a plan?
  3. When does probate come into play? How does it work?
  4. What are the best ways to avoid the cost the probate?
  5. How our Trust Law Counsel Team can help

Learn about Goosmann's Estate Planning Practice HERE. 

Become a flock fan and subscribe to our Podcast for weekly episodes! Learn more at www.goosmannlaw.com.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this podcast episode “episode” is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. By listening to our episode, you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Goosmann Law Firm “GLF” attorneys and podcast publisher. No information contained in this episode should be construed as legal advice from GLF or the individual author, hosts, or guests, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. Please read our full Podcast Disclaimer.

Goosmann Law Firm:

Do complex legal issues. Hold you back. Let's get energized and bring clarity to your top legal questions. This is law. Talk with the flock by Goosmann law firm .

Jeana Goosmann:

Hello, I'm your host, Gina Goosmann, a CEO, lawyer, author, and woman business owner here to help navigate you through the law, your business and life. As a leader for today's episode, I have with me, attorney Matt Abel . Matt is an estate litigation attorney at the Goosmann law firm in our Sioux falls office. Welcome Matt .

Matt Abel:

Hi Gina .

Jeana Goosmann:

Today, we're going to talk about what happens if you don't have an estate plan and what is the probate process and how do you avoid these issues and some of the troubles that can result sound good, Matt . Sound good? Alright . So these are topics that you're very familiar with. I know, and this is coming upon estate planning awareness week at the end of October. And I think that they put this week here at the end of the year, but still with enough time for people to get their plans done. And I wrap up 2020 with something positive in it, get your planning done. And let's talk a little bit about Matt . If they don't have a plan, what are some of the disadvantages is someone passes away and they have no, will they have no trust? What happens?

Matt Abel:

I mean the biggest , biggest disadvantage is you don't have any control over your assets and where they go. If you have kids or family members or charities or things that are, are really close to you, you don't get to decide where your assets go after you pass away. So that's the, that's the biggest disadvantage. The second disadvantage would be that the cost of , uh , the probate process, you have to hire an attorney. Um, and then, like I say, that attorney goes through and uses the laws of whatever state it is to distribute out your assets, just according to a set schedule, but you don't get to determine

Jeana Goosmann:

If you have minor kids and you pass away who their guardians are, really can turn into a fight too .

Matt Abel:

Absolutely, absolutely.

Jeana Goosmann:

And we were very familiar with those probate fights and different situations that causes a lot of trial work for lawyers like you.

Matt Abel:

It certainly does. And it's, it's a really emotional and time consuming and expensive process that can be really avoided by this , uh , taking care of your estate plan,

Jeana Goosmann:

Not having a well you'd be dying in testate. And if you go through that process, how long can that take forever ?

Matt Abel:

Um , then in South Dakota, the minimum period is 120 days, but , uh , the vast majority of them, especially if they're contested , um, in any respect are between two and three years,

Jeana Goosmann:

Those couple of years, that assets that the family could be using to take care of the family they're tied up in the court system.

Matt Abel:

They are. Yup , absolutely. And , um, once it gets into court, you know, that's just another level of , uh, uh, inconsistency and something that's out of your hands. You don't know , don't get to decide, you know, a judge gets to decide or drink it's aside .

Jeana Goosmann:

And what, what is probate? Can you explain? What is that word? I know before I went to law school, I don't think I knew what probate was.

Matt Abel:

Yeah. It's just a fancy word for saying , um, that you have to go to court to , uh, have a judge or a jury. Like I was saying, decide how your assets are going to get distributed. And if you go to court and you didn't have a will, there's a set of rules or statutes that determines how your assets get distributed. Um, but if you have a will , um, and we go to probate, then at least you have had some control in determining how those assets are to be distributed.

Jeana Goosmann:

And you also mentioned the cost of probate. Can you tell me a little bit more about those expenses?

Matt Abel:

Yeah, absolutely. Um, so a lot of times attorneys in South Dakota will charge a flat fee or a percentage , um, of the overall estate . So if you think about whatever your state's worth, a percentage of, that's going to go just to an attorney just to go to court, just to follow the rules that, that , uh , uh, the state has in place to distribute your assets. And that's just less money that your , your kids or your family or that charity that you want , uh , is going to receive any yet .

Jeana Goosmann:

So for example, if someone owns a farm and it's worth a million dollars, the attorney charges 2%, $20,000 would be going to the attorney to transfer their farm to that next generation.

Matt Abel:

Absolutely. Absolutely. It's just money out the door that's unnecessarily spent. And a lot of times , uh , your estate plan, I should say the vast majority of the time your estate plan is going to be much less expensive than the probate process.

Jeana Goosmann:

You bet. And I know that that farming example comes up quite a bit where we live .

Matt Abel:

Oh, certainly absolutely. You know, I'm working in South Dakota with a ton of rural areas and farmers land. We've got, I mean, that's the vast majority of my practices dealing with transfers of pharma.

Jeana Goosmann:

How can you help people when they get in these circumstances, if a loved one has passed away or they don't think things are being handled quite right.

Matt Abel:

Uh , yeah. The first thing that, you know, we do, as we talk about, you know, the overall goal is, is , is it to contest a, will that's in place or is it to try to say somebody died without a will because the will was invalid. Um, and then , uh, we go through that process, you know, there's , uh , just a ton of different ways that you can , um, contest a will or determine that somebody died without a will. Um, but it, like I said, it's a long process. It's complicated. Um, and it's really most importantly, it's emotionally and financially draining. Um, and it's, it's just a really, really had not had a fun process. The , uh, I would strongly encourage people to go down the estate planning process, although it may be cumbersome and not fun to think about, you know, your mortality and passing away and all that stuff. It's , it's much better than the flip side and having your children , um, have to deal with the consequences of you not dealing with your estate plan while you're alive .

Jeana Goosmann:

And I know that a lot of your practice is tied up when people didn't do the planning and they didn't do it properly. So why do you enjoy helping folks in those circumstances?

Matt Abel:

Well , I think the biggest reason I enjoyed it is because I I've seen so many people , um, just come in and under the circumstances, their parents weren't either well educated or they just didn't think about getting a , uh , an estate plan done and they come in and they're just heartbroken to find out about how, you know, the, the intestate laws, the laws that govern , um , people that die without wills determine how their parents' assets are getting distributed. For instance, if there are three kids and two kids are working on the farm and one kid lives in New York city, and hasn't seen mom and dad for 20 years, while our intestate laws say all three kids inherit equally. And the two that have been working with mom and dad would come in and say, Hey, mom and dad wanted me to have the farm. Well, I, you know, under those circumstances, the court would likely say, Nope, the person that lives in, in new York's going to get a third of the farm, which is not what mom and dad wanted. So that's, that's the, the biggest reason that I do I do is to try to help help people , um , do what their , what their parents want them to do.

Jeana Goosmann:

You bet. And I know too , it's a , you've mentioned a really emotional process, and I always think that , uh , when you have these disputes, it's even worse than a divorce in many respects because these relationships go back generations.

Matt Abel:

Absolutely. You know, I call it a family divorce. That's, I mean, that's really what it is, is ultimately a lot of these cases result in people, siblings never talking to each other again, which is a really unfortunate circumstance that, that can be avoided by just doing an estate plan.

Jeana Goosmann:

And those fights that they have, you know, back in when they were in high school. And even if they're in their sixties or seventies, we ended up hearing about what happened 50 years ago. Don't we matter .

Matt Abel:

Yeah. And , you know, I joke, but it's not really a joke. You know, I, I deal with people , um, who are willing to spend their inheritance fighting with their siblings over mom and dad's Afghan or something. They some picture on the wall, you know, something trivial, but they just want, they just don't like each other so much after mom and dad pass away, you know, that they're willing to spend their heritage just to just fight about it. And , um , that's why I say it's a family divorce, unfortunately. So emotional and people,

Jeana Goosmann:

And some of the trust disputes can last a really long time. I know some have been in the courts for almost a decade.

Matt Abel:

Absolutely. Yeah. Some of, some of the big ones, when you you're dealing with multigenerational farms or big businesses that were involved in the family , uh , lasted long, long, long time. And so then you're, you're talking about a generation of people, you know, grandchildren , uh, getting involved and it's just, it just wears people out and just, it takes really long time.

Jeana Goosmann:

Well, Matt, thank you today for getting together and helping to explain some of the things that people should want to avoid and making certainly avoid a lot of these heartaches, if a family disputes and dynamics that they never intended by passing away without a will or without a trust, if they simply I make an appointment and work on and get a plan done.

Matt Abel:

Absolutely. Thanks for having me. Do you know?

Jeana Goosmann:

Yep . Have a great day. Everyone go make it worth it. Thanks for joining us for law. Talk with the flop by Goosmann law firm, we hope you feel energized and ready to soar past your goals. Become a flock fan and subscribe to our podcast for weekly episodes. Learn more at [inaudible] dot com.

Matt Abel:

[inaudible] .