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Coytee

Spousal Cancellation!

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I've never seen this one.....(and I so smugly thought I'd seen it all over the years!!)

 

I'm preparing for a meeting that I have NEXT Monday.  Gal has a pension and 401K.  She's already retired....so the pension conversation is essentially off the table.  I turn to the 401K to make my notes...  she's got....some of this.....that....  other....  then per my usual, I go double check her beneficiaries.

 

I know from her pension that she's married however, I DO run into people that might leave their pension to their spouse and their 401K funds to the kids.   So I click on the Beneficiary tab...  and for her SOLE beneficiary I see the name "X X".

 

I just stopped...  I clicked on the "name" and indeed, the first name is "X" and the last name is "X"  (as in the letter X which comes before Y and Z....I'm NOT using "X" as a place holder)

 

It's beyond me how a cognizant being can screw something up so bad....so rather than wait until next Monday, I called her immediately.  I can hear her husband chattering in the background....  Seems HE is supposed to be her beneficiary....and of course, his name is not the letter "X".

 

Side comment....she's a retired teacher.  So, I took the opportunity to tell her I was going to assign her some homework and her task is to fix that by next Monday.

 

 

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I wasn't going there...

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X marks the spot.

XX also known as Dos Equis

XXX watch out!

 

Sounds like the 401K is "X" rated.

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53 minutes ago, oldtimer said:

Sounds like the 401K is "X" rated.

 

I know where she can get some hot sauce to make things spicy.... 

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That's crazy. I went to the bank, set up beneficiaries on all my dads accounts per some good advice here. 5 years go by and I go back to verify those said beneficiaries for good measure. They only had 2 out of the 3 that were originally set up..............Totally dropped one person off the map. Isn't that comforting?

 

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13 hours ago, JL Sargent said:

That's crazy. I went to the bank, set up beneficiaries on all my dads accounts per some good advice here. 5 years go by and I go back to verify those said beneficiaries for good measure. They only had 2 out of the 3 that were originally set up..............Totally dropped one person off the map. Isn't that comforting?

 

You make an important legal point.  I have had numerous clients tell me they're not sure what they set up at X institution, Y bank, etc., if anything.  When something changes in life for them (a divorce, death of a spouse, death of a child, or just changing their mind, etc.), they have to wonder about all the places where they have to go and fix the beneficiary designations.  

 

Contrast that approach with the traditional, simple will.  If all of your accounts are payable to your estate, they simply go to whomever you designate in your will.  That's much smarter because it's much more efficient.  Much less prone to errors.  Errors in estate-planning can be very costly.  The simpler, the better.  Just have a will and update it (and only it) as necessary.

 

The argument against my advice is that, "Probate is slow and costly."  It's not (at least in Texas).  I can get a person letters testamentary within 3-4 weeks, no problem.  I would suggest that if a "survivorship account" is necessary, there should be only one, and it should be just for normal expenses for a few months, or so.

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32 minutes ago, Jeff Matthews said:

That's much smarter because it's much more efficient.

Well, you are an attorney! You would think it's more efficient. The reality (for me anyway) is it's not. Certainly a case by case situation. These accounts my dad has need management. Beneficiaries are only part of the picture and let's not even dive into the quirks of Probate Law after the fact! There is no wondering about what to do here. I've consolidated what was once a nightmare across a doz banks and 20 accounts down to just 4 banks. All real property has already been conveyed and PODs have been verified for the larger accounts (CDs and IRAs). Around here the Probate process seems frozen while a "notice of probate" is published in the local newspaper for at least 30 days. Sometime after that, you might get that Letter of Testamentary if our Probate Judge is so inclined to oblige.  

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1 minute ago, JL Sargent said:

Sometime after that, you might get that Letter of Testamentary if our Probate Judge is so inclined to oblige.  

Sweet Home Alabama!  That's too bad.  There's really no need for it to take that long - at least that's what we think in Texas.

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20 hours ago, JL Sargent said:

That's crazy. I went to the bank, set up beneficiaries on all my dads accounts per some good advice here. 5 years go by and I go back to verify those said beneficiaries for good measure. They only had 2 out of the 3 that were originally set up..............Totally dropped one person off the map. Isn't that comforting?

 

 

I'm sure if my name popped up as one of the beneficiaries, it was an accident :ph34r:

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3 hours ago, Coytee said:

I'm sure if my name popped up as one of the beneficiaries, it was an accident 

It's your name they keep losing. 😁

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@CoyteeDo you need someone, to step in, and assume the name XX ??  I can help.  Save your clients some homework 😀.  We too, have heard from our financial advisor, about the abundance of  brain farts from people that have "advanced levels of education".  Seriously, you should get a finders fee for steering your clients in the right direction. 

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1 hour ago, JL Sargent said:

It's your name they keep losing. 😁

 

Well played sir!!

 

33 minutes ago, Seadoc said:

@CoyteeDo you need someone, to step in, and assume the name XX ??  I can help.  Save your clients some homework 😀.  We too, have heard from our financial advisor, about the abundance of  brain farts from people that have "advanced levels of education".  Seriously, you should get a finders fee for steering your clients in the right direction. 

 

I'm all for finders fees!

 

Seriously though, what intrigues me (frankly irritates the dickens out of me) is  here with what I do and out in life, how many other advisors speak to people and the advisor doesn't catch it.  Now, lest someone say it's an oversight....  it very well may be.....however, having known a handful or three over my 30+ years of doing this....  more of them than not don't care to review it....  they have their eyes set more on the sale and the beneficiary aspect is more an administrative issue.

 

I've always felt that I need to turn every rock over, even if it's an account I've setup myself (thus knowing it's done).

 

Even today....  I'll have a meeting with someone that I met with "X" months ago (there's that pesky X again!) or X years ago...been there, done that and I still do what I term to them just a "drive by review" of their beneficiaries.  It takes all of 11 seconds and we're done.

 

So it's become a habit I have over the years.  I have my mental checklist and I'm OCD enough that if I get scrambled in my process (if something comes up making us start on item number 4 instead of item number 1)  I'll actually stop, backup and then do a quick speed review of 1,2,3 so that I know they're reviewed and I'm "on process".

 

I don't recall the name of the test, but an old employer once had everyone at the firm take a strengths test....  owner of the firm called me in one day and we reviewed mine.  He said he scored a "24" (making up the number) on the "Process" portion indicating that he was a HIGH process person who liked to have or make a process on how he approaches things.

 

Turns out (again, making up numbers) I was a "35" and had the highest value of anyone in the office.

 

I could have just told him I can be OCD on some things and saved him the expense of the test!!

 

 

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I need to do a simple will, Funny, I didn't give it much thought until recently. A simple will to go 50 50 to my kids 🍻

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