Stephen Waltar from Legacy Estate Planning in Bellvue, WA discusses estate planning. A good estate plan protects what you love and protects your wishes when you move on. Before people come in to talk about an estate plan, he likes them to answer a background questionnaire so he can meet them prepared. Are they married? Do they have children? And, of course, information about their assets is helpful too! All to find a plan that meets their individual needs.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
This is a special presentation of Answers for Elders with LegacyEstate Planning with Stephen Waltar. Happy Saturday everyone. It’s money and Law Week on Answers for Elders radio and we have a very, very special guest here at the top of the hour, Mr. Stephen Waltar, from Legacy Estate Planning in Bellevue. Steve, welcome to the programs. Good to be here, Steve. I’m so glad you’re here because obviously, you know, people want to know about the difference and you know what an estate planning attorney really does. Would you give some clarification? Of course, yeah, it’s, you know, caring for what you have, caring for your loved ones. I always say Good Estate Plan protects you while your alive and also protects your wishes when you pass on right, and that’s so important. I know that for so many families. One of the things that just blows my mind that how many people think that they have things all, you know, set up and everything like that, and there’s this little bit of a fear like what if I go to an attorney and you know, what are they going to say to me? What’s going to happen. They don’t want to talk about death and avoid it. I tell like Murphy’s Law better to come in and then nothing will happen for quite a while. There you go. So if I’m going to go and see an estate planning attorney like you, what is the process? Well, I’m happy to give a free initial console, but I do need to have someone come in kind of prepared because it’s you’re like them to do a questionnaire, so I know are they married, are they single? Do they have children or grandchildren? A little bit about their assets, because I’m like the physician. I don’t know if they need heart surgery brings. I need to kind of I need to look at that, ask a bunch of nosy questions, and then together we figure out what plan fits their needs exactly. It’s like getting under the hood taking your car in. It’s the same kind of thing. It’s you’re going to ask some questions about their assets and probably a lot of situations of you know, what’s important to them in the future after they pass away and some nice people call, how much? Is it a will or a trust? And I don’t even know if that’s the right question. You know right how much is a car. What do you need it to do? So that’s why a little questionnaire and some time and within an hour I can figure out what they need and we can build a planet fits their needs. You know, you say that because there’s right now online people can say, oh well, I can just download a will on the internet or I can do x, Y Z on the Internet. It’s really not that simple, is it? Well, the problems you don’t know if it’s that simple. I mean right, and often a will, even if the will is correct, it may not control anything. Maybe that your beneficiary designations control everything. So you don’t know what you don’t know. Unless they’re in the field of estate planning. They don’t know if they have a good will or trust or power of attorney. Sure, sure. And then as you’re as you’re navigating this world as a caregiver, you know it’s important for you obviously to go with your aging parent if you know, if possible, I’m assuming, and really to understand fully what the situation is as well, because if you’re going to be a power of attorney or something like that in helping them, assist them in their aging years, it’s important for you to be educated. Oh Yeah, I think that it’s critical to know who you would trust to manage your affairs while you’re alive, powers, attorney, agents, trustees, as well as who should handle things when you’re gone. So if a senior, you know, clients come in and they want to bring their adult children, that’s that’s fine, that’s great. What I don’t want is one kid that’s Bossi coming in with mom or dad. What I want is, you know, the person that mom or dad would choose to have their to either go to person correct and also understanding to that. You know, I think I don’t think my mom really knew what she owned, what she had, what her you know, her assets were as she started to fail. I remember she still had her house but, you know, she had a reverse mortgage on it. She wasn’t sure about where that was. She didn’t understand about you know, she had a portfolio, but she, you know, burned through that and so she was kind of in this scenario. She didn’t really know where she was. How is that? To get a hold of that information or can assess that information? Well, someone’s got to know that they have property and how many children they have. They have to have some capacity to do planning, but sometimes it can be helpful with the questionnaire with the children there and they can be reminded what they have. And you know, there’s just a little bit of coordination in that. The attorneys got to make sure they have a capacity to sign things right and it’s better to jump on these things when you have have a clue. You can always see the fine-tune it down the road. You know. That’s true. So obviously there’s a part of a state planning to that’s what we said. You don’t know what you have. You probably may have been to an estate planning attorney twenty years ago or ten years ago, but now you’re in a situation where, you know, acids start to deplete, if you’re starting age, maybe you’ve got or really the opposite. Yeah, all, yeah, and they have no clue and they put it down on paper and go, oh my gosh, there’s a million bucks here, or, you know, they forget about an asset it and to start right, they don’t even put it on the questionnaire. But I say, is this all the real property? And then they say oh, yeah, but we have part of the ranch in Montana or something. Right, right. So we’re talking to Stephen Waltar he is with Legacy Estate Planning in Bellevue, Washington, and Steve, you are awesome. I know that I’ve referred a lot of people to you in the past and I so agree and support everything that you do for families. So how often should somebody have their estate plan reviewed? Yeah, it’s a good question. Obviously it should be reviewed if your goals change. Oh I don’t want to give to the kids, I want to give it the grandkids or I want to include charities. If you are you know, the kids went through a divorce and all of a sudden you want to remove your daughter-in-law or son-in-law, either as a beneficiary or sometimes even as an agent, to be in charge. Right. I as a rule of thumb, I recommend people to kind of pull out their wills, their trust every three years or so. Oh, wow, that’s frequent. More fair than I thought. I just think it’s good to take a look at that. Yeah, and then in as far as looking at bringing that individual into the picture with you, you know, what is the kind of person that you should probably look for to be that voice for you? It is it necessarily your air? Is it? You know, and then you obviously appoint like an executor. What are the different roles that you would have in a future plan? Yeah, yeah, so the question of who do you appoint? Well, that’s hard. It’s always hard to replace yourself, right, the types of people you got to figure who. This is not a popularity contest, right. Who would you trust to admit you to the hospital and make medical decisions on your care, your treatment, your body, your surgery? You don’t don’t worry. If you’re going to offend the oldest son. I happen to be the oldest son. If you want your daughter to make that decision, then she should be listed there. I don’t like a committee. So it’s someone that can make medical decisions, right. And then a totally different role, I think, is who would you trust to make your financial decisions? Sure, and and you want someone that would not be using your money for their benefit. You want someone that’s steady, they haven’t been bankrupt, they own a home or that you know they’re pretty decent with money and they would put your interest above their own. Right. And I and that’s while you’re alive. Then when you’re gone, you know, sometimes it’s one person that would handle the financial stuff through a will or trust right and then, ultimately, depending on who the beneficiaries are, sometimes you divide and conquer. You might want someone to be the trustee of certain grandkids and someone to be the trustee you’re the manager from you could do I didn’t know you could do that. So the interesting thing that I see thanks aren’t known for being great at that. Well, it’s interesting because I was. I started out my caregiving with my mom. I actually didn’t have any authority for anything because my mom and I were not close. But mom was down here and I we had someone north up and Anichordis that was basically governing everything. It put me in a position where I had all the responsibility and no authority to do any right, which was very difficult, so hard. It’s hard on sibling relations. It was very hard. It’s hard a lot of ways and over time obviously, mom realized that she needed to make that change and put that and trusted me into it. But obviously, me being power of attorney, it’s not a popularity contract contest for her to act. It’s hard work. It’s no fun to do that stuff, but it’s nice to have legal authority, especially in this day and age of, you know, people suing people over all sorts of things. Oh my gosh, I know. So when you review an estate plan, obviously you’re going to look at all the things that you have. You know that that is happening in your portfolio and in your estate planning right now. But you’re going to look to the future. What kind of things in the future that would you look at it for somebody that’s in that their twilight of their aging years, be more specific there. What do you well like? Like, for example, you’re going to look at power of attorney. I’m assuming is that correct? Oh, yeah, for sure. Yeah, and those are documents that certainly should be drafted by an attorney and not something online. I know so many people that think that that’s okay, and of course maybe in a real simplistic point of view it might be, but overall there’s just so many considerations like what you were saying that I would never have somebody do that. What other kinds of situations? Obviously, your last will and testament are part of that. Is that correct? So you’re talking about what kind of documents might make sense. Correct. Yeah, so, sorry, will er, trust is a way to say who gets what when you die. HMM, powers of attorney and trust or ways to manage things during your lifetime. Living Wills are, I think, very helpful because most people don’t want to be on, you know, pumping machines and feeding tubes if they’re constant, chronic, and vegetative. Right. And sometimes people say why, I want my children to make that decision will. Really, wouldn’t you prefer to say I don’t want someone to feel a sense of guilt that they pulled the plug on mom or dad, and wouldn’t I want my doctors and even lawyers, everyone to cooperate? No one should feel a sense of guilt like they pulled right, right, right. And then there’s this interim document that we do called a HIPPA authorization form. HIPPA is like this privacy law. How can you give anyone authority to look at your protected healthcare information unless you say who would have permission? Correct, and so we always have that language inside of a healthcare power of attorney, but I like to do a totally separate form. And here’s a good example. Maybe your daughter is a nurse and she’s married to a physician and you wouldn’t want him blocked from your records if the daughter is visiting you making choices. So sometimes you add a few other people to be inclusive with the family integrated. Yeah, they don’t get to make the call, but they could, they could have access to the information. Makes Total Sense. Yeah. So, Steve, how do we reach you? Oh, we are available at four to five, four five, five, sixty seven eighty eight. So that’s four to five, four five, five, sixty seven eighty eight, and some people go online to Waltar dot com. The better spell that Waltar dot com. Steve, thank you so much for being on the program thank you, Suzanne. This has been a special presentation of answers for elders with the legacy estate planning with Stephen Waltar are. For more information for Legacy Estate Planning, go to waltar dot com. That’s Waltar dot com.
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Originally published November 09, 2022