You never know what value those old boxes in the corner of the attic or garage may contain. TruTV’s Hardcore Pawn stars recently appeared on GMA to demonstrate the value of old items that may seem like junk, but WAIT! Don’t discard it until you determine whether you’re tossing something you’ll regret later. If you have “junk” that you think might have real value, contact American Jewelry and Loan in Detroit to find out more.
The most effective step you can take with regard to managing your personal finances is simply to START. Everyone’s circumstances are different, so evaluate your financial abilities carefully to make the most use of your money. Here’s a link to some good general advice on handling your personal affairs. Note that Savers has no affiliation with Scott Cole & provides this as information only.
We’ve all heard it – death is an inevitable part of life. More times than not, the death of a loved one requires some degree of estate work. The following considerations will help to ensure that the estate is properly managed.
- The laws of the decedent’s home state will govern what has to be done to ensure the estate is properly settled. If there is a will, an executor will likely be appointed – probably the person named in the will. If there is no will, an administrator will likely be required. A friend or relative may serve, or the Court might appoint someone. There are professionals that provide these services, but be aware of the total expense involved versus a friend or family member serving.
- Don’t do anything rash – take your time to assess the estate carefully to make prudent decisions. Consider outstanding debts – which are secured and require payment before unsecured debts; which are subject to being disputed or excused altogether. A professional can help with these determinations, but be sure the representative you engage has experience with similar sized estates.
- Not everything will fall into the category of “estate property”. Estate property is everything left after other property passes by law or contract. For example, jointly titled vehicles (boats, cars, motorcycles, etc.) pass by operation of law. In other words, ownership of a car titled as John Doe or Jane Doe passes to Jane upon John’s death and vice versa without going through the probate process. Life insurance proceeds and retirement benefits also pass under the terms of the contract. Be careful about naming an estate as the beneficiary of life insurance or retirement benefits, since there may be unintended tax consequences. Real property titled as joint tenants with right of survivorship also pass without going through probate, subject to any outstanding indebtedness. There may be additional steps required by the mortgage company, if applicable, to transfer ownership of record – your estate professional can provide guidance on this point as needed.
- If a trust is established in the will, or if estate property passes to a trust in effect at the time of death, the named trustee has specific legal powers and obligations. Again, you should seek competent guidance when dealing with trust issues to guard against lapse of powers or loss of the trust corpus. If multiple trustees are required to act simultaneously, many banks or other entities may require assignment of power from one trustee to another to meet internal guidelines or limitations.
- Because the estate process is governed by laws in the decedent’s state of residence, it is important to seek advice from a competent professional to ensure a smooth legal process.
Scott Cole gives some good tips for dealing with a messy estate in his piece dated June 27, 2012. Visit his website referenced on the video for additional info.