James A Wickre Attorney

James A Wickre Attorney
Let me help you develop an estate plan that fits your needs.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Top 10 Mistakes People Make With Their Revocable Living Trusts

I have been doing Trusts for folks for over 30 years and over time I keep seeing the same mistakes. So here are my Top 10 in the hope you will avoid them.

1. Not Funding the Trust. I often have to probate an estate because people failed to keep real property & most bank accounts etc in their Trust. Check with an attorney about which kind of assets need to be placed in your Trust. When you purchase or acquire new assets put them in the Trust.

2. Failing To Keep Their Trust Updated. Every few years as circumstances change, have your Trust reviewed with an attorney. Are your Successor Trustees and beneficiaries still the people you want?

3. Putting Your Original Trust in a Bank Safe Deposit Box. Attorneys disagree on this point but I recommend keeping your Trust in a fire proof safe at home. Banks are hard to deal with and are closed evenings, weekends, and holidays.

4. Losing Your Trust. Every once in a while we know that a Trust was signed but the Trust Maker or his Successor Trustee cannot find it. Keep it in a safe place.....see # 3 above.

5. Not Having a Pour Over Will. Even if you have a Trust, you need a back up or as I say a "safety net" Will to pick up assets you own at your death that are not in the Trust for whatever reason.

6. Leaving Specific Property or Dollar Amounts to Beneficiaries. I always recommend leaving your trust assets in percentages(%) to your beneficiaries. Property and its values change and specific bequests can lead to unintended consequences or require frequent amending of your Trust.

7. Doing a "Do It Yourself" Trust. I have had to probate several estates where the Trust was not properly drafted.

8. Not Picking Capable or Honest Successor Trustees. Pick people you Trust who are capable of dealing with your assets in a fair and conscientious manner.

9. Making Handwritten Changes On Your Trust. Making handwritten changes on a Trust without going through the formalities can cause litigation and could invalidate your Trust.

10. Attempting To Control Things From the Grave. At some point you will have to let go. I have seen additional expenses and actual litigation of a Trust because of too many conditions placed in the Trust on assets passing on death.

Remember if I prepared your Trust, you can call me at anytime with questions regarding your Trust at no charge.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Estate Planning Presentations.

This summer I was honored to be asked to present a seminar by the America Heart Association here in Medford at the main library on Estate Planning. It was a lot of fun and is an informal way to explore estate planning options.

If you are a member of a group or organization, or just some friends, who are interested in a speaker on Estate Planning I am available. Just give me a call. I have been giving Estate Planning programs to groups for the last 35 years and would be happy to give one to your group. I give an objective presentation on wills vs. trusts and have program material to hand out to those attending. I love the give and take of a discussion on Estate Planning and taking questions is a very important part of any presentation. I have a conference room available for up to 10 people or am happy to travel to your group. Again, just give me a call.

Updating Your Estate Plan

Many people do a will or a trust and associated documents and put them away and never look at them again. However it's always a good idea to pull those documents out of the drawer or file and review them every couple of years to check to see if they still work for you and are consistent with your present wishes. When you get it out look for the following:

1. Does your estate go to the people or organizations  you want to receive it upon your passing?

2. Is the person you named as your Executor, Personal Representative, Successor Trustee for a Trust still the person you want in charge of your financial affairs after you pass or become incapacitated in the case of a Trust?

3. If you have minor children are the people you named as guardians still the people you want to raise your children if both parents are unavailable?

4. Has a named beneficiary died?

5 Has a named Executor, Personal Representative or Successor Trustee died?

6. Have you divorced your spouse? Do you have a new spouse?

7. Is your spouse deceased?

8 Is one of your children deceased? Have you adopted children?

9. Did you leave a specific item of property (personal or real) to a specific beneficiary and do you no longer own that property?

10. Has the value of your estate substantially increased or decreased?

11. Do you have a beneficiary who may lose governmental benefits if they inherit from you?

 These are only a few examples of when there may need to be an update of you estate plan.

A final note, please do not write on your ORIGINAL will, trust or other estate planning document because it could invalidate them!

Friday, April 24, 2015

OUR SERVICES

A PARTIAL LIST OF
OUR SERVICES:

  1. Simple Wills
  2. Revocable Living Trusts
  3. Powers of Attorney
  4. Powers of Attorney for Healthcare
  5. Advance Directives to Physicians
  6. Special Needs Trusts
  7. Income Cap Trusts
  8. Irrevocable Trusts
  9. Spendthrift Trusts
  10. Pet Trusts
  11. General Estate Planning
  12. Alternatives to Probate
  13. Small Estate Affidavits
  14. Probate if necessary
  15. Adoptions
  16. Name Change
  17. Guardianships
  18. Conservatorships
  19. Deeds
  20. Forming Corporations
  21. Forming LLC's (Limited Liability Companies)
We are happy to give out our fees by phone for many of our legal services. Just call (541) 772-3371

Monday, February 23, 2015

Revocable Living Trusts

Many of my clients tell me the reason they are doing a Revocable Living Trust is their last parent just died and they had a trust and it made things so much simpler in handling their final affairs. On the other hand, I also get clients who want to do a trust because they just got done probating their parents' estate and they don't want to put their children through that process.

Regardless of the reason, my clients are very happy that I do most trusts and wills on a flat fee basis.  There is no "meter" running! That way clients feel more comfortable asking more questions and not feeling rushed in developing an estate plan that fits their needs.

If you own real property worth more than $200,000 (not your equity but the fair market value of the land) you should explore a Revocable Living Trust.

If you are concerned as to who will handle your financial affairs if you have an extended illness, then you should explore a Revocable Living Trust.


A "Revocable" (you can change it) "Living" (you establish it while you are alive) "Trust" (your property is held in trust for your benefit) allows you to avoid probate and plan for any potential incapacity without going to the expensive, bureaucratic and slow state court system for probate or a conservatorship.


  

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Valentine’s Day Wedding


In addition to being a full time attorney I am also a part time municipal court judge for the city of Phoenix, Oregon and a pro tem municipal court judge for the city of Medford. Oregon law provides that municipal judges may perform wedding ceremonies.  As a result one of the fun things I get to do is preside over wedding ceremonies.  Each week I perform on average one or two weddings here at my law office in our conference room.  This year, Valentine’s Day, falls on a Saturday and I have agreed to come in for several weddings.  A Valentine’s Day wedding is a date both can remember come anniversary time and it is very romantic.

For more information on Marriage here is a link to an Oregon State Bar article.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Estate Planning Presentations.

If you are a member of a group or organization, or just some friends, who are interested  in a speaker on  Estate Planning I am available.  Just give me a call. I have been giving Estate Planning programs to groups for the last 35 years and would be happy to give one to your group. I give an objective presentation on wills vs. trusts and have program material to hand out to those attending. I love the give and take of a discussion on Estate Planning and taking questions is a very important part of any presentation.  I have a conference room available for up to 10 people or am happy to travel to your group. Again, just give me a call.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

That New Years Resolution

The Holidays are over and now is a good  time to do a will or a trust if you haven't or update the one you have. If you have a will or trust get it out and read it. Is it up-to-date and does it still reflect your current  wishes ? Have the laws changed?

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Simple Will

I am often ask: What is a simple will?

 For a married couple, a "simple will" is a will where you leave your  estate to your spouse and if your spouse dies first then equally to your common adult children or the beneficiary or beneficiaries of your choice in percentages.

For a single person, a "simple will" is a will that leaves your entire estate equally to your adult children or the beneficiary or beneficiaries of your choice in percentages .

I also do many wills for younger couples and single parents with minor children with trust provisions to take care of the young children if something happens to their parents.

In drafting a "simple will" and even complex wills I recommend in most situations that bequests to beneficiaries be done in percentages (%) of the estate rather than specific gifts of property or dollar amount gifts ($). Specific property can be sold, heavily mortgaged and the dollar value of your estate can fluctuate that can result in unintended consequence on death or added expense in amending your will each time an asset is sold.

We happily give fee quotes over the phone for many of our services. Just call (541) 772-3371
The Will Attorney in Medford, Oregon
 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

What to Do When a Loved One Dies

In the last few weeks I have been working on a "checklist" for loved ones to use when a friend or relative dies.  Often relatives feel overwhelmed in trying to grieve for a loved one and at the same time,  the task of closing out the deceased financial affairs.  In order to help with this process, I have developed a 6 page checklist with some helpful ideas for my clients in an effort  to make their job easier. I know many funeral homes have lists but they always seemed to me to be incomplete. I have organized the list to include:
1. Documents Needed,
2. Things to do Immediately,
3. Funeral Arrangements,
4. To Do Before the Funeral,
5. To Do After the Funeral,
6. Legal and Financial,
7. Licenses, Accounts & Memberships,
8. Dealing with Real and Personal Property, and
9. Miscellaneous

Probate is often  a last resort  and I work hard for my clients, depending on the facts, to find a less expensive alternative.  If you would like the list, please call for an appointment to review the facts of your loved ones financial affairs.

Even if the deceased had a Revocable Living Trust, a consultation and checklist can be important in getting the Successor Trustee started on their important job. Over the years I have also developed instructions for Successor Trustees who need guidance and help in understanding their job. It sets forth their rights and responsibilities as Successor Trustee.

 I have served as a Successor Trustee and Personal Representative for my own family and for clients so I understand the "nuts and bolts" of the jobs and often have practical solutions for common issues. I have given advice on many wills and trusts that were prepared by other attorneys or even prepared by non attorneys.

However, keep in mind no list is ever intended to fit every situation and is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney experienced in Estate Planning, Probate and Probate Alternatives.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Revocable Living Trusts

I have been preparing estate plans for my clients since 1975. In that time I have used Revocable Living Trusts as a valuable tool to the help many of my clients avoid probate and plan for incapacity. Many of my clients planning for their senior years want to remain in their home. A trust can offer help to insure that these wishes and desires are honored.

A REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST can also insure that your loved ones will not have to take the time and expense of probating your estate after your death.

Under a REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST you have complete control over your property and other assets. You can change the trust at any time or you can revoke it. You can do anything with your property that you can do with it now.

Unlike some, I am not in the business of selling trusts. It is possible you do not need a trust. If that is the case, I will tell you. You may need just a "Simple Will" A trust is just one of many estate planning tools and each estate plan needs to be tailored to fit your needs and desires. I am in the profession of giving legal advice so that you are fully informed of your options and so you can make an informed decision. I will implement your plan with your help in a collaborative effort to establish your estate plan.

"Let me help you develop an estate plan that fits your needs."

Please call for fees. We will gladly give our fees by phone for most of our legal services. Most of our fees are done on a flat fee basis. Call 541 772-3371

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Our Services

A Partial list of our services:

  1. Simple Wills
  2. Revocable Living Trusts
  3. Powers of Attorney
  4. Powers of Attorney for Healthcare
  5. Advance Directives to Physicians
  6. Special Needs Trusts
  7. Income Cap Trusts
  8. Irrevocable Trusts
  9. Spendthrift Trusts
  10. Pet Trusts
  11. General Estate Planning
  12. Alternatives to Probate
  13. Small Estate Affidavits
  14. Probate if necessary
  15. Adoptions
  16. Name Change
  17. Guardianships
  18. Conservatorships
  19. Deeds
  20. Forming Corporations
  21. Forming LLC's (Limited Liability Companies)
We are happy to give out our fees by phone for many of our legal services. Just call (541) 772-3371

Monday, April 28, 2014

Special Needs Trusts

There are several types of  "Special Needs Trusts." The one I am writing about today is the "Special Needs Trusts" that is funded with funds other than the funds of the person in need of a Special Needs Trust.  This is typically done by a grandparent or parent leaving property and other assets in their estate plan to an adult child (under 65)who is receiving governmental benefits because of a disability and do not want to endanger eligibility for governmental benefits. This kind of Special Needs Trust does not need to pay back governmental benefits after the adult child dies. The Trust is not funded with the adult child's income or assets  but with gifts and bequests from others.

 The advantage of this trust is that it is a receptacle for gifts and bequests from others to supplement the needs of the disabled adult child. It can increase the choices available to the adult child  so that the comfort and personal dignity of the adult child are enhanced by trust distributions. The distributions can not be made for support such as board and room or medical treatment.  However, the following list illustrates some of the nonsupport items that may be paid for from the trust:

1. Transportation
2. TV expenses including telephone, computer and or cable equipment.
3. Cost of outings, and entertainment
4. Over the counter medications
5. Personal care products
6. Computers
7. Furniture and household items
8. Tuition for classes
9. Pet care and vet bill
10. Purchase of exempt assets
11. Medical care for which there are not public funds available
12. Private case management
13. The independent trustee can use trust funds to be an advocate for the disabled person and funds can be used for guardianship and conservatorship proceedings.

This list is to illustrate what can be done but does not limit the things that can be done to help the disabled adult child.

This summary is a general statement of the law and each client needs to go over their individual situation with a competent attorney experienced in this area of the law. 

James A. Wickre, Attorney, 816 West 8th Medford, Oregon. Telephone: 541 772-3371 




Monday, April 21, 2014

Is a Revocable Living Trust Right for You?

I have been preparing estate plans for my clients since 1975. In that time I have used Revocable Living Trusts as a valuable tool to the help many of my clients avoid probate and plan for incapacity. Many of my client planning for their sen...ior years want to remain in their home. A trust can offer help to insure that these wishes and desires are honored.

A REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST can also insure that your loved ones will not have to take the time and expense of probating your estate after your death.

Under a REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST you have complete control over your property and other assets. You can change the trust at any time or you can revoke it. You can do anything with your property that you can do with it now.

Unlike some, I am not in the business of selling trusts. It is possible you do not need a trust. If that is the case, I will tell you. A trust is just one of many estate planning tools and each estate plan need to be tailored to fit your needs and desires. I am in the profession of giving legal advice so that you are fully informed of your options and so you can make an informed decision. I will implement your plan with your help in a collaborative effort to establish your estate plan.

"Let me help you develop an estate plan that fits your needs."

Please call for fees. We will gladly give our fees by phone for most of our legal services. Most of our fees are done on a flat fee basis. Call 541 772-3371


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Should you have just a Will or a Living Trust ?


 
 
WITH NO WILL
 
WITH A WILL
 
WITH A LIVING TRUST
 
IF YOU BECOME
MENTALLY IMPAIRED
The court in your county
appoints a conservator
for your property
and a guardian for you.
 
Same as not having a will, a Will directs
affairs only after your
death.
Trustee you have named
oversees your trust property
without court action.
WHEN YOU DIE
Property in your name –
probate property – is
distributed according to
state laws of intestate
succession in Probate
Probate property
distributed through Probate as  laid
out in the Will –
with a few limitations.
 
 
You avoid probate court and it's cost. Property distributed as per trust
 
PROBATE COSTS
Your estate goes into Probate if large enough .Minimum of $3000 to $20,000 or more.
 
.
A WILL DOES NOT
AVOID PROBATE.
 
No probate costs. 
 
PRIVACY
Court’s handling of your
estate is open to public
inspection.
Your Will’s trip
through probate is
public record.
A living trust is not a public
document.
IF YOU CHANGE
YOUR MIND
No one will know because
you haven’t left any
plan to go by.
You can revoke it
totally or change
it with a codicil.
You can revoke the trust
totally or amend it.