Family, Must Have Documents, Trust, Will
May 23, 2021
Listen to Podcast Episode:
Suze and KT share a deeply personal email from a listener named Sharon, highlighting why it’s so very important to prepare for the worst, while always hoping for the best.
May 23, 2021. And for this Sunday, she's back, KT's here. Because we're going to have a conversation about a difficult topic. I told you all on Thursday that I had received a bunch of emails and some of them were very, very sad. And they were all very true. And I said, Suze, we need to do one called the “what ifs” and that's what Suze has planned. Well, I never really plan anything just so you know that everybody, but I do think that it's been on our mind. It's an important topic because in life, you know, the truth of the matter is you really just have to hope for the best, but always plan for the worst. And the truth of the matter is that many of you, you never plan for the worst. You just hope for the best and you forget to do the second part of that or we also believe it's not going to happen to me. So, can I start by reading Sharon's letter? Are you asking me permission to do anything? I want to do this because this has been a letter that's been on my mind. As a matter of fact, when we're done, I want you to explain that you've been in touch with Sharon throughout the whole process. Well, not throughout the whole process, but after Sharon wrote this email when I get emails that are really not disturbing, but are painful for the person who's writing the email. I usually contact them because I want them to know that I'm there and if there's any way I can help them, I will help them. And that's truthfully one of my joys of life. All right, Miss Travis. Okay everybody, so here's a letter we received from Sharon. Hi Suze, KT. I'm writing to you in the early hours of the morning trying to look for three things I can be thankful for. You see last week my husband and I were putting the finishing touches on our house to list. We both retired in September 2020 and our 30-year dream and goal was to move to Arizona. Our move date was planned for August one and a deposit was placed on a rental in Phoenix's West Valley. On Thursday, I received that dreaded call that he had collapsed and was being medivaced with a severe head injury. My husband, the picture of health, is now fighting to stay alive in a neuro intensive care unit at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. However, to get through this, I know that I have to find things to be thankful for each day and of course I count my support system of family and friends. The fact that he wasn't in a car at the time and possibly could have hurt others or that I wasn't driving with him. So, our son didn't have two injured parents, the obvious. But Suze, I'm giving thanks to you because even though my physical house is in disarray with boxes everywhere, our financial house is in order, I was able to submit my husband's living will and medical POA immediately to Pen. We are in the process of selling a car in my husband's name before the move and I was told I could continue with the transaction because we have durable power of attorney in place. We have long term care policies purchased 35 years ago, which was a portable benefit from my husband's company. People always gently chide me for being too concerned about the future or being too organized. And then she wrote in brackets, Suze she wrote, how can anyone be too organized? And she wrote, thank goodness I am. How could anyone focus on these finances in this tornado of emotions? So today Suze, you are the top item on my thankful list. I will get through this. I may be devastated, but I am strong and I am prepared. A 30-year fan, Sharon. Makes you cry. Suze is very teary, right? Yeah. You can do it. So people, we get these often too often. And the thing that makes it sad is that it's real. Suze doesn't cry often. But today's well, the reason I'm crying is because it's an amazing thing to have somebody be thanking me at a time like that. I know, and I mean more than money, more than anything, that is one of the greatest gifts that I could be given by somebody. As to that I'm being thanked at a time when her husband may not even live and it brings me back truthfully KT, to my own life and when I was in the hospital and people telling me thank you, thank you. You know whether it was the nurses or other patients and it really is overwhelming. You know because a lot of you may wonder, you know you get to a point in your life where you have tremendous success, like we have KT. And a lot of people wonder why do they keep doing it? Why do they keep working? How much money does somebody need? I mean how many times have really successful people heard that one saying, how much money does somebody need. And it's really important that all of you understand sometimes money is not the object on any level. Sometimes the object is really just helping people with the knowledge that you have. And then you get a letter like this from Sharon and it's a, it's I can't even explain the feeling, the feeling that, you know, it gives me when somebody says that and the fact that she ended a 30-year fan. So, for 30 years, Sharon has been listening to Suze and she just followed the instructions. You've made a cry baby out of me, KT, I didn't mean to do that. But the “what ifs” is a topic that we talked about and people go, yeah, yeah, yeah, it's not going to happen to me. And it does, and we hope it will never happen to any of you, but it does and it happens to us, it has happened to us. You bet it's happened to us. On that level, what's really great is just a little bit ago, a few days ago I was able to appear in front of the cameras again for the very first time. Everybody Suze. I can't reveal what she did yet, but everybody, Suze went back on stage in front of cameras for two solid days and did an amazing job and to be surrounded by, you know, 20, 30 people and the directors and the lighting and the makeup and the sound people and everybody there and the client in the background, so nervous. It was great. It was a really good experience and the adrenaline was just flowing. But here's the great news. Suze was brilliant. I mean, brilliant and scary, looked really good too. She looked beautiful, but absolutely brilliant. And after 20 years of watching her in front of cameras, I'm still in awe every time pinching myself that she's not an actress. But man, she was as good as any of them. She was really, really great. So, you'll have to pay attention and you will see her on air soon. But what was interesting about that, you know, we were in Florida when we taped what we were taping and when I walked into the condo, I started to cry again because she cried when you got in the car, she didn't even wait till she got home. She got a little teary and it was a cry of relief and a cry of joy. And really because I didn't think I was going to be able to do it and I did it. I did agree. She kept sitting in the car saying KT, I did it, I did it, I did it. And so, the point of that is that sometimes we are really, really more capable of doing things then we have any idea. We're also really capable of protecting ourselves against the “what ifs” of life more so than we have any idea. But you have to do things to protect yourselves. And the other sad thing for me is that many of the times when we do the podcast and I talk about the Must Have documents. Sometimes, I feel like people just feel like and I do feel this way. So, I want to talk about it. They just feel like, oh Suze wants us to buy something. Suze is just trying to sell us something. And what's really important is I want you to understand we never do anything on this podcast or I never do anything in my entire life where I just am trying to sell you something. I just want to provide for you, the information and the documents that you need that protect you against the what ifs of life. Why don't you tell everyone what those four must have documents are? Because even in Sharon's letters, she referenced three of them. She had them all. But tell everybody. All right, and just before I do that and I will, I just want to say this as well. And my passion for this really came from September 11th 2001, when so many people's lives were lost in the world trade, finance people and a lot of men and their wives would call me and say Suze, I don't know if we even have a will or a trust. I don't know what we have. And if we had it, maybe it was in the building and it's not there anymore. And what they had to go through at a time of loss to put everything together. And then over the years, how many emails like Sharon have I gotten? And so, this really is for you right now. And I am asking you to take what I'm about to talk to you about to your heart to understand that you always have to protect your tomorrows today, because you just never know. So, can you just listen today with the most open mind and heart that you've ever had. And if you haven't done the must have documents, I am begging you to do them. So, let me begin once again. And I know in past podcasts we've talked about this. But you can never talk about this enough. So, the must have documents. Why do I call them the must have documents, because these are documents that you must have every single one of you. I don't care whether you're rich, whether you're poor. I don't care who you are. You need these documents. The very first one that most of you are familiar with is a will and a will is simply a piece of paper that says where your assets are to go upon your death. But I want you to listen to me closely. Now that is not enough. Because what if you don't die? A will. If all Sharon had was a will, in this case, it would have helped her at all because her husband hasn't died. He's now needing help and she's needing help in different ways and a will would not have allowed her to sell the car that was just in her husband's name. So, a will is an extremely important document. But it's not enough by any means. The next document, which is the most important document you can have bar none, is a living revocable trust. We call it that because you do it while you are living, revokable means you can change your mind any time that you want. And trust is simply the name of the document. This is where you take the time while you are alive to transfer the titles of your bank accounts, your real estate, assets that are in your name into the title of the trust, held for your benefit, while you're alive and your beneficiaries benefit after you have died. You can change your mind anytime you want. You can change your beneficiaries. You can do anything you want whenever you want. It does not change the property taxes that you pay, the income taxes that you pay. It is just a document that will save you thousands and thousands of dollars and time. And time lots of time. Why is that? For two reasons. Number one, let's go back to a will. Let's just say your mother, my mother has a home in the state of California. And the house, the title to the house is in her name Anne Orman. And mommy is living in that house and upon her death she wants me to be able to have that house and I want that house because I want to live in that house. And the value of that houses, is let's say $300,000. Even though she may have a mortgage on it doesn't matter. The value of the house is $300,000. Upon my mother's death, if all she has is a will. And the will says that house is to go to me. The problem is, the title of the home is still in her name, Anne Orman, and she is no longer alive to be able to sign the title of the house over to me. So, what do I have to do? I have to take the document down to court. It's known as probate court. I'm not the one who takes it down there. A lawyer has to. So, a lawyer takes the will down to probe a court and just to open up probate will be $1,000 or $2,000 right off the bat. Then the will goes to the judge who absolutely looks at the will and verifies that, my mom, yeah, she wanted to leave it to me and not to my brothers. After he or she has done that, the judge, then it will take 1-2 years in the state of California for the judge to sign my mother's name on the title for her, over to me. Now, what does that simple procedure cost? Well, first of all, like I said, it will take you one or two years. But in the state of California, for instance, probate fees are set by law, their statutory, so on a $300,000 home, it's easily going to cost me $20,000 for legal fees, executor fees. It's going to be expensive. Now, what happens if I don't have $20,000 to pay those fees? Well, guess what? The house can be sold if it has equity in it to pay those fees. Is that really what you want to do? You want to go through a court procedure by the name of probate? Or could you very easily avoid all that? And the answer to that question is you absolutely can, with a living revokable trust. Why? Because what did I tell you, while my mother was alive, she took the steps to transfer the title of her home from Anne Orman, into the title of the trust Anne Orman trustee for the Anne Orman Living revocable trust held for her benefit, while she's alive, my benefit after she has died. Mommy dies two weeks later. No probate. No lawyers, no executives, no fees except one fee. About $700 to transfer the title from her name to my name at a title company. That's it. But, because it was held for her benefit while she was alive, my benefit after she has died, the title already transferred. I just have to now get it on the document. Do you understand how much that just saved me and it would save you? Next, you become incapacitated, a will, as I said before, doesn't help you on any level. It only says where your assets are to go upon your death. A living revocable trust that has an incapacity clause in it. So, in Sharon's case here, if she needs to sell the house, if she needs to do something now, her husband can no longer sign the title because they own the house in joint tenancy with right of survivorship. So, therefore it takes two signatures to sell the house and if one of you is incapacitated, you can't sell it. Therefore, what do you have to do then? At that point, oh you have to go back down to probate court, get a conservatorship assigned for your spouse. That will cost you $5,000 in the state of California. And then from that point on your spouse obviously is declared incompetent has a conservatorship and you now can sign. But once a year you have to go back to court and verify that what you've done with his half of the assets or her half of the assets are legitimate. So now you have just entered a whole other chaotic process, with a living revocable trust that has an incapacity clause in it, now, if Sharon has that she can sign for her husband. Her husband could sign for her or let's say something did happen to both of them, then their son could sign for them. It just depends who you name to have the ability to do so. And it's done, just that simple everybody. So, it's really, really important that you at least have a will and a living revocable trust. Why do you need a will and a living revocable trust? Because for those assets that don't have a title, maybe artwork or maybe your jewelry or maybe your clothes or maybe your precious items in the house or, you know, the dishes that you want, your kids to have that were so precious to you or whatever it may be, that's governed by the will. So, who's going to get that stuff that's dictated by the will. Also, a will is where you actually appoint the guardian for your minor children. So that happens in a will as well. So, a will is important. But it is not the only document you need. And most of you, that's all you have. The other must have documents are an Advanced Directive and a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. And again, in advance of you getting sick, you have to give a directive to your doctors as to what you want to see happen. Do you go on life support to you not, are you resuscitated? Are you not? That is really important. And you also have to name who is going to make the decision for you? The durable power of attorney for healthcare. Who makes decisions for you to maybe take you off life support, keep you on life support. That is important. The other document, KT wants to say something here. I just want to remind everyone when Suze had her emergency surgery, we brought her into the hospital. The first thing she has to do is show her driver's license. And the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. And if you didn't have it, they would usually provide or try to get one for you. But when you're in an emergency and you have that right there in your hand, boom. She was already assigned to her room. But nothing, nothing happens when you check in until you can have that document. And what's interesting, let's say I wasn't able to sign one. Let's say I had been unconscious like Sharon's husband. If she didn't have that, he wouldn't be able to sign it. Now, who makes those decisions? Now, we have a serious mess. Now in the email, you heard Sharon actually referred to it as a living will. Many people also refer to a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare as a living will. But a Living Will is very different than a will. Just so, you know, the next is a Financial Power of Attorney so that it's really important that you know that there are people who can sign for you in terms of money and things like that. So, Sharon has that as well. Now those documents, those four must have documents are so easy to do. And years ago, I wrote a book called “You've Earned it, Don't Lose it”. That was back in 1995, KT. And in this book, I tell everybody you need these documents and I give examples of why and things that could go wrong. The problem was back then there wasn't the technology for you to be able to do these documents on line. So, if you needed to do these documents, you would have to find a lawyer. It would cost you even way back then $2,500 at least for these four must have documents and you really had no idea where these documents good, were they bad, does the lawyer know what they're doing? You don't know for sure. And so, there was no way I could help you back then. Other than just say you need to get this done. As the years went on, starting in about 1998, the year 2000 I created that must have documents that you could do on line and over the 20 years now that we've been doing, these must have documents. They have evolved, they are now mobile friendly, they've been updated. They're just fabulous. I have to tell you. And what's interesting about them is that we decided way back when to always make these documents number one affordable for everybody, everybody and number two make it so that just one of you had to purchase them. Because if you purchase them then you could share them with your family members so that, if you bought this and then you have elderly parents, you could share the activation code with mom and with dad and with your brother and your sister and family members like that and it's under $100. How much is it? It's $100. Well, the truth is if you go to my website suzeorman.com, you will see that they're selling there for $199. But for the podcast, KT for you, if you just go to suzeorman.com/offer. You can get them for $69. Now, I just want to say something else about this. Do you want to say something first? No. Do we have that information on the women and money app? Yeah, I'm sure you can go and click. You can find everything about our podcast on that app. That's where I always go. But that's, you can also link directly to that must have documents on there. But what's fabulous about this is over the years, millions and millions and millions of people have purchased the must have documents. And every time we update them, we went from four GIS and all, I mean it's all over 20 years of a lot of evolution there. You get updates for free. So, you never have to buy it again. Set it and forget it kind of deal. Here's the bottom line, everybody. Suze just wants to protect all of you and that's her goal. And that's why she made it share where, I mean, people look at her and say, but Suze, you don't have to do that. Everyone can afford it, all by their own. She said no, no, no, I want family members and she has a little plan. We all know with aging parents how difficult it is to have that conversation. Mom and dad, do you have these things in place. It's a tough conversation. So, Suze's designed it. So, a son or daughter in their forties or fifties could easily buy this for themselves and say, hey, we just did this to protect our family. Mom and dad, do you have this? And of course, they say no, they know they don't. And it's a great way to bring this into the whole family and get it in place. So, one more thing, which is, what KT just said to you about going to your parents and doing this. We get that we did. That we did that actually first with my mom, I have, there's six siblings in my family and Suze, I said, Suze, let's get my mom's house in order. And we did it. And actually, while we did it, Suze went through all her finances and found all kinds of money. She didn't even know she had. But we did this. And my mom felt so great. It gave her a great sense of relief because it wasn't like we were saying listen you're going to die soon, we better get it in order. We didn't do it that way. We said listen we want to help do this, you don't have to think about it anymore. And she was so grateful and so happy that Suze Orman herself sat at her little dining table and wrote it all out with her and went online and they did it like two hours. And then when mama died, her mama died, I went to the bank and two weeks later, not even two weeks, not even. All the family came together, I think we told this story before and we had a really big luncheon in honor my mom with all my siblings and their wives and at that lunch and we distributed a check. This was only a few days after her funeral, we distributed a check to everybody. It wasn't that much, but it was something and it was all equal. My mom wanted to be like, fair with everyone. I think it was $15,000 each. Yeah, something like that. Did you take one or no? No, I didn't take mine. I just, I think I paid for the lunch and everything else in the funeral services with mine. But that's okay. Now, KT, I know you wanted to talk about other what ifs? Well, that's because we're back on the island. But we'll wait, we will share that a little bit later. But this week in paradise. But this was a good this was a good podcast, KT. Well, I think that it was Sharon's letter. Sharon, thank you so much for sharing this. And allowing us, Suze did ask permission because it was a personal letter. Sharon gave permission. There was no questions here, Sharon just wanted to thank Suze and we thank you Sharon. But for all of you listening, please go and do this. It's important. Well, let me tell you why it's important. When I emailed Sharon and she emailed back, she said, essentially, I'm paraphrasing here that if my experience could help others, then please share it. So, in honor of Sharon, in honor of her husband, but mostly in honor of yourself. I'm asking you to get and do the must have documents today. So, until Thursday with Ask Suze and KT anything. Please stay safe everybody, stay protected. And do that. What you have to do today to protect your tomorrow's, okay? Love you everybody. Bye, bye.
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