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Ask Jonathan Anything: Part 4
Episode 184th March 2024 • Best of Johnston County • Jonathan Breeden
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In this episode of The Best of Johnston County Podcast, we're diving deep into the world of estate planning, probate, and living trusts. Join me as I answer your burning questions about these important topics. Whether you're a first-time homeowner or a seasoned investor, understanding how to protect your assets and ensure a smooth transfer of wealth is crucial. Tune in to gain valuable insights from experts in the field and get the answers you've been seeking. 

Don't miss this opportunity to learn how to secure your future and leave a lasting legacy for your loved ones. Listen now on Apple Podcasts and Spotify!


Raena: [:

Jonathan Breeden: Probate is when you have died and you have a will or don't have a will,

and the courts are tasked with dividing up what you had,

either via your will, how you wanted it done in the will, And if you don't have a will, that means you died intestate without a will.

And there are statutes that say what happens to your property if you die without a will. And for all of you that are married with children, it doesn't all go to your spouse. You know, keep that in mind that ultimately the first line of Intestacy is the spouse gets half and the kids get half.

and it's complicated Once again going to a lot more than that,

but get a will if you don't have one

you know, make sure it's clear is what you want to happen

ith a deep connection to the [:

Jonathan Breeden: Hello and welcome to another edition of the Best of Johnston County podcast. I'm your host, Jonathan Breeden. And today we're going to do a segment. We call Ask Jonathan Breeden Anything.

Our normal format is where I, Jonathan Breeden interview, interesting guests, community leaders, politicians and stuff throughout Johnston County and other business leaders in Johnston County and bring you their stories and why they love Johnston County.

And every once in a while, we do one of these episodes. Episodes where we just sort of ask me anything. And these questions often revolve around family law, which we do estate planning and stuff like that. So this is gonna be one of those episodes called Ask Jonathan Breeden Anything.

We have our social media [:


Raena: you. All right. Are we ready to get going?

Jonathan Breeden: I'm ready.

Raena: Okay. First question. What is estate planning?

Jonathan Breeden: A estate planning. I think a lot of people think of it is just their will, but it's so much more than a will. And there's so many complexities to it that I think a lot of people don't understand. So when I hear the word estate planning, I'm thinking of the total thing you need while you're alive and while you are dead.

So when I'm thinking of doing estate planning and we do estate planning here at the Breeden Law Office, we're looking at definitely a will which most everybody needs.

lthcare power of attorney, a [:

So we try to do all of that and I don't think everybody thinks about that when they think about a state planning. I think people are thinking, okay, I need a will and they're often not thinking about these other documents that we call the living documents because they're documents that the one of the once we talk about as a healthcare power of attorney.

This allows you to appoint somebody to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so because you are in a coma, you're unconscious, you're just not in your right mind.

to say it and you're saying, [:

And you also keep one at your house and that your family members know where it is because you never know when you're going to need to use it. A healthcare private attorney allows somebody to consent to medical treatment on your behalf, can consent to you having a limb removed if that needed to be what happened.

It also allows them to especially with older people who are not good with paperwork and stuff, it allows you to sign them in and out of the hospital and bind the patient to pay the bill. It also gives the hospital and the doctor some protection that you cannot sue them based on the decision, the healthcare power of attorney made, if you come back to life, you heal and think, well, I don't like that decision.

Now, they're still,

in the act, but like, if you [:

So there's a durable power of attorney which allows somebody to be you financially if you were unable to do that. that can kick in when two medical professionals say that you're unable to make your own decisions, because you, whether it be dementia, or Alzheimer's, which I'm terrible at saying that word.

and you need somebody to do [:

And so if that happens, if you have a durable private attorney, which you can only do any of these documents when you are competent and we could do two podcasts on whether you're competent or not. Okay.

But you have to be competent to grant any of these will power of attorney or whatever, so you do these in advance. So if something were to happen and you would be unable to make decisions for yourself, your healthcare decisions is one thing, your financial decision another.

A durable power of attorney could sell your house, could buy and sell stocks, whatever they could do that's got to be in the best interest of you. There's a fiduciary duty there, they can't steal the money. All that stuff they have to do. Right, Right. And unfortunately you do this long enough and I've seen a little bit of everything, but they're not supposed to.

e by artificial hydration or [:

You're artificially being kept alive by a breath machine, you're in a vegetative state. Right. You want them to discontinue extraordinary means and let you go ahead and pass away. And a living will does not come into effect or where it's really needed in all that many deaths because there's not, it's not often that people are essentially brain dead. You know what I mean?

of time and when it is your [:

That's not a living will because in that scenario you still have your faculties almost always. You're often, you can be having a conversation, you can be sleeping a lot, you could, you know, maybe have a heart attack you know, at some point, particularly when you're right, you're aware of what's happening, you know, so you're not in a vegetative state, you're not being kept alive by artificial means. Now, if you do not have a and DNRs are do not resuscitate things, they're separate, they're not the living will.

's not what it does. And so, [:

The living will, if you know, and so where you see a living will come in is if somebody has been in a bad car accident and they're in a vegetative state or they've coded, they've had a heart attack and they've sort of been brought back but they lost enough oxygen to where they don't have a lot of brain function, that's when you see most of the living will type situations come in.

But you should have one, even though it doesn't come in effect in the vast majority of deaths in the ones that do. It's very important because that is telling the doctors what your wishes are and that is you speaking to them, even though you're not able to speak to them, and I think that's important. So I think everybody should have a healthcare power of attorney, a durable power of attorney, and a living will, which are these living documents along with a will.

y of any age should probably [:

Jonathan Breeden: Correct. And, one that we do a lot of and for parents out there that are listening to this podcast, when your child goes to college as an adult. They are adult, yeah, they're your child and you're paying for them to go to college, but you have no access to their medical records. You have no access to their educational records either. You know, My parents used to say, well, I pay the bill, we're going to see your GPA, but they did not have the right to access and they don't have the right to make health care decisions for you.

So every August we do a few normally health care by our attorneys for young men and women who are going off to college so that their parents can make healthcare decisions for them if they were to have an accident or get information from daughter's offices or medical providers, because they could be a long way away. You know, And they want to be able to call and talk to the doctors and the nurses. And if they have that health care provider attorney, they're able to do that.

questions? Need guidance to [:

Raena: All right, next one. What does my estate include?

Jonathan Breeden: Your estate includes, I guess the easiest way to say it is pretty much everything you own. When you die if we're talking about in an estate planning situation, like you have a estate while you're alive to whatever you've amassed

Raena: But if you see a house It's no longer part of your estate

Jonathan Breeden: Right.

eying real property, houses, [:

They also are good for sort of disposing of everything that you might have that you don't know that you own sort of as a catch all phrase, sort of these intangibles that are out there. What wills do not include unless you specifically make them include it by making beneficiary is IRA's, 401k's and life insurance and most bank accounts.

have their own beneficiaries [:

If you would like those assets to go into the will and be distributed as the will says, you need to name your estate as the beneficiary of those policies. Because if not, those policies are going to pay out outside the will, which is fine too. It's often cheaper and easier and can avoid some of the probate fees to do it that way.

But if you think that there's a chance that a child may collect one of these policies, it is very crucial. Speaking of minor children, I believe to make the beneficiary your estate so that it will pay into the will and the will will dictate. when and how the child gets it and names a trustee for the child to manage these assets that the child may get.

and they want to hold it for [:

So you have to keep that in mind and I know it gets a long winded and confusing and I'm trying to do lawyer talk here. I'm trying to be, but that's the thing. So your estate kind of is what you have, but as far as what the will is, does automatically. If you have a will, just keep in mind the 401k, the IRA, the stock accounts, they're outside the will and you need to look at those beneficiaries.

And if you've not looked at your beneficiaries in a long time, you should look at those every five years is what I tell people because things change. Have you gotten divorced just because you got divorced? does not mean that the beneficiary of the life insurance changed. If you don't change it and you die 20 years later, the first spouse is going to get the life insurance.

ught a life insurance policy [:

So it was my wife and then it was my niece and then after I had kids, I changed it to my wife and then to my estate so that if something were to happen to both of us, this money from this life insurance policy, we'd go in the will. The will says what's going to happen, it says when the children get it, they get it at 25 I think is what I wrote.

Because if not, if you don't do this, the children get whatever becomes theirs at 18. On their 18th birthday, they can go to the clerk of court who has held this money for them because that's where it gets paid into and the clerk will write them a check. And I have seen where a 18 year old being handed a million dollars goes extremely badly. So please be thinking about these things.

k Siri to make a reminder to [:

Raena: Yep. Exactly. All right. Next question. What is probate?

Jonathan Breeden: Probate is when you have died and you have a will or don't have a will and the courts are tasked with dividing up what you had either via your will, how you wanted it done in the will, And if you don't have a will, that means you died intestate without a will. And there are statutes that say what happens to your property if you die without a will.

ot more than that, but get a [:

And then, if somebody dies whether they have a will or don't have a will, if all of their stuff is not going to trust that's a whole another debate than a somebody goes to the courthouse, you go to the clerk of court in your county and you open up an estate you know, and that's when it starts to go into probate and they want to see if there's a will, if there's not a will, they got to figure out what to do with what there is.

The clerk will appoint a personal representative slash executor. It could be the person in the will if you don't have a will, they'll pick somebody to do that and that person's supposed to amass everything and figure out what there is and who's owed what. I mean, kind of, you know, what are the debts and what are the assets? And they go through that process.

Raena: Yeah, I know. And in my experience, I know like, obviously with my ex. He, I'm his even though he's my ex and whatnot, I'm still his beneficiary because should he pre-decease me, like, still I'm gonna be raising the kids by myself at that point. Correct

d that, you know, either way [:

Jonathan Breeden: Right. right, right. We got time for one more here.

Raena: All right. One more. What is a living trust?

Jonathan Breeden: A living trust is where you put your assets while you're alive into a trust and the trust then becomes the owner of the assets and you're alive and depending on which kind of trust you create, you can take assets in and out of it.

And then when you die, you can avoid probate largely because the trust survives, and the assets in the trust survive. So the trust doesn't die, you die and so then the trust continues on and you can put your house in it, your cars, you put all kinds of stuff in it. And that way you then don't have to either go through probate or the probate process is fairly simple because the trust continues on.

There's a trustee to say [:

They're not going to be able to manage this themselves later on. So, living trust are a tremendous asset and you can set them up where you have complete control and you can take stuff in and out, or you can set them up where you have very little control. And the trust is its own sort of thing.

You would need to talk to a state planning attorney about what would be best and whether a living trust or probate or whatever, I mean, a will or better for you. And they probably can help you out with that. But some people have found living trust to be extremely helpful.

Raena: End up. Alright!

re we talked about wills and [:

If you've enjoyed this podcast, if you would do us the favor of liking or following or subscribing to this podcast, where you're watching it, whether it be on YouTube, Spotify, Apple podcast, or off of our website, that would be great.

So you'll be aware of future episodes of The Best of Johnston County podcast. They come out every monday and we've got great guests, they've already been on. If you've not heard Adrian O'Neal, the parks and rec director for Johnston County, or Patrick Harris, one of the Johnston County commissioners, please go back and listen to some of the previous episodes.

I think you will find them enlightening, entertaining and educational and keep following us here. We're going to have a lot of great guests coming on over the next few months. And I think you'll learn a lot and you'll learn as much as I've, learned a ton about what is so great about Johnston County.

And that's why we're doing this. Thanks a lot.

rought to you by the trusted [:

If the legal aspects highlighted raised some questions, help is just around the corner at www. breedenfirm. com.





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