About Pilar Perez-Wagoner

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So far Pilar Perez-Wagoner has created 53 blog entries.

Escrituras de Beneficiario


La razón principal para tener un fideicomiso revocable es evitar la corte de sucesión. Pero, ¿sabía que muchas, en realidad “la mayoría” de las personas realmente no necesitan un fideicomiso revocable si su situación familiar es relativamente simple y hacen buen uso de los “mecanismos de transferencia no testamentarios”? Un mecanismo de transferencia no testamentario es simplemente una forma de cambiar el título de una propiedad sin obtener una orden del tribunal de sucesiones. Un ejemplo simple es usar una designación de “Indemnizable por Fallecimiento” en su cuenta corriente. Si ha incluido a alguien en la cuenta corriente como beneficiario de “Pagar en caso de fallecimiento” (también conocido como “POD”), entonces el banco le entregará automáticamente el dinero en esa cuenta a su beneficiario de POD una vez que esa persona presente su certificado de defunción al banco. Es super simple: no hay necesidad de abogados o tribunales.

Una gran herramienta para transferir bienes raíces que es igual de simple se conoce como una “Escritura de Beneficiario”. Una Escritura de Beneficiario es esencialmente como una designación POD en una cuenta bancaria, con la excepción de que es para bienes raíces. Es un poco más complicado porque querrá que un abogado prepare […]

By | April 16th, 2019|0 Comments

Beneficiary Deeds

By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President

The main reason to have a revocable trust is to avoid probate.  But, did you know that many, actually probably “most”, people don’t really need a revocable trust if their family situation is relatively simple and they make good use of “non-probate transfer mechanisms.”

A non-probate transfer mechanism is simply a way to change the title on a piece of property without getting an order of the probate court.  A simple example is using a “Payable on Death” designation on your checking account.  If you have listed someone as a “Payable on Death” (aka “POD”) beneficiary on your checking account, then the bank will automatically give the money in that account to your POD beneficiary once that person presents your death certificate to the bank.

It is super simple – no need for lawyers or courts.  A great tool for transferring real estate that is just as simple is known as a “Beneficiary Deed.”  A Beneficiary Deed is essentially just like a POD designation on a bank account, with the exception that it is for real estate.  It is a little more complicated because you’ll want an attorney to draft that Beneficiary Deed for you, and […]

By | April 16th, 2019|0 Comments

Divorce and Estate Planning

We’d all like to think that once you have made a will and possibly done some other estate planning, that you’ll never have to worry about doing it again.  If an estate plan is done right AND you have no major life changes, that may very well be true.  I recently had a couple come see me who had done wills back in 1981.  They had them updated (amended via adding codicils) back in 1997.  And, for the most part, the wills were still pretty applicable today.  So, 1981 to 2018, with a minor updating in 1997 – I told them that they pretty much got their money’s worth out of those wills.  However, their life was pretty stable – they remained married that entire time and their children were already born when the wills were first drafted.  So, that was a relatively stable 37 years of their life.  Ironically, it wasn’t a change in their own marriage that led them to get a new set of wills done in 2018 – it was a situation in one of their children’s marriage that necessitated the new wills.  In this case, they were concerned about […]

By | January 11th, 2019|0 Comments

It’s the Holidays – Time for a Serious Discussion with your Loved Ones

By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President

I absolutely love the holidays.  It is a wonderful time for me mainly because I get to spend time with family that I rarely see throughout the remainder of the year.  So, it’s a great time to catch up on their lives and listen to their joys and concerns about their life.  It’s also a great time to discuss some issues that are difficult to discuss, but may make a difficult time in the future a little easier.  Now, you don’t need to be in your golden years to have this discussion.  This advice applies to “twenty-somethings” just as much (maybe more in some ways) as it does with great-grandmas.  Last month, my blog was about the heart-breaking story that was shared by another attorney of when his family was in an horrific traffic accident that claimed the lives of both of his parents and an infant sibling.  He and his toddler aged sister survived.  His young parents had not done any sort of estate plan, and as a result, the two young surviving children became wards of the court for placement among family members.  Don’t let that happen to […]

By | December 7th, 2018|0 Comments

What Happens When the Unthinkable Happens?

By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President

I attended a continuing legal education seminar a couple of weeks ago.  There were some very good speakers and some very good topics, but one speaker really caught my attention.  It wasn’t because he was a particularly good speaker or that he had great information for us.  It was because he shared a very personal story about heartbreak and turmoil in his own life.

 When he was a child, his family was in an horrific automobile accident.  It killed his mother, father and one of his siblings.  He was very young at the time, about 5 years old.  His younger sister, about 3 at the time, also survived the accident.  Unfortunately, his parents did not have an estate plan of any kind.  Luckily, well sort of, he had family on both his mother’s and father’s sides of the family that could care for him and his sister.  The problem was that the family could not agree on who would be the best to take care of the 2 surviving children.  So, a court case was opened to allow a judge to make that decision.

The judge temporarily placed […]

By | November 8th, 2018|0 Comments

Do I Really Need a Trust?

By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President

Many times, I have clients show up for an initial consultation with the mindset that “I need a trust.”  They are absolutely dead-set that they must have a trust of some sort.  When I ask why they believe they need a trust, sometimes I get a very well-thought-out response and the client is correct – they DO need a trust.

However, more often than not, the client believes he or she needs a trust because somebody else has told them that they need a trust.  Upon digging further, it is generally because either that other person has a trust or because someone in that other person’s family passed away and had a trust.  Now, trusts are wonderful things – they can be used to do many things that a simple will cannot.  And they are great for avoid probate.  But I rarely recommend them.

Why don’t I recommend them often?  Well, first off, I believe in the KISS principle – simple over complex any day in my book.  I like to figure out what the simplest method is to accomplish a given goal, and oftentimes that means we can use a simple will along with some […]

By | October 25th, 2018|0 Comments

Estate planning is so NOT Important-and that’s why it is SO Important

By Doug Sisson, Probate and Bankruptcy Paralegal

At W M Law, we specialize in Estate Planning and probate. We breathe wills, trusts, affidavits, petitions so on and so forth.  We enjoy the fulfillment that our work brings us…But let’s stop for a second and inject a little honesty and perspective to the estate planning process.

Estate Planning: What IS Important vs. What IS NOT

Compared to life and death, love and grief – estate and financial planning seem pretty frivolous, and in the grand scheme of things – not that important. Here are a few examples:

  • Nurturing family relationships, grief, emotions and protecting family assets VS. Choosing who gets dad’s classic car, or mom’s jewelry set, or the family coin collection.
  • Recognizing the importance of keeping the family home, remembering the blood, sweat and tears put into paying off the home, and the importance of the memories created at the home Losing your home to qualify for Medicaid.
  • Admitting the relevance of decades of work spent building funds to secure a strong retirement Maximizing the tax and asset protections for inherited property.

Estate Planning – Allows loved ones to Focus on What Matters Most

Estate planning tools – powers of attorney, medical directives, wills and […]

By | October 3rd, 2018|0 Comments

¿Por qué los niños universitarios necesitan un poder notarial vigente?

Ana Ballesteros, W M Law Paralegal

En las próximas semanas, los padres con hijos universitarios van de un lado a otro preparando y haciendo todas las compras que los hijos necesitan para llevarse a la universidad: ropas, artículos para los dormitorios, libros.  También intentamos enseñarlos esas lecciones de último minuto. Pero, hay algo que usted también debe añadir a su lista de cosas que hacer: poner en marcha un poder notarial.

¿Por qué un niño con destino a la Universidad necesita un poder notarial? En primer lugar, estos estudiantes universitarios tienen ahora 18 años de edad o más y legalmente nosotros, los padres, puede que no podamos protegerlos rápidamente en momentos cruciales si no planeamos con antelación.  Cuando eran niños y pasaba algo, íbamos a rescatarlos y legalmente podíamos hacerlo porque éramos sus guardianes. Una vez que el niño cumple 18 años, los padres ni siquiera pueden acceder a sus calificaciones universitarias o registros de salud sin el permiso del niño adulto.

Los padres no quieren nunca pensar en lo  “impensable”, pero ¿qué pasa si su hijo está en un accidente, o experimenta una condición médica mientras está ausente y es incapaz de tomar decisiones o hablar por sí mismo? ¿Quién comunicará sus […]

By | August 22nd, 2018|0 Comments

Why Do College-Bound Kids Need a Power-of-Attorney in Place?

By Ana Ballesteros, W M Law Paralegal

As parents race around the next few weeks to buy their college-bound children dorm items, clothing, supplies and teach them last-minute life lessons, there is one more item they should add to their to-do list:  put in place a power of attorney.

Why would a college-bound child need a power of attorney? First of all, these college-bound students are now 18 years of age or older and legally we parents may not be able to protect them quickly in dire moments if we do not plan ahead.  When they were kids and something would happen, we would come to their rescue and were legally able to do so because we were their guardians. Once that child turns 18, parents cannot even access their college grades or health records without permission from the adult child.

Parents do not want their minds to wander to the “unthinkable” but what if their child is in an accident, or experiences a medical condition while away and is unable to make decisions or speak for themselves? Who will communicate their wishes? What if decisions need to be made quickly?  These situations do occur and in some cases require drawn-out legal procedures.

So, […]

By | August 10th, 2018|0 Comments

Estate Planning vs. Elder Law

By Doug Sisson, W M Law Probate and Bankruptcy Paralegal

Many clients and even attorneys are perplexed by the differences between estate planning and elder law.  Not all estate planning requires elder law, and elder law does not always require estate planning.  So, what’s the difference?

Estate PlanningWhat happens if I die?

An estate plan determines who, when, and how assets are divided upon your passing.  This is assuming you have assets left to distribute at the end of life. Any myriad of events could happen to you or loved ones between the creation of an estate plan and one’s passing – personal injury, mental incapacitation, inheriting other assets, becoming permanently disabled etc. etc.

Elder Law – focuses on the opposite, what happens if I live?  

The best estate plan in the world can’t protect against all the “what-ifs” that happen while you are still alive.  Elder law helps you stay in control as you age which entails everything from your healthcare decisions, to how you pay for a care, preservation of money now, income and assets, and what can be used for your benefit and care while you’re still alive.

So which do I need?  It really boils down to: is your […]

By | July 9th, 2018|0 Comments