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Simple Money Wins Anthony Park

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 18 Ratings

Earn and grow your money more easily. With Anthony Park.

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    How to Get Updated Letters Testamentary

    How to Get Updated Letters Testamentary

    Let’s discuss how, why, and how long it takes to get “fresh” Letters Testamentary in New York. Fresh letters simply means that they are newly dated. Most of the time, probate takes months or even years, and during that time, you may need to get fresh copies of the letters to use.
    Do letters of testamentary expire?
    One question we get is “do the letters of testamentary expire?” Technically, no, they don’t expire. It’s not as if your executorship has ended and you need to renew it. Rather, letters are a certificate proving you are still the executor. For example, if you walk into a bank with your letters that are over a year old and you want to close the account, the bank will very likely accept them. In the last year a lot could have happened – the court could have removed you as the executor, the letters could have been suspended, or there could have been other issues. They want letters that have been issued within the past 30 days (or in some cases 60 days) to prove that yes, you are still the executor, and all is good.
    How to renew letters testamentary
    In the past, getting newly updated letters was relatively easy. You could walk into the court with $6 and they would simply print the letters and you would walk out with them. You could even mail in a request and get them back within a reasonable timeframe. The exception would be if the court is missing items in the probate file, such as affidavits, inventories, etc. It is the court’s leverage to make you fix any issues before they give you fresh letters. This doesn’t mean the letters have been revoked; it’s just the court’s opportunity to get something they need in return for something you need.
    Fresh letters delays in New York in 2023
    Now, getting quick letters are not happening. The court no longer allows you to visit the counter or walk in with your money and request. You have to upload a request for fresh letters online. Sounds easy, right? Here’s the issue – the courts are at least three months behind processing online filings. So, for example, requests uploaded in December are finally being processed in March. This doesn’t account for anything you may need to fix, which will add even more back and forth time.
    If you have something important you need letters for (a real estate closing, for example), then you will need to plan well in advance for this. One option is to order letters right as the property is listed, possibly even before. You do run the risk of actually getting the letters quickly and them being outdated before the closing. In which case, you would need to order them again. You could get around this by ordering them every month or every other month until the closing to be sure that you have them. It may seem wasteful, but unfortunately, not having the letters could delay the closing (which is much more expensive than a few extra copies of letters).
    Probate isn’t a quick process as it is, which is why it’s best to set expectations early in the process. Check out my book, “How Probate Works,” and when you get to the chapter on delays, just add on more time. Unfortunately, that’s the way things are right now.
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    • 8 min
    Top 5 States Looking for Professional Executors

    Top 5 States Looking for Professional Executors

    As we’ve spoken about before, Anthony can be your professional executor, even if you don’t live in New York. We have been seeing many inquires from out of state lately, and these are the top 5 looking for Anthony to be their professional executor. We are located in New York, so we are not including New York inquiries on this list. While this isn’t a scientific study, this is what we are seeing based on our daily calls.
    First on the list, much to our surprise, is Georgia. Maybe because it is retirement friendly, which we have learned that it is. There is low sales tax, no inheritance tax, low income tax, real estate is “more bang for your buck” compared to other states, and it’s warm and super friendly. Although it is retirement friendly, we aren’t seeing that there is a large network of professional executors there. It works out for Anthony, since he spends most summers in Atlanta and is very familiar with Georgia.
    New Jersey
    This is less of a surprise, as it’s right across the river. We’ve found that a lot of New Jersey folks seek out New York professionals, thinking they will get a “city caliber” professional. It doesn’t matter where your executor lives, the fee is set by New Jersey state law. So, whether it’s a professional executor or a non-professional such as your nephew, they will get paid exactly the same. So, you may as well get the most for your money. And for Anthony, he’s in New Jersey often, so this is fairly easy for him.
    Third on our list is Texas, and we don’t really have an explanation for this one. Perhaps, like Georgia, maybe it’s a good place for retirement. Again, while searching online, we are not many professional executors. But why Anthony? The only thing Anthony can think of is that in real life, he tends to get along well with Texans. Maybe the viewers and listeners sense that and want to work with him? After all, a professional executor is someone you will work together with, at least annually, so you should definitely have a good rapport. This state also works for Anthony, because he does travel to Texas often.
    Fourth, and possibly the most surprising is California. It’s far from New York and on paper, it doesn’t seem like a good fit. California even as a fairly robust local professional fiduciary industry. They even have a certification and a trade association for professional executors. But for whatever reason (maybe the requirement of upfront fees by CA executors), clients want Anthony all the way in New York. Believe us, he is happy to serve in California – he loves it there!
    Last, but not least is Florida, and this makes the most sense. It’s a huge retirement state. However, for legal reasons, serving as a professional executor is problematic. Anthony can’t actually not serve as a professional executor in Florida, because he doesn’t live there. Only blood relatives may be out of state executors. But there are ways to deal with this. Anthony can be a nonresident Trustee for a Revocable Living Trust. Trusts are becoming very common in Florida to avoid probate. Clients who want to work with Anthony find this trustee workaround a great option. And again, he has no problem traveling to sunny, warm Florida, which he does often.
    If you want to find out what is required of an executor, I suggest reading Anthony’s book, “How to Hire an Executor.”
    Request your free consultation  

    • 9 min
    Bitcoin Inheritance Needs Layers

    Bitcoin Inheritance Needs Layers

    As you may know, Bitcoin does not have layers like legacy and traditional accounts do, so an inheritance plan needs to be created. We will discuss the drawbacks of constantly seeking and getting stuck on a “perfect” Bitcoin inheritance plan, and a few solutions for approaching the creation of these layers.
    Legacy assets have inheritance layers, bitcoin does not
    Legacy assets (banks and financial institutions) already have several layers or contingencies that you may not even realize. On the testamentary side (deciding who gets what), there may be a will, a trust, beneficiaries on the account, or payable on death designations. If you don’t have any of those, there are still default inheritance state laws called intestacy laws. Basically, even if you do nothing, there is a safety net of who gets what, and there are backup layers. You could name backup heirs, successor executors, etc., but even if you don’t, the intestate laws will dictate inheritance. This is not the case for Bitcoin.
    The other side of inheritance is custody, since so many Bitcoiners self-custody. When you have Bitcoin assets on an exchange, you have a few failsafe layers. This includes password recovery. While you are living, you could contact the institution to gain access. When you pass, your heirs have a third-party custodian that they can turn to for assistance with accessing and liquidating. With self-custody, you don’t have this naturally built in to turn to.
    Worst case, with traditional and legacy accounts, there is the process of unclaimed funds. This is where the assets go to the state after a certain amount of time if they are not accessed. This is in place, so the money doesn’t simply disappear or get lost. Bitcoin does not have anything like this yet.
    Again, Bitcoin self-custody has few to none of these fail safes as of right now.
    “Perfect” bitcoin inheritance solutions
    Anthony has spoken with many Bitcoiners, and he keeps coming across the same problem – people are getting stuck waiting for the “perfect” inheritance solution. The plans, ideas, and visions for are different for each Bitcoiner, based on their level of security and knowledge. But for everyone it is important that you do not wait. While you’re working on your perfect plan, put in a satisfactory solution for the time being. You need a safety net.
    If you worked really hard on your perfect inheritance solution and you believe it will work, great. But what if it doesn’t? There are no layers or fail safes in plan with Bitcoin self-custody. So, it’s up to you to create all of these layers, backups, safety nets, etc., so the funds aren’t lost.
    How to make bitcoin inheritance layers
    Start with a layer that you’re HIGHLY confident will work, even if you don’t love it (for example, it relies on a third party, exposes your KYC, etc.). Once you have that in place then add layers that increase your comfort and increase complexity. But keep in mind, increased complexity may increase the risk of not working.
    Here is one example:
    First is the base layer and one way to do this is to create a poor man’s multisig. If you have a single sig hardware wallet, you can give the seed phrase to your heirs and successor heirs (your wife and children perhaps), store a handwritten copy of your seed phrase in safe deposit box, and give your passphrase to bitcoin-savvy friend or professional bitcoin executor (executor and successor) named in your will. Again, you may not love this for privacy reasons, but you are fairly confident this would work.
    Now, with the base in place as your safety net, you can do whatever you want. You can teach your heirs in hopes they will understand self-custody enough to take custody on their own with a letter of instruction and treat it as a family bitcoin wallet.
    Again, remember you are not creating your perfect plan, you are creating your own safety net until you have your perfect plan.
    Check out my book, “How Probate Works

    • 12 min
    Can You Sell Your Inherited Property?

    Can You Sell Your Inherited Property?

    We get this question quite often – can you sell your inherited property? The answer to this depends on many factors. First, you need to figure out if you can sell an inherited property. Here are a few steps for you to take to answer this, before you can decide if you need a probate lawyer or professional executor.
    Check the deed to confirm you inherit
    First, check the deed to see if the decedent actually owned the property. Some people stay in a home long after another relative has passed or they are long-term renters. It’s actually easy these days to get a copy of deed online. One example is ACRIS here in New York. Most other states and counties are similar.
    One note – it is a bit harder to obtain documents for co-ops (co-ops always worse during the probate process). You would need to call the management company for the information, which is sometimes like pulling teeth. They will need to check their internal records for the owner, and they may not provide you with the information.
    Once you have the deed, you want to clarify the owner. Is it the decedent? Was it in a trust? Is it in some other relative’s name? Let’s say it’s your uncle who passed, but he actually moved into the house after your grandfather passed years before. It could likely still be in your grandfather’s name. That would add a few layers of complexity to ownership. Deeds can also have joint owners, and co-ops can have beneficiaries. If there is a joint owner or beneficiary, and it’s not you, then you don’t own it.
    What happens to a mortgage when house is inherited?
    The next step is to see if there is a mortgage. When someone passes, the mortgage has to be paid off. So, it’s important to find out if there is a mortgage and how much it is. It doesn’t mean the heir is immediately on the hook for the mortgage payments, but it does need to be settled before the house is sold. If the mortgage amount balance is really large or underwater, it will definitely affect how you approach the estate. If the estate is close to or completely insolvent it makes the estate very cash poor, which changes how the estate is administered.
    Checking for a mortgage is similar to checking for a deed. Except for co-ops, mortgage information may be found online, on the statements that come in the mail, tax assessment offices, or on tax returns.
    In addition to searching for mortgages, you also want to look for potential larger debts. If there are tax debts, public assistance or Medicaid debts, second mortgages, etc., these debts must be paid first before anyone can get paid out from the proceeds from the real estate sale.
    Did you inherit tenants, too?
    Lastly, to determine if you can or want to sell the property, you need to figure out if the property is occupied. Did you inherit tenants? Is it vacent? If it’s occupied, it will affect how you approach the estate. For example, if there is another heir living there and won’t leave, that is a whole set of additional problems. If it’s an actual tenant, it’s not as clear cut as one would expect either. More often than not, tenants after the owner pass create problems and lose their moral compass. Evicting or removing tenants is usually a nightmare. It may change your approach to selling the property.
    Check out Anthony’s book, “How Probate Works,” which will break down what is involved with administering a decedent’s estate with property.
    Request your free consultation

    • 6 min
    Estate Planning Dos and Don't Bothers for Solo Agers

    Estate Planning Dos and Don't Bothers for Solo Agers

    Since we do so many probates, we see what parts of your planning actually helped with probate (dos), and which ones didn’t really matter (don't bothers).
    We are reviewing this info so that you don’t spend too much of your valuable time on planning that won’t help all that much. This is based on our annual executor check in calls, in which we hear from our clients who have well intended plans to gather information for us, should we need it. Which in most cases, we don’t. We are trying to save you stress and make the estate planning process a little bit easier.
    Solo ager estate planning “dos”
    Good and proper storage of original documents is important. It’s best to keep the original with your professional executor or other third party. Do not keep it yourself. This is for many reasons, such as access your home or apartment. Additionally, if a third party loses your will, probate could still move forward with a copy. However, if you lose it, it’s presumed that you intentionally destroyed it. Same goes for a safe deposit box – it’s hard to get access to this. It’s not impossible, but it’s very challenging.
    Update your emergency contacts and be sure your executor is among those listed. An emergency contact list should be given to someone who will know of your death. This could be a building manager, doorman, neighbor, primary care physician, etc. You want to make sure they know who to notify in the event of your passing, including of importance, your executor and next of kin.
    You should also review your beneficiary designations. We have talked before about why we don’t like beneficiary designations, but if you have them, make sure up to date. Or better yet, get rid of them. You certainly want to make sure they represent your wishes, and not your wishes 10 or 20 years ago.
    “Don’t bothers” for your solo ager estate plan
    Don’t use treasure maps. We have received detailed letters and emails with where the will is, where their important documents are, and even where their spare keys are. More often than not, the location of these items will change by the time of your passing. It may take us longer to use the treasure map to find them than it would to simply look on our own. Plus, it would be a waste of time searching if they have been moved. It’s not worth the amount of time you’d spend writing this type of “map.”
    We don’t need contact lists. Typically, the lists we’ve seen include building managers, financial advisors, etc. These change often. We find when we make these calls, the people on the list no longer even work there.
    Speaking of lists, detailed lists of assets which include balances and very specific info is also not needed. High level information is good enough (such as the name of financial institution). Balances change daily, so by the time you write it down, it’s likely changed.
    Sort of helpful There are a few things we would categorize as sort of helpful, but you don’t need to spend time on these, if you don’t want.

    Password lists are one example of a sort of helpful thing to do. A list is nice to have, but post-death access to online accounts is not permitted, even if we have your password and log in. We simply can’t use those passwords. Email and social accounts may have some use to be able to access names and addresses, although again, we have rarely used these. Same with phone passwords. We seldom log into a decedent’s phone, and if we do, it’s only to find a contact name that we couldn’t find elsewhere.
    A high level asset list is sort of helpful. It will give us a general sense of what you own to point us in the right direction. We would use this list along with the other items we collect (mail, past tax returns, bank statements, etc.) to be sure we aren’t missing something.
    A list of contacts that are likely to not change is also sort of helpful. This includes next of kin, your primary care doctor, and possibly your CPA. It’s good in

    • 10 min
    How to Probate a Hoarder Estate

    How to Probate a Hoarder Estate

    As you can imagine, probating a hoarder’s estate adds a few more complications. In this episode, we will talk about how to deal with some of the main challenges.
    A hoarder can be defined as someone that likes to keep a lot of things; those that hold on to items with little value. As an executor, we define it as a situation where it’s abnormally difficult to navigate the living quarters. For example, a hallway that isn’t a hallway. Or trouble opening a door, because there are items blocking it.
    How much does it cost to clean a hoarder’s estate?
    On average, to clean out a hoarder’s house, it will cost about two to three times as much as it would cost to clean out a similar living space of the same size. We’ve chatted about the costs for cleaning a “normal” home, which can add up in a typical situation. For example, if you’re cleaning out a hoarder’s one-bedroom apartment, the cost will be the equivalent of a two-to-three-bedroom home. The reality is that you will need more movers, trucks, and dumpsters.
    Another level of additional cost is dependent upon the cleanliness, which you may not know until the stuff is removed. You may be facing possible additional safety/hazmat costs, depending on the severity.
    How to find important items in a hoarder probate
    Another twist when you are dealing with a hording situation in probate, is how to find important items in the home. Even in normal (or conventional, typical) estates, it can be hard to track down important items. For example, executors need to look and find estate planning documents, tax returns, or tangible gifts such as art, jewelry, collectibles. There’s a much higher risk of not finding these items when the home is in this condition.
    In addition, it makes the cleanout process much slower. Typically, we can find the items before it’s cleaned out. But, in a hoarding situation, we have to wait for the movers to clean out walkways to access areas to search. They are helping us gain more elbow room and to be able to navigate the living area. It’s a move items, search for items, move more items, search for more items game. You have to search as they are cleaning, which prolongs the process and adds time and money.
    How to protect a hoarder’s reputation during probate
    Another layer is how to protect the reputation of a hoarder during probate. Most hoarders aren’t proud of their situation, how much stuff they had, how they lived, etc. In this case, more than a few hoarders have explicitly asked us (as their professional executor) to hide the situation from family, friends, and neighbors. We’ve talked previously on how to handle privacy for our clients. We are happy to do this for them.
    We will select our cleanout crew carefully, making sure they have a high level of professionalism and discretion. We’ve seen crews that have someone at the door nudging along nosey neighbors and some that even set up barriers to block the view in the home. In a building setting, even requesting the assistance of the building managers is important, as they are the first line of gossip defense.
    If you want to find out what is required of an executor, I suggest reading my book, “How to Hire an Executor.” A non-professional executor may get overwhelmed by this particular situation. In addition, hiring a professional who will adhere to your request for reputation protection in a hording situation is important.
    Request your free consultation  

    • 7 min

Customer Reviews

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18 Ratings

18 Ratings

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Super Helpful

I really appreciate all of the tips I get from this show! Thank you!!!

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Very practical podcast

Really great podcast and covers all the big topics that every grown up adult should be thinking about. My wife and I need to get a will ASAP!

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Real answers to real life questions

Learned more from one episode than I could have in 10+ hrs of reading a book on the same topic! Love the straightforward and honest style too. Keep ‘em coming!!

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