Day 162, Documents, FOPAL, realty

Monday, 5/13/2019

Watered the plants, then went for a run. On return I opened the big envelope of documents from the Lawyer, and brought the

fireproof box

out to the table.

The fireproof box was a purchase of a decade ago, when we were separating ourselves from Wells Fargo. This was actually before Wells Fargo got in so much public scandal; they just did a few things that annoyed us, and we moved our money to SFCU. That has worked out very well, the local Credit Union gives excellent service, and their web interface is very usable. But besides our money account at WFB we also had a safety deposit box. What to do with the birth certificates, car pink slips, etc. from there?

Turns out, you can buy a heavy box that will resist a house fire for 40 minutes or more. It probably couldn’t survive the kind of ashes-to-the-foundation fire we’ve seen in the major California wildfires, but it could stand up a typical single house fire where the fire department can give it its full attention. (It should certainly survive any kind of fire that might start at CH, a cement building with sprinklers.) We got one and gave up the WFB box.

The main tenant in the box is the Brown Binder, the binder of estate documents: the Trust, the Living Will, Power of Attorney, Burial instructions — basically, everything my successor Trustee needs to take care of me if I’m completely incapacitated, or to wind things up after I’m dead. Previously, these were all about Marian and me as a couple, with each of us naming the other as heir, conservator, etc. Now they have all been redone simpler to handle just my affairs as Survivor Trustee.

I went through the Brown Binder and replaced all the old docs with new ones. There were a couple of informal docs I write. One is the Document Locator, which explains all the others as well as listing things like credit cards and bank accounts and so on — key facts the Successor Trustee needs. Another is my Digital Directive, listing all the online accounts and passwords to be shut down. Both were much out of date and I spent an hour editing them and printing them and putting them in the binder.

Finally I went through all the contents of the box, moved a couple of things out; Marian’s birth certificate for example went to the Marian History folder elsewhere. And put it all away with a sense of accomplishment. I also paid the

utility bill

but was brought up short when looking at it, because there was a $36 balance still due, and a $0.70 late fee. What? Simple explanation: the prior bill was for $284, but when entering it in the bill-pay app, I apparently keyed in $248. Hmmph.

Anyway, off for FOPAL, where I spent two hours culling the Computer shelf. Sent books that had been there three or more months to the bargain room; lowered the price on some that had been there two months; moved some sub-sections around. Then went to help with sorting as a flood of donations were coming in the door. I could only do an hour because I got a text from


We were to meet at 4, but he asked if I could come earlier. Sure, no prob. I drove over to his office near California avenue. He had some news from the two showings yesterday but nothing firm yet. The Canadian Lawyer lady has been shopping, it seems, since 2016, and greatly regrets having missed out on some small cottage on Webster street nearby. Chuck knew that house and said mine is much better. Also the C.L.L. had brought her daughter and also a friend who is a decorator. This decorator friend, Chuck says, went on at length about how handsome the house is. She was still verbally pointing out its highlights when the next party arrived at 5:30, and Chuck says he was delighted because “she couldn’t have given a better sales pitch” for that party.

The second party is a single woman, 30-something Chuck estimated, who works at Apple. She came with her realtor and her mother, who is apparently ready to finance, or help finance, a purchase. They also went on at length about how charming the house is.

So the odds seem good that we should get an offer or even two this week.

I also talked to him about the IRS Form 706 that the Lawyer and the Advisors want me to file. The point of it is to preserve half of Marian’s Estate Tax Exemption so I, or more properly my heirs, can use it to shelter more of my estate. The tax accountants have quoted $3500 to prepare this form and I kind of choked on it. But with Chuck we penciled some numbers, trying to forecast what my estate will be if I live another 20 years. Would it be big enough to exceed my own exemption? Yeah, under some assumptions, as much as a third of it could be exposed to Estate Tax, which would represent a considerable tax bite on the final value of the Trust.

Home for a very casual supper (I’m getting pretty lazy about feeding myself) and some TV.

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