Tom Martino: I mean that’s true. Now, I want to talk to Blake Harris, attorney at law with milehighestateplanning.com for a very simple question, Blake. I’ll bring up our consumer, Kevin. But let me sum it up. Kevin, you’re there. Your father-in-law passed away in June. You’re helping your wife, two life insurance policies, $2,000 each. I know that’s hard to believe Blake, but that’s what they have. So, the insurance companies owe them a whopping four grand. But the insurance company says you must file a probate, but they didn’t file a probate. Kevin and his wife, for the in-laws, her parents, they just simply did a small estate affidavit because there was nothing really there, but now they’re telling him he must go full probate. Blake, does that sound right?
Blake: So it’s a common thing that happens where if you have an estate under $64,000 you should be allowed to use the small estate affidavit. If the banks give a push back or a financial institution is giving a pushback, the first thing that I tell you, that I tell clients is have an attorney just write a letter and explain the law to the financial institution saying that if you do not honor the small estate affidavit, we will turn to probate, but then we will hold your financial institution liable for the cost of probate. If that doesn’t work, then you have to go to probate and you can sue them and have them pay back the cost of fees. I don’t know if it’s really worthwhile to-
Tom Martino: Why did they say automatically, why do they say automatically you have to go to probate? I was always told with insurance of any kind, insurance is outside of the estate and probate. I thought if you had a beneficiary designated it simply goes to-
Blake: well that, that is correct. Was there a beneficiary? Oh, I was assuming there wasn’t any beneficiary-
Tom Martino: I don’t know either, Blake, I don’t know either.
Blake: Was there a beneficiary list on these accounts, Kevin?
Kevin: No, this was a longterm health, it was a long term- one was a long term, one was a short term of health care for being in the hospital.
Tom Martino: So wait a minute, when you say add a $2,000 face value, that would last one week in longterm care. So I don’t think that’s what you mean. I think you’re saying that was the cash value.
Kevin: The payout was, it was a hundred, it was $200 a day for 10 days that you’re in the hospital. He was in the hospital for one month. So the first policy paid $200 a day for 10 days. The second policy paid $200 a day for 10 days plus the ambulance rider that they put on it when they-
Tom Martino: Wait, wait a minute. So they’ve already been paid?
Kevin: No, we paid, I paid out of pocket.
Tom Martino: You just said the insurance paid.
Kevin: No, no, no, the insurance did not pay. They send us checks to the estate of my father-in-law and we said, well, here’s your small estate affidavit that we’ve sent in. And then they sent new checks back under the wrong name. So we sent those back to them and now they’re saying, well, you need to probate it. I said, well, why couldn’t you have told me this [crosstalk 00:05:54]
Tom Martino: Hold on. So this is not a beneficiary policy. This is a-
Kevin: No, it is not.
Tom Martino: Okay, these are two policies for care and they exhausted both of them, but the checks to reimburse the estate came in the wrong name or came in the name of the guy, the deceased. By the way, correct me if I’m wrong, Blake, originally when those checks came in the name of the estate, couldn’t they have just cashed them or put them in the account or something?
Blake: You could’ve gone to, you could have just cashed them and put them in accounts withdrawn from the account and gotten away with that. Right.
Tom Martino: You already had done the small affidavit small estate, you were already, or the daughter was already power of attorney. In other words, you poked the giant, you should’ve just left it alone and taken the checks the way they were. But right now it’s too late for that.
Kevin: Well, the problem is Tom, the bank would not deposit the check.
Tom Martino: That’s because banks are morons. You know what’s amazing to me, Blake? How many times do banks encounter dead people, dead customers, and they still get it wrong.
Blake: Banks get it wrong all the time. All the time. You got [crosstalk 00:07:08] Banks screw these things up [inaudible] up all the time. And I’ve had it resolved where we send one letter to the bank and explain to them what small estate affidavit is and then they release the funds.
Tom Martino: So where is it right now, Kevin? Where is it right now? Do you have checks?
Kevin: We have checks
Tom Martino: In what name? In what name?
Kevin: Written to the estate of my father-in-law.
Tom Martino: Well, that’s all you need.
Kevin: But see, here’s the problem, Tom. The bank will not let my mother-in-law deposit them.
Tom Martino: Well, then you’re doing, wait, the mother-in-law is still alive.
Kevin: Yeah. Oh yeah she’s still alive.
Tom Martino: And wait a minute. And they won’t let her deposit something that says to the estate of so-and-so?
Kevin: Even though they had a joint checking account prior to him passing away.
Tom Martino: Oh God, they are so stupid. What bank is this?
Kevin: It’s a credit union out in Iowa.
Tom Martino: Well, there you go. There you go. Right there. It’s a credit union in Iowa. So [crosstalk 00:08:09]
Blake: You can go by a different branch and you might get a different result.
Tom Martino: It should not surprise you because out in Iowa they probably do things differently.
Kevin: But they lived in Colorado with us. The insurance company that I’ve been dealing with no one said anything until today that we needed to probate it. All they said was, you need a small affidavit, a small estate affidavit, which I learned from your show by the way, and I did everything I was supposed to do, and now they’re saying, well, no, you got to probate.
Tom Martino: All right. Listen, let’s just,
Kevin: You were right with what you did, give me a call. I will write, I can write a letter to you
Tom Martino: Yeah. Why don’t you just, let’s do that, milehighestateplanning.com. Give your number out, Blake.
Blake: (720) 924-6171
Tom Martino: And he’s extremely reasonable. Yeah, just, listen just call him. All right, let’s get this thing done and then report back on what was done because I get sick and tired of people being chewed up, spit out all of that.
Blake: And it goes all the time to the banks.
Tom Martino: Thank you very much. Blake Harris, milehighestateplanning.com. (303) 713-talk. We have more coming up. You can get your calls in right now. Frank Duran, therealestateman.com. This is a market where you need the best of the best. Even if it’s hot, you need to know what, when to take it off the market for an offer, when an offer is going to be right, how to stage your home to get the most, how to list it for the most, not just the highest price, but to ultimately get the most, Frank Duran knows all of that. He’s proven it time and time again. (303) 920-1622.