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REATTORNEY

Are you Prepared?

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Hello Folks,

 

I wrote few lines about Estate Planning and this article will be published in a monthly bulletin.

 

I will just copy and paste it here so you can read it and revise your personal case. Hope it helps you to organize your assets and avoid future issues.

 

Oscar

 

ARE YOU PREPARED?

Most people don´t take one minute to think about the future of their estate in the event that they die or are unable to manage it themselves. Perhaps this is because it forces us to think about death, incapacity, disability or sickness, situations that we don´t have to face but we are not exempt from. The fact is, we are human beings, and death could happen at any time.

If you are one of the it-won’t-happen-to-me types, you must consider an estate planning strategy right now, regardless of your age, health condition, marital status, or the size and complexity of your estate.

An estate plan is a process in which an individual, couple, or family arranges the management and distribution of assets in anticipation of death or incapacity. A well-structured plan not only involves the writing of a will, it also includes a financial, tax, medical, and business plan.

With an estate plan you eliminate uncertainties over the administration and distribution of your assets after your incapacity, disability, or death.

That said, you may now ask, what can I do to organize my assets? Simple, you could have several estate planning solutions but the most recommendable solution is a will or living trust.

The will is one of the most common alternatives with a few inconveniences: court involvement, high legal and appraisal fees, and a time-consuming process. Having at least a will, your wishes can be honored and a judge or your survivors will not be left to wrestle for a piece of the cake (your estate).

The second option, a living trust, doesn´t require court involvement; the trust fees are reasonable; there are no appraisal fees; the process to have the beneficiaries in possession of the assets is quicker and easier than the probate process; it doesn´t require a lot of official certifications and translations to be recognized as beneficiary, as in the probate process ; the assets are managed for your benefit during your lifetime, and the assets are transferred to your beneficiaries upon your death or disability.

I decided to write these few lines because in the last eight months three cases have called my attention, three foreigners who had bought properties in Costa Rica some years ago passed away but did not have an estate plan for their assets in Costa Rica. Now their families are going thru the probate process in a foreign country, in a different language, with a lot of money in legal fees and paperwork, tedious visits to the consulate or fair tickets, etc.. In essence, the “Pura Vida” lifestyle has become a complete nightmare to them.

Edited by REATTORNEY

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ARE YOU PREPARED?

 

Let me add a suggestion . . .

 

Buy yourself a copy of Richard Pedersen's "The Legal Guide to Costa Rica", which will give you an overview of making a will in CR, and other things like rental law as it aplies to the tenant, plus template copies of various forms (both in spanish and english) so that when you encounter one it won't be unfamilair to you.

 

ARCR has copies for sale as does Goodlight Books in Alajuela. In the US you can find it at Barnes & Noble bookstores or they can order a copy in for you. I've seen it offered on Amazon.com, too.

 

The most recent edition came out in early 2009 and it is running around US$20 in paperback.

 

Hope this is useful info.

 

Cheers!

 

Paul M.

==

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Let me add a suggestion . . .

 

Buy yourself a copy of Richard Pedersen's "The Legal Guide to Costa Rica", which will give you an overview of making a will in CR, and other things like rental law as it aplies to the tenant, plus template copies of various forms (both in spanish and english) so that when you encounter one it won't be unfamilair to you.

 

ARCR has copies for sale as does Goodlight Books in Alajuela. In the US you can find it at Barnes & Noble bookstores or they can order a copy in for you. I've seen it offered on Amazon.com, too.

 

The most recent edition came out in early 2009 and it is running around US$20 in paperback.

 

Hope this is useful info.

 

Cheers!

 

Paul M.

==

Sorry to correct you

It should be Roger A Petersen and it is $29.12 at Amazon.com for the 2009 edition

Ellen

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Sorry to correct you

It should be Roger A Petersen and it is $29.12 at Amazon.com for the 2009 edition

Ellen,

 

You're right, I blew it on the author's first name but these prices are what show up on Amazon.com:

 

The Legal Guide to Costa Rica by Roger A. Petersen (Paperback - June 4, 2009)

Buy new: $18.48

 

9 new from $18.38

5 used from $16.61

 

These are the same listings that I saw several days ago.

 

Nonetheless I still say it's an excellent reference. If you are planning to move to CR it is well worth familiarizing yourself with the legal aspects of Costa Rica. That could save you beaucoup money and grief in the long run. { Forewarned is forearmed! ]

 

Cheers!

 

Paul M.

==

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My wife and I have included our grown up kids as a Corporation members.

Wouldn't it be a solution for easy inheritance way in case we are gone?

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I'm not sure what you mean by "corporation members", Igor, but the only thing that matters is who owns the stock in the corporation. If it is in your name and/or your wife's, then you will have to sign it over for the children to become the owners of the corporation. Otherwise, you can make provision in a Costa Rican will to bequeath all or specified of your assets to your children.

 

Note, please, that your will filed in the U.S. will mean nothing in Costa Rica and your will in Costa Rica will mean nothing in the U.S. If you have assets to bequeath in both countries, you need two wills.

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An American friend whose husband died last year is currently having problems with the house that was in the name of both her and her husband. The lawyers here, say that her husbands share goes to his severely disabled son in the USA, and now the assisted living facility there, wants that money...

So, she is paying lawyers both here and the the USA.

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While what costaricafinca writes above sounds incredible to my American ears, it points out the fact that things, including probate law, are different here. If I recall Peterson's book correctly, there is a hierarchy or sequence of inheritance provided for in the law. My understanding is that the only way around it is to have a legally-filed Costa Rican will that makes other provisions for the disposition of one's estate.

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Anyone who lives in Costa Rica, plans to live here, or is thinking of doing any business here such as purchasing property should run, not walk, to the nearest source of Roger Peterson's Legal Guide to Costa Rica. Once you own it, skim every page and read carefully whatever might apply to your own situation.

 

If you're thinking of hiring someone to do something, read the sections on labor relations. If you're thinking of getting married, read the parts about family law. If you're thinking of owning real estate or a vehicle, read the parts . . .

 

The small investment in Peterson's book could save you thousands of dollars and years of frustration and heartache.

Edited by David C. Murray

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The small investment in Peterson's book could save you thousands of dollars and years of frustration and heartache.

Estamos Ud. y yo, David, bien de acuerdo con este asunto!

 

This book has between its covers perhaps the best -or at least one of the best- collection of legal information useful for those living in CR to come to understand the CR legal system and the differences from (y)our laws back home.

 

Cómprelo. You'll likely be glad you did.

 

¡Pura Legalese!

 

Paul M.

==

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