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Topic: A place to talk death and dying issues

Forum: Stage IV/Metastatic Breast Cancer ONLY —

Please respect that this forum is for members with stage IV/metastatic breast cancer only. There is a separate forum for caregivers and friends: Caring for Someone with Stage 4 or Mets.

Metastatic breast cancer (MBC; also called stage IV) is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, most commonly the bones, liver, brain, or lungs. Metastatic breast cancer can be treated but not cured. Metastatic disease is NOT hopeless. There are a wide variety of treatment options for metastatic breast cancer, and new medicines are being tested every day. More and more people are living life to the fullest while being treated for metastatic breast cancer.

Note: Please contact your doctor for any specific concerns about symptoms you are experiencing or your course of treatment.

Learn more about living with MBC.

Intro medically reviewed by: Brian Wojciechowski, M.D.
Last review date: November 22, 2020

Posted on: Jun 7, 2011 03:43PM

ma111 wrote:

This post is for those of us with concerns and issues about death and dying to talk about them.

IF YOU CANNOT HANDLE IT, THAN GO TO A DIFFERENT POST PLEASE. We do not need people telling us to live life or to hear that other people have lived a long time, we have concerns. We are living life and would like for our diagnosis/prognosis to be changed. However, we are stuck with it and not in denial.

Dx 8/4/2009, IBC, <1cm, Stage IV, 19/19 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 10, 2011 11:16PM Suze35 wrote:

Lori - I'm completing a similar book "The Story of a Lifetime". It asks everything from favorite color to thoughts on religion, very comprehensive. I agree, i want them to know the simple things, as well as the complex. And I think we all as moms should follow our instincts. There is no wrong way to do this I'm beginning to see. My baby girl is also so young, I don't think she'd remember me. Easier on her, but I agree. SOB!

I thought of another thing I'm doing - I am collecting DVDs of all of my absolute favorite movies for them to watch one day, like every Monty Python flick. I hope they get a sense of "me" that way.

Original dx Stage IIIa TN 9/2010 Dx 9/19/2011, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, 8/12 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 10, 2011 11:28PM blondiex46 wrote:

I actually have 17 year old twin boys and 3 older kids in their 30's and I wonder how I am going to handle it, I also have grandchildren.  I want to do video tapes and i want to write things, which I started a couple of years ago.

Original 8/96 - 1cm, chemo, rads. Recurr..9/09...Mets to lungs, chest wall, lymph nodes under arm & chest, cervical & lumbar spine, ribs, hip. Femera, Falsodex, Zometa, Xeloda, Gemzar,Taxotere, Adriamycin,Havalen.WENT OFF CHEMO 7/20/14 Dx 9/1/2009, 3cm, Stage IV, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 11, 2011 04:45AM ma111 wrote:


I love the book idea and plan to get one for my daughter. I really think she will like that.

I still haven't written any letters. I want to do one for my funernal, her college graduation and wedding. Than the book I have to go get.

I like the ideas.

Origanially I was planning an in patient hospice, but some good points were brought up. I will have to reconsider what would be best for my daughter and not just assume I think I know.

I should visit a hospice as someone else did and discuse the subject with them. They can start in the home and they probably would know what would be better for my daughter come time.

Dx 8/4/2009, IBC, <1cm, Stage IV, 19/19 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 11, 2011 08:09AM texasrose361 wrote:

Lori- No you're not crazy for doing all that, but loving your family! I like the idea of the legacy book. Next time i am near a hallmark i will see if they have it, if not i will order it online.

I havent seen my biological dad since my parents split when i was 8 (so 20 years now) He is living but i wonder the same things, like do we do this or that the same, what does he thing about diffrent things. Heck i dont even remember what he looks like but in pictures and i have few memories of him. (He was in and out of jail a lot growing up) ANyhow after my dx i tried looking him up and sending letters to a few of his last know addresses. SO far 2 of them were returned to sender.... Anyhow its not the same thing because if i really wanted to i could hunt him down (we live 1500 miles apart) , but for those whos parent passed away you will NEVER be able to get the answers that you want.... So leaving behind a legacy book or something like it is great!

Blondie- I think with your grandchildren maybe compile a few videos of y'all together, (i am assuming they are young because of your children's ages) They wont remember things before age 3 or 4. Regardless of the possiblity of death. I think having those videos would be a treasure.

Ma- agree talking with someone that works in a hospice would be beneficial to us all concidering it. And there isnt a cookie-cutter death plan out there- like someone mentioned on the last page we each know our families and know how well they can handle certian things....

Children 10g, 10b, 8b :) Mets to ribs, sternum, femur, esophagus, retroperitoneal LN, lungs, ocular nerve, brain. Dx 7/22/2010, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 11, 2011 09:38AM lorieg wrote:

I like the DVD idea!

The book I referenced at Hallmark (name escapes me, and it is in our safe!) covers simple topics up to life philosophy type stuff.  It took me a while to finish it.  Every Hallmark I have been in has it in stock.  They have one for dads and grandparents also. 


Lori, age 33, dx IBC Stage IV 8/09, Grade 3, ER+/PR-/Her2+, married with a 4 year old son and a 1 year old daughter Dx 8/21/2009, IBC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/25 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 11, 2011 09:39AM lorieg wrote:

Texas- I'm sorry about your dad :-(

Lori, age 33, dx IBC Stage IV 8/09, Grade 3, ER+/PR-/Her2+, married with a 4 year old son and a 1 year old daughter Dx 8/21/2009, IBC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/25 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 11, 2011 09:54AM bak94 wrote:

I didn't lose my mom when i was a child, but I was 22. I wish we would have talked about death, we knew she was dying but it was not discussed. I wish I had letters, even at that age, I want to remember her handwrtiting, I have nothing of that sort, just photos. I would love to hear a recording of her voice, of course when I lost her, technology was alot different, but there where some types of video. I think we were all in denial, she died of ovarian cancer, and was diganosed as late stage. It's been 22 years, I think of her all of the time, I miss her smile and her fun loving spirit. She died in a hospital, not at home, I think I was old enough to handle her dying at home, but she felt more comfortable in the hospital. At this point,l think of all of the good times, and even though I lost her at a somewhat early age, I was thankful for the person she was and thankful that she was my mom and that she was around for 22 years, I would have loved more years with her, we were at the stage where we were becoming best friends.

Not really sure what stage I am-Some docs say 3C, others say stage 4. I had no auxillary nodes positive but had internal mammary nodes positive and possibly mediastinal node positive. It's just a number anyways, right? Dx 12/15/2002, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/40 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 1/2/2003 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 2/5/2003 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 7/8/2003 Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 4/5/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 4/27/2011 AC Targeted Therapy 5/14/2011 Avastin (bevacizumab) Chemotherapy 7/29/2011 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Surgery 11/30/2011 Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy 2/11/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 4/10/2012 Aromasin (exemestane) Hormonal Therapy 8/2/2012
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Jun 11, 2011 01:38PM - edited Jun 11, 2011 01:43PM by texasrose361

Lori- his lost not mine ;) i live quite a bit aways from the civilized world LOL so next time i am in the city i will go to the hallmark store :)- really neat thing: my mom got me the chicken soup for the teenage soul journal when i was 16 or 17 and i filled most of it out. Recently i was going to toss it but my husband suggested me keeping it and letting my daughter read it when she is in her teens... I just remembered that...

BKJ- Sorry to hear you lost your mom. Thanks you for your input it makes me see the importance of leaving things and such for my children. I def am going to record me talking and singing to them (i make up these silling songs which get them all riled up LOL

All- Since my dx i have been tring to get rid of things, i had a few boxes of baby clothes saved because i couldnt bear to part with them, well my sis suggested taking a picture of the items that meant the most and then scrapbooking, but i did one better check it out (i am going to leave this link open until monday) Surprisingly i was able to get rid of 2 boxes worth of stuff and these were the only ones that i took a pic of to save.

Its not the best quality or anything but it was fun to do- i cried while doing it, but i like the end result!

Children 10g, 10b, 8b :) Mets to ribs, sternum, femur, esophagus, retroperitoneal LN, lungs, ocular nerve, brain. Dx 7/22/2010, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 11, 2011 04:20PM circleof3 wrote:


I'm looking for advice - my friend is in a hospice nearing the end of her life.  She was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer 3 years ago, then mets on her bones.  The latest brain mets were discovered just after Christmas.  Her oncologist has said that she will receive no further treament and to try to 'enjoy the summer'. I'm struggling with knowing this when she doesnt.

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Jun 11, 2011 04:41PM ma111 wrote:


It's nice she has a friend like you. I think she would know.

Dx 8/4/2009, IBC, <1cm, Stage IV, 19/19 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 11, 2011 04:41PM Chickadee wrote:

I'm confused,  if she is in hospice then one would assume she knows. 

I'm in such bad shape, I'm wearing prescription underwear." Phyllis Diller 1917-2012 Dx 9/1/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 11, 2011 04:45PM circleof3 wrote:

i dont think so chickadee, not really. she went in initally after her hip replacement last november when she wasnt well enough to go home but the hospital she had the op in needed the bed back. She lives alone with her 13 year old daughter. Of course she knew her care would be mainly palliative with stage 4 but we've never had the what if conversation. she may know deep down but how can i bring up the subject if she doesnt and then walk away and leave her to her thoughts in the hospice??

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Jun 11, 2011 08:17PM ma111 wrote:


Talk with her nurse at hospice, she may be able to give better advise than us, as she knows her.

Dx 8/4/2009, IBC, <1cm, Stage IV, 19/19 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 11, 2011 09:01PM thats-life- wrote:

texas rose: it was an honour to watch your link, it made me cry, it is beautiful, and so are your children xxx

It is the opportunity to build what one loves into something permanent that makes this very difficult game worthwhile. mets skull, rib, hip, spine. Dx 8/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 11, 2011 09:06PM del15 wrote:

I just went at one point in the past and prepared a last will for each of us, signed two friends as witnesses and gave Olga to sign hers. That's it. It was over in a minute. In Ontario it is VERY MUCH recommended to have a will, otherwise the surviving spouse will go through the hoops with the government and they might even restrict your account access for half a year. No need for a lawer, thankfully.

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Jun 11, 2011 09:09PM del15 wrote:

Timothea, what a wonderful video...

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Jun 11, 2011 09:11PM del15 wrote:

Circleof3, please talk to the hospice nurses, they have experience with such issues.

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Jun 11, 2011 10:50PM texasrose361 wrote:

thanks yan and thats-life :)

i think i should check the laws here where i live. really i fear my parents would make a hassle for my husband over my kids- i dont know why they never made a mention or anything about it, but i feel that they will try something weird like that....

Children 10g, 10b, 8b :) Mets to ribs, sternum, femur, esophagus, retroperitoneal LN, lungs, ocular nerve, brain. Dx 7/22/2010, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 11, 2011 11:05PM CoolBreeze wrote:

LisaAlissa, I am in CA and have no clue what any of your post said.  But, I got the message loud and clear.  Get a lawyer.

Which I will.  I don't have much but whatever I have I want to go to my husband and kids and not the State of CA.  They got plenty over the years. 

Ann's cancer blog: .....multicentric/multifocal IDC/ILC+DCIS/LCIS/ADH Official dx? "Your breast was a mess." ~UniMastectomy/Chemo/Herceptin/Tamoxifen/Recon Almost Done! Oh wait. mets to liver 5/21/11 Now Stage IV Dx 8/17/2009, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 12, 2011 12:30AM - edited Jun 12, 2011 12:34AM by sas-schatzi

That's LIfe-----hi it's sheila the stethoscope sheila-----. You, I know are in the process of finding a knew counselor. Either you or someone else described who , what , why etc about what the person should be. Please, recontact whomever gave you that referral and review with them why they shouldn't make referrals to this person. She is completely inadequate to the needs, that you asked for. The importance of this is self evident, she might waste someonelses money and time. Also , puts them on notice that they blew the referral-------they didn't meet your need.

Someone wrote about putting another person on their bank account. I thought that was the way to go. But it is state dependent. Native Mariner pointed out that in her state(Maine?) all accounts are frozen until a determination as to how that money is to be allocated thru the will. I did it with my son so he could access my accounts, should I become incapacitated and ASSUMED it would automatically be his.    But below is away to assure that the funds are immediately available to survivor designee--------check with your bank or credit union to see if it is allowed in your state.

After 9/11 banking laws were changed,  you could add either TOD transfer on death or POD payable on deathof the primary account holder which is the first name on the account to the designee. This was changed because so many, effectively, young people died with families not being prepared. Prior to 9/11 tod and pod was not available on bank accounts.

Tod/pod can be used on so many instruments, and only takes a phone call  to each institution for the proper form. My husband and I always made that a part of the discussion -----is a beneficiary /tod/pod listed. We missed one small stock on his. That will take years to settle now because I have decided to do an asbestosis claim.

A Wll under all circumstances is needed. For example. Everything is defined in a trust, But something unforeseen happens i.e something that leads to litigation post death that is not covered by a trust. A Will will allow for distribution of monies received from a litigation where as a trust might not. A Will and a Trust

In my last job we took the max amount of offered life insurance. We both developed CA. His was not continuable ,because he had Ca, once I was terminated for medical reasons. Bummer. Point is reread your company life insurance polices for the small print. Mine can only continue as long as the LTD people believe I am disabled-------even though I'm disabled by soc sec permantently. The LTD company carrying the insurance can declare otherwise and negate the policy ( fine print). So, looks very good, until the fine print readable with a spy glass. I have been waffling  about my will for months b/c I can't get beyond how to divide the assets if my son predeceases me or within 30 days of me , if he has no lineal descendants. DUH- I'm worried about someone being mad b/c they didn't get left something and someone else did. I should be able to say , I don't care I'm dead. ------------I know LOL. But it has kept me from completing a very important document. Check with your lawyer Make sure that your power of attorney paper has a statement regarding guardianship should you became incapacitated. Declaration of Guardianship has great importance should someone fight for control of you in an incapacitated state. It has stronger legal power than power of attorney. Put it in the same document and all should be covered. The Shiavo case is a good example. Check with your lawyer  Review insurance policies, to see how much you have , sounds logical, but until my husband died in 2010, it was a surprise. We did our policies when we were young, with the idea that the other would continue working. Didn't plan on disability. Mutual funds/stocks---tod/pod/beneficiary review. Remember we missed one little stock. Should either of you die remember to change beneficiaries on everything. I was amazed in the whole process , no one suggested this to me. I had to figure it out on my own brain anguished self. Make a single list of assets, that will become a check off sheet for whomever has to do the estate. Makes it so easy to get through the material. As you progress through things make your executor aware of what you have done in case of your sudden demise, they are not at a loss of where to begin with things. My son is tolerant of these discussions , but you can tell he rather not have them. Make sure they know where to find the safety deposit key and are a signator. Spouses of deceased are eligible for many things. Check with the Local social security office ---don't depend on what the 800# folks tell you. Also, there can be a reduction in property taxes --call the county tax appraisers office, there can be a reduction for disability also. It can be simple if you talk to a real person. WE lost thousands over the years because we did not know about eligibility. Again, donating to county coffers. Cars if your going to transfer titles, make sure how you want to do it. I didn't think it through properly and it will be several hundred dollars donated to county coffers in the next go around. Check your insurance policies for a disability clause----should you become disabled your premiums may be paid by the company with the proper paperwork supplied I'm going to post this now b/c to rewrite would make me crazy and we have had fairly frequent power surges in the last few months. Hope something here helps someone. All has been learned through happening/exposure/ etc. I am not a lawyer , so all rec's chould be checked with your lawyer. L&H's sheila
Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out shouting "holy crap....what a ride".
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Jun 12, 2011 12:38AM - edited Jun 12, 2011 02:55AM by sas-schatzi

Don't know what the deal is with the address and / ><---------it came up in the post . I went back in to delete them and they are not visible to me to delete--------probably government because i mentioned 9/11.. I'll give it one more attempt.   EDIT____VERY INTERESTING----------they don't appear in my view in edit , but there they are??????????  And whole separation of paragraphs are different. I'll contact the Mods for an explanation.

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out shouting "holy crap....what a ride".
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Jun 12, 2011 01:31AM Mazy1959 wrote:

I live in Illinois and our wills are written so that the spouse has  immediate access to all accounts and is made available to our kids immediately if my hubby and I die at the same time etc. My mom had me added to her checking account and I had immediate access to that account after she passed away. I did have to present her death cert and will when they found out she passed but that was all. Her name has to stay on the account for at least 2 yrs in case any checks get issued to her because the bank wont deposit them unless her name is on the account. I'd have to go thru a lawyer otherwise.

 My kids are not on our on checking account but when we die all they have to do is present the death cert and will, fill out some paperwork and have immediate access.It does help if you have banked at the same bank for along time because they know you. Our bank knows our whole family and would make sure everything goes easy. Hope this helps..Hugs, Mazy

Bone marrow mets in 90% of bone marrow. Dx 3/6/2003, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 2/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 12/19/2006, ILC, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2- Dx 4/25/2012, ILC, Stage IV, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 8/4/2012, ILC, Stage IV, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 8/9/2012 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel)
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Jun 12, 2011 01:37AM - edited Jun 12, 2011 01:39AM by thats-life-

oh sas, it could only happen to us lol (re strange typing issues lately)..thanks for that wealth of info, im sure it will be beneficial to was thoughtful of you..i am sorry to hear you lost your husband x and thanks for the advice re the person i was seeing to help deal with the diagnosis...9 months of it, wow, till i realised my time could be spent in a much more peaceful and sometimes fun way :)

the wonderful ideas that are coming in here are inspiring me to get going on the emotionally hard stuff, like photo stories, dvd's, thanks all. Last night i saw my daughter hug the woman who will be having her when i cant any more, it was a long hug, she doesnt hug me like that, it was a powerful moment, comforting in a way.

It is the opportunity to build what one loves into something permanent that makes this very difficult game worthwhile. mets skull, rib, hip, spine. Dx 8/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 12, 2011 02:32AM - edited Jun 12, 2011 07:46AM by sas-schatzi

That's Life------There have been many great suggestions here. The memorabilia things---yes I can do those.---------

 I contacted the Mods re the strange stuff in my post_________-she assurred me the government had nothing to do with it. There has been maintenance going on and it can occur if you type off line then post(I didn't)

 Mazy your post is specifically why I said check in your state and with your own lawyer-------because each has there own rules. I was really surprised when Native Mariner said the accounts were frozen. That would make final arrangements VERY difficult. How do you pay for things if access isn't there. Whats interesting Mazy about your post is yes you are presenting a death certificate and a Will. A Will can look official, but that why Wills are probated. The court declares that the Will is the document. I can have something notarized and dated and witnessed and it not be the real document or final document it could have be declared null and void when a later document written. Maze -----the system seems to work in IL. It would be nice to think that no one would take advantage of the situation. It surprises me that there hasn't been problems. If it works , it works.

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out shouting "holy crap....what a ride".
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Jun 12, 2011 04:34AM ma111 wrote:


Great information, thanks, but sos orry you had to experience what you did with your husband. Than you were kind/strong enough to share with us to prevent our family from going through the same thing.


Even though that hug was comforting to see, it had to make you cry.

I am thinking about putting my house in my sister's name to avoid problems.

I also still need to write my daughter letters. That will make me cry, but probably be a stress relief.

Dx 8/4/2009, IBC, <1cm, Stage IV, 19/19 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 12, 2011 07:38AM - edited Jun 12, 2011 07:41AM by sas-schatzi

Ma1111-------------------problems if you put your house in your sister name-----she "Inherits your base" You are better off putting it in a Trust for her or less of a benefit into a Will because that will trigger probate. If you put her name on the deed>>>>say your adjusted base is 100,000. You may have bought at say 50,000 +plus relators fees + improvements made to the house. Your house will be given a fairmarket value by appraisal on the day you die. What if with the way market for land changes and where your property is located is now valued at > 1 million. If you left it to your sister by preferably trust(can help to avoid taxes) or at least Will---- They owe no tax because the adjusted base is established on the date of your death. If you add your sister now to the deed she inherits your adjusted base---. and it could ultimately cause her money grief. Not your Intent. Do A Trust-- Avoids probate---allows her to recieve the property without hassle, and you can define successor trustees should she be deceased at the time the instrument needs to be executed---------you are dead, she is dead>>> you have named next in line

 I'm not a lawyer, consult a lawyer that is familar with this stuff.  sheila

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out shouting "holy crap....what a ride".
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Jun 12, 2011 09:56AM KarieB wrote:

l need to add that even if you have all the legal paperwork done weii, it is possible that your wishes will not be carried out as you had set forth. Many states have very week laws concerning misappropriation of the estate by the Trustee or Executor and nothing happens when it occurs even if family members obtain their own attorney to get the illegal actions of the Trustee corrected or to get  the misappropriating Trustee punished and monies returned  Because of that, if there are certain items you want to go to certain people, then give those things to your loved ones while you are alive.  You will know they got them and they will know you love them because you entrusted them with you treasures.  The possible alternative, if you leave the division of your property  to a Trustee who may have no better intentions than the one I observed a few years ago, you have no idea who got your treasures. Family members who have just suffered a huge loss because of the passing of their mother also suffer injury in seeing a supposedly trusted Trustee thumb her nose at the deceased as well as the legal system.  In addition in our case,  the Trustee first helped herself to anything she wanted and then allowed her favorite from among the beneficiaries to take all she wanted...which was everything but the trash.  The Trustee should have gotten nothing as she was not listed as a beneficiary and only the immeduate children were to share and share alike in the estate as beneficiaries. As it happened only one beneficiary split the entire estate with the Trustee.   Another more painful aspect happened as well.  The mother had wanted to be buried within 5 days of her death and if was included in her file on her funeral plans and discussed with the Trustee with several witnesses present.  There were no questions about her wishes and the Trustee had promised that her wishes would be followed to the letter. The mother passed on December 19 which meant her funeral should have taken place by  Christmas Eve.  However, the Trustee claimed she could not have the funeral that soon.(all plans had been made for years and casket, grave, and.stone had all been chosen, paid for and had been waiting until needed) .that she had Christmas plans that she must attend to and her "accomplice" beneficiary joined with her in that.  They set the funeral for two weeks ffrom the mother's death to the strong objections of all the rest of the family and refused to change it to the date the Mother had clearly requested.  Family members were forced to endure that Christmas and every one since  it thinking of their Mother and Grandmother's remains lying in cold storage , forgotton, while her Trustee and one beneficiary were fulfilling their Christmas obligations attending and giving parties.  Then when time for the service finally came, her Trustee, the ugly sister of the family, got her final long awaited dig in against the beautiful deceased older sister by insisting all parts of the remembrance would be open casket although the two week passage of time had clearly taken it's toll on the appearance of the deceased making the visitation and funeral not recomebeded for youn chilfren.  All functions sould have been closed casket if the Trustee had had any decency in her at all.

While this all may sound like a made up night mare scenario, all of these things did happen and most if not all could have been avoided if the Mother had given some consideration to the situation and soufght help from other family members or social workers who were available to her for this very purpose if she felt incapable of handling it all herself.

Some suggestions you may want to consider:

     Give away what you can of you most important things while you are living.

     When choosing a Trustee or Executor, avoid anyone who HAS EVER been shown to appear to have more greed than integrity....even if they were 5 years old when it happened.    When some one departs this life owning even just a small amount of property, something unspeakable seems to take over the souls of certain people and they are possessed by a determination to own as much of the deceased's property whether or not they are entitled to it per Will or Trust; or whether or not they have a need for it   You may want to speak with your bank about their Trust Department and what services they offer and what the fees are.  While anyone can choose to take advantage of what they may see as easy money, the bank would help to protect the intentions of the Deceased in order to protect their reputation in that field.  So if State laws are lax, non-existant, or not enforced in your state regarding inappropriate activities of Trustees and Exectors an independent Trustee from a business concern (maybe the larger the better?) may help support the intent of the will or trust maker.  

     Be sure that every Beneficiary has a copy of the trust and/or will as soon as it/they are signed, witnessed.and notarized and leave copies with a well trusted best friend, your attorney, perhaps a doctor or trusted, well known insurance agent would agree to hold a copy for you in their secure file on you.  The more copies you have out, the harder it will be for some one to obtain and destroy them all.  While a home fire safe may protect important papers in a fire, remember that the entire safe (unless securely and permanently fastened to your house) can be removed from your home while you are away at the doctor's office, etc..  This has been known to happen when one sibling wanted to insure their receipt of cars or houses, etc., and things such as bearer bonds or gold cons.  Individuals lacking in integrity have been known to steal and destroy all known copies so that once the maker is deceased , no wills or trusts can be found.  In this case some one may obtain a larger share of the inheritance by state law than the deceased had intended them to receive. 

     Needless to say these activities can be fatal to a continuing family relationship among family members.  So if they can be avoided before they happen, the health of the family relationship is protected.  In spite of this, untold numbers of families are destroyed every year by disagreements over inheritance following a parent's death.

These are all issues you may want to consider when it comes time to make or revise a will or trust.  I wish my mother had been more open about her will and had not succumbed at age 94 to a many year long campaighn aimed at getting her to change her Trustee/ Executor because she was the mother I told you about above.  I was powerless to help prevent what unfolded.  By sharing this information with you, I hope you can be thinking along these lines and protect your family from this kind of devastation.  I am sure there are other pitfalls that could occur.  Discussing these issues with others on this discussion may bring up a wealth of information or pitfalls to avoid.  My wish is that no one has to lose a parent and a family member at the same time due to the family member's uncontrollable need to steal everything a dying parent may own.  Her nature was well known and conclusions on my mother's part that every one would behave and play nice when she passed on were at best naive.  In truth, she probably was not in a sound frame of mind when she caved to my aunt's relentless campaign to change trustees.  But those laws also are vague in my state and require a difficult court trial that would be de-moralizing and cruel for an ill or elderly person to be subjected to, if ability is challenged   There should be a private and direct moral criteria for an attorney to be obligated to use if he should be asked to draw up new papers that change something as important as a trustee or beneficiary in a  long standing document especially when that new "Trustee" is the one always attending all the meetings, speaking for the one who's will or trust is being changed and makes phone calls to the attorney regarding the trust or will when the owner of the document is not availabe and it is clear the call is not at the behest of the owner and the "Potential " new Trustee is clearly in charge of the "owner" and the situation.  (When my mother was made to sign a new trust it not only  changed the Trustee, it made it easier for the Trustee to have her declared incompetent.  I know definitely that my mother would never have knowingly signed for that change.  If it contains one change she would not have approved if she were operating on her own free will and knew what she was doing, why should I or anyone believe that the other change was one she approved of operating on her own free will?).   We must lobby legislatures in all states for laws that protect the sick and the elderly as well as protecting their (duly prepared according to law) wills and trusts from those who would take advantage and choose to steal a deceased's property intended for others.  

(I know this has gotten really, really long and I thank you for your patience.  I couldn't figure out how to say it shorter.).  

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Jun 12, 2011 10:04AM Suze35 wrote:

sas and Karie - this is all EXCELLENT discussion on the legalities, thank you. I just assumed that because I have no real personal property, a will would suffice. But I will be sure to give away the stuff going outside of the family while I can still be here.

Question - I have a sizable life insurance policy, private - so no employment issues. Does that need to be treated in my will, or does that just automatically go to the beneficiary (my husband)?

Time for a lawyer...

Original dx Stage IIIa TN 9/2010 Dx 9/19/2011, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, 8/12 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 12, 2011 10:42AM Alpal wrote:

Wow - I couldn't access BCO last night and you all have been busy. Frankly, I'm lost and need to go back and read from the beginning. Suze - I can tell you that life insurance goes to the named beneficiary and should not even be addressed in a will. It is not subject to probate, either.

Allison Dx 7/2008, IDC, Stage IV, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 12, 2011 10:49AM ma111 wrote:

Kari and SAS,

Thanks so much and I am so sorry to hear how your family was torn apart even though your mother wishes were know. That had to be hard to share with us. I will literaly take that information to the bank!

My daughter is a minor, so that why I was considering putting the house in my sister's name. It will now go into trust for my daughter. I do have my funeral planned, hopefuly it goes well. I did tell my sister that and told her what the plans were so that there are no questions.

You 2 have really opened my eyes when I thought I had my S------ toghether, I cannot thank you enough as I want things to go smoothly for my daughter and not have her concern with details. I am a single mom and trying real hard to make it as easy as possible. I also don't want things to cost extra money for the family, like extra taxes because I did the house wrong.

Thanks a bunch!!!!

Dx 8/4/2009, IBC, <1cm, Stage IV, 19/19 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+

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