Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan 5) my favorite lawyer in all of Chiriqui will be speaking at the BCP Tuesday meeting. I have been a client of Juan Contreras since the day he graduated from law school. I have found Juan to be straightforward, competent, honest, and reasonable in all of his dealings with me. He also seems to know how to think outside the box which they definitely don't seem to teach in law school here. The average Panamanian lawyer knows how to fill in a form and which line in which government office to stand in and not much more. Because Juan is such a good lawyer he has prospered in the 6 or so years he has been in practice. He has a nice office, several competent legal assistants, a wonderful partner in Lourdes Miranda, and a competent office staff. Compare that to the many lawyers who still work out of their homes or back seats of their cars.

Even if you're not interested in estate planning, I urge you to come and meet Juan Contreras on Tuesday at 10:30 in the BCP theater.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/4/2016 at 4:32 PM, Penny said:

. Compare that to the many lawyers who still work out of their homes or back seats of their cars.

 

Penny

 

This line you wrote made me to share with you some old stories from Panama.   Those Back Seat Car Lawyers or Side Walk Lawyers were called in Panama "Tinterillos".  This is a despective adjectives to those low level attorneys.  Tinterillo could be translated into something like Shyster Lawyer.  

"Tinterillos" is a word that comes from the word "Tinta" or ink.  It refers to the ink used in fountain pens back in 30', 40's and 50's.  They initially were people who never finished the law school and worked helping people to do some legal business and wrote all the documents using ink and pen. This term is used in several Latin American countries with the same meaning.

In Panama we also called those NOT-SO-TRUSTABLE-PROFESSIONALS something like:  Mango Tree Lawyers, Mango Tree Mechanics, etc.  People who has their offices or stores below a mango tree.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/7/2016 at 5:02 PM, Brundageba said:

Roger.....

What is the customary mode the Panamanian families use to preserve assets prior to  the death of a spouse?   Foundations?   Wills?  endure long Probate?

Curious

Alison

Alison

Very rich people for taxes purposes use foundations for some of their properties and for other valuables they write Wills.

Middle class professionals usually use wills.  It is not a common practice.  

Some middle class people and poor people usually dont have wills.  They need to go to a "Juicio de Sucesion" that could take some time.  In this legal transaction the judge will try to look for all the heirs of the deceased person, will require their physical presence and probe that they are first degree family member of the deceased and then he will state how all the properties will be divided in equal proportions for all the heirs.   If the wife is still alive then she will be the one in first line as heir.  Once she die then the sons and daugthers will take care of the properties.

You remind me that I have to do something about that.  I dont have a will. But when I talked this with my wife she becomes mad because she says I am calling for something "the reaper", so soon.   Now she is changing after my father in law died this late november.   She agrees that I should do something about it before I pass away and relief her for all the tedious paperwork she will have to do if I dont leave a document like a will.   

I hope that I could have answered your question.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We were told in a recent talk that Wills still go through Probate and that the attorney assisting the survivors will get 10-15% of the value of the properties in that Probate.  ( that's if I heard it right.  Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong)  That could be a nice sized bundle for an attorney! Probate can take several years ( 2-5). Foundations we are told will avoid the need for Probate.  Many of us here bought homes that were in a Corporation which at the time, allowed anonymous Bearer Shares.  That has changed with recent laws and now our anonymous Shares must bear the name of the owner. .  Once that happens then Probate comes into the picture for the surviving spouse. .  How to handle it is now the current discussion.  Foundations seem to be the answer.   Expensive however. 

Anyway I wanted to know what is the common practice here in this country and I appreciate your answer, as always.  And...yes get that Will made up !

Edited by Brundageba
simplify
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We just had wills made to ensure our corporation shares (nominative shares, not bearer shares) go to the surviving spouse.  I asked him about probate, and he said it could take a couple of months, not years as some people are saying.  I think how long it takes depends on the competence of the attorney.  I was shocked to learn that without the will, my husbands shares would not go to me, but to his son.  Had to fix that!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Probate.  

1. Cost to you: If 10-15% of the value goes to the attorney , that's a lot of money! 

2.Time: Our own attorney told us Probate can take as long as 8 years.  Now that more cases will go to Probate in that Bearer shares once anonymous are now nominative, the wheels of justice could very well turn very slowly.  Remember this is a new law.   I doubt the Probate courts are ready for the volume they will be seeing.

3. Factor in your age and life expectancy.  If you are say 70 yr old , your spouse dies and your nominative shares rest in Probate waiting for the decision that they be issued to YOU ( as per the Will). Your desire as widow(er) then is to  quickly liquidate and return to the USA and find yourself an independant living set up....you might die first before that can happen.  I say that, IF Probate does in fact linger long.  Bottom line is there's no guarantee on time in Probate.

4. Our personal attorney advised a Foundation.  That would double our cost per year.  If I live 20 years ( not probable) the cost in fees and tax would still be less than if at 90 I can not liquidate the house quickly.  I'd most likely be dead here in Panama before I could walk away with the $$ for the sale of our home in my pocket.  Factor in how long sale of a home could take even if you reduced the sale price to bargain basement level. 

These are all points we ponder.  Our only living heir is our dog.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anybody know anybody who has actually gone through probate, with a will, who can verify how much time it took?  And I mean an actual person, not somebody's cousin's friend somebody heard about.  I've lived here long enough not to believe anything anybody says, unless they have actually done it themselves.

Edited by JudyS
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I asked my lawyer about the claim that probate takes many years.  This is what he said:

"All wills have to go on probate. However it is not true that the procedure takes years. That happens only in a few cases and mainly when there is no will. The other circumstances that make Succession Trials last years are when there is conflict between heirs. In a brief, the probate procedure takes an average of 8 months to one year. "

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If a year in Probate is usual...then would it be true that your home could not be put on the market until it has finished the Probate procedure?....  Sorry this may seem to be a no-brainer but I'd like the answer on it.   Also the 10-15% of the value to the attorney seems a bit heavy.  I'd like to hear more on that as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Brundageba said:

If a year in Probate is usual...then would it be true that your home could not be put on the market until it has finished the Probate procedure?....  Sorry this may seem to be a no-brainer but I'd like the answer on it.   Also the 10-15% of the value to the attorney seems a bit heavy.  I'd like to hear more on that as well.

I just asked my lawyer that same question.  The time seems excessive, and that was my take too, that you couldn't sell your house until probate cleared up the ownership.  What a pain the legal system of this country is!  Why can't they just have community property and make it easy?  I'm trying to get all my legal ducks in a row, but I have this nagging feeling that Panama will screw me somehow.  Now I'm wondering what the whole point of forming the corporation was.  I was told at the time that it would make the passing of the property to the surviving spouse seamless.  Well it doesn't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re: Corps and the ease of passing on property after the death of a spouse.  Corporations seemed that way to us as well...then.  It seemed like a real good idea actually.  We bought our home that was already in a corporation.  Transfer was easy.  The game changer was when property held in Corporations was by necessity of a new law suddenly no longer anonymous.  Anonymous Bearer Shares had to be converted to shares with names on it.  Now there's an identity attached to property.   If that person dies, there are now Probate issues.  That's my take anyway.    Laws change. 

Bill and I just sent the form off for our Marriage Certificate for then an Apostilled document to Certify marriage here in Panama.  By the time that comes back and then goes back for the Apostille and through process here,a year will have passed before Bill and I (married now almost 50 years) are officially married here.  If either one of us drops dead before that happens, neither one of us us is the surviving spouse as the law sees it here.  Oh, it can be cleared up...BUT that will take time in Probate as documents are gathered. (key:"time" in Probate)

Foundation...expensive as it is ( at our age...and all things considered) is most likely our best immediate option to reduce a horrible headache for a surviving spouse.  I strongly doubt either Bill nor I will stay here after one or the other passes away.  We would want to sell all we own and go back to the USA.  I say that because care for the elderly and as well escalation of crime here make the decision to die here not as desirable an option for us as we once thought.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agree Judy.  Brains won't be firing on all burners, body won't be moving as swiftly.  In the wild an animal in this state is considered prey.  Bill and I would like to sort the situation out as best we can right now so that down the road we won't be like the Sloth crossing the interAmericana at rush hour.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Brundageba said:

Agree Judy.  Brains won't be firing on all burners, body won't be moving as swiftly.  In the wild an animal in this state is considered prey.  Bill and I would like to sort the situation out as best we can right now so that down the road we won't be like the Sloth crossing the interAmericana at rush hour.

I also agree. But the magic unknown question is "when". When will you need that emergency operation, when do you fall and break bones, or can't handle the finances, or have no close friends. Many people I know just never get around to deciding that "when" question.

The aging process we pretty much know. Can't always predict things like a car accident, robbery, or so many of the other problems that happen to older folks. It's easier to decide tomorrow and soon we become a problem for someone else.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bill and I have decided that when we can't surf anymore we'll sell everything and go.  At least that's the theory this week ( laughing)   Surf here is is as good as we enjoyed in Hawaii.  Both of us are from Florida and my hunch is we'd go back there.  (Surf in Florida at this point in our lives just wouldn't satisfy us.)  For now and the immediate future we stay here..we're happy.  Meanwhile we will do everything humanly possible to make sure our house can be sold and not linger a year or more in Probate and that my husband and I are recognized as married here in Panama.  That last Tuesday meeting was an eye opener for us and put a fire under our butts to do something now.  Probably get a Foundation, make a Will and have that Marriage certificate card Panama issues. At nearly 71yr old..the clock seems to tick faster !

Another thought we ponder at times is going back for a month(...rent a condo or something) and get all those exams our Medicare offers us old farts. If we find out we're on the short end of the rope...that helps makes some decisions.

 

Edited by Brundageba
add words for clarity
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/11/2016 at 3:52 PM, Marcelyn said:

I also agree. But the magic unknown question is "when". When will you need that emergency operation, when do you fall and break bones, or can't handle the finances, or have no close friends. Many people I know just never get around to deciding that "when" question.

The aging process we pretty much know. Can't always predict things like a car accident, robbery, or so many of the other problems that happen to older folks. It's easier to decide tomorrow and soon we become a problem for someone else.

But often we can't imagine what we can't imagine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Meanwhile keep researching and gathering information.  recently I learned from another attorney that a Corporation , a Will well specified and put together with a notary's help, along with documentation certifying marriage...will get a survivor's spouse through Probate in an average of 8 months.  After the death of a spouse 8 months would be a reasonable time to end your affairs here...sell off items etc.  Bottom line, advice from this attorney was...no need the extra envelope of a Foundation on top of a Corporation if all those other things are in order.  Probate should not be a problem. 

OK...another opinion. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yah...so you spend 8 months selling off everything and getting the house ready for sale.  Merely my thought ( today).   I think getting that certification of marital status is well worth the effort and something we can do ASAP.

Edited by Brundageba
aded a sentence
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Juan Contreras is a very Good Attorney,

Probate takes at least 8 months in a Panamanian Civil Court.

If you need  any Legal Consultation I will be happy to help you. See my ad at:

My whatssapp is 62168793, email: cristomarkou@gmail.com.

My offices are located in David, Impresora Central Building, Office ·4, 3rd floor, 2nd Street East.

Phone 7090523 (for appointment).

FOTO CRISTO MARKOU red.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...