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Hola! Welcome to Paradise. My name is Michael Simons - the Owner/Broker of 3 major real estate franchises in the Papagayo Region - RE/MAX Tres Amigos in Playa Hermosa , RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties in Playa Panama and RE/MAX Ocean Village in Playas del Coco.

The majority of people interested in buying real estate in Costa Rica tend to have many of the same questions so I took the time to answer them in detail here in a fun and informative way. This site contains a tremendous amount of information for you and allows me to express my views and pass along wisdom gained while living and doing business in the tropics. Hope you can join us. Pura Vida!

I will respond to your questions immediately with an email or personal phone call.

See you here in Paradise!

My Last Will and Testament

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Costa Rica Living, EX PATS in Costa Rica, Investing in Costa Rica, Newsletters, Residency

Tank Tops Flip Flops Newsletter edition no. 73

My Last Will and Testament

I was born without a silver spoon, but I always knew I would make a stir. Fortunately, I have had a pretty good run and I felt it was time to update my Costa Rican Will.  As I sat down to put it all on paper, I found myself feeling a little nostalgic as I thought of all the amazing experiences I have had living in this wonderful  little country. I just celebrated my 12th anniversary of Pura Vida, and although I hope I don’t die tomorrow, I would have no regrets if I did. It has been the best years of my life, hands down. Now, having said that, if I did pass away, I WOULD BE DEAD, so I wouldn’t know what I was missing anyway! I am not going to get into spirituality, religion, the afterlife, Heaven, Hell or ghosts with you right now, but for the sake of this stupid newsletter, we are going to pretend. These are the things I would definitely miss the most.

Costa Rica FAQ's

Cold Pilsen Beer! Hellooooo. You should have guessed this was the top of the list, since there are almost no photos existing on this planet, where I do not have a bottle stuffed up into my lips. My friend Scott was telling me the other day, how he loves a good Guinness, and the dark bitter taste. No thanks man. You can have all those European motor oils, fancy micro-breweries, funky, fruit flavored ciders and watered down Budweiser; give me the Cerveza La Rubia any day of the week. It just goes down so smooth when you are hanging at the beach, enjoying another perfect day in paradise. It is truly incredible the diversity of the beaches here; how you can go from white as flour, to black as tea in just a few miles. You can party on Hermosa Beach, where it is so calm you can hear a fish splash; and just an hour down the road, at Grande, the waves are so violent you have to yell to have a conversation. 

Pilsen

Pilsen is a natural fit for anything water, and I will definitely miss those precious memories out on the sea. The diving here is inspiring, massive marine life, unlike anywhere in the world. The surfing, sailing and standup paddle board makes for a wild afternoon. I will miss the Catamaran tours and the snorkeling, the whale watching in the bay; the turtles and their migration, and I will definitely miss the fishing; FIRST CLASS.  But the cast of characters that are part of this play is something you can never replace. I saw a friend of mine the other day, getting off the boat. He went on about how many Sailfish they caught that day, how hard the tuna were hitting and overall what a spectacular day it was. Where are you headed now, I asked him? “I am going home to take a shower, bake some Grouper, smoke a joint and watch some NASCAR, and then going to bed so I can do it all over again tomorrow.” Does it get any better than that? LOL. I will miss that guy for sure.

Marlin Fishing

The people here are unlike anywhere in the world. Everybody knows that Costa Rica is voted the happiest country on the earth, year in and year out, but to experience it first hand, leaves you speechless. The Ticos are the finest people on this planet, they are never in a bad mood, and I have made hundreds of friends in my time here. I will miss you all. I love that they pump your gas for you when you pull into the station, and it only costs 3 bucks to fix a flat tire. I love how everyone remembers your name, and all the restaurants have the BEST PIZZA IN TOWN.  I will miss the Nicaraguans too, bless their little hearts. You have never met anyone so happy to have a job. They sing while they work, doing the tasks no one else wants to do. I truly think they were born with a machete or a broom in their hand, as it seems to be part of their body.

Pacifico Lot 79 Featured Property

But let’s not forget the gringos. It takes a certain breed of people, a special kind of person, who can adapt to an entirely new culture and lifestyle and make it work. But what is the alternative? Go back? You couldn’t pay most of us to ever go back, not with the hell hole North America is becoming.  I will miss that I never turn on the TV and hear political Bullshit or racially motivated shootings or riots, because everyone is loved here regardless of race or religion. The country isn’t divided over absolutely stupid issues, and no one would EVER even consider stomping on the Costa Rica flag. The pride in this country is through the roof. No one lives on welfare, and no one gets unemployment, and they don’t sit around demanding the government take care of everything. Little kids walk the streets alone, playing with their friends; no fears.

Costa Rica Happy

 

Sure it is a little more complicated to open bank accounts now, BUT THAT IS A GOOD THING. It keeps the Riff Raff out. Thanks to the USA’s invasion of everyone’s privacy, there are a bundle of forms you have to fill out now, for just about everything you do. But I tell my clients, “relax.” You are not a drug dealer or a money launderer; you are not a terrorist or a tax evader; so don’t worry about it. All my clients have paid a ton of money in taxes, way more than most people. They have done everything by the book their entire lives. That is why they are buying a second home or a retirement condo. If they didn’t have any money, they wouldn’t be here in the first place. They would be a Wal-Mart Greeter. Granted, it is more expensive now to live here, than it was before, and I LOVE IT. It keeps the bottom feeders away. The caliber of people moving here is tremendous; this is not the battered women’s shelter for retirees; that is Ecuador. This is an outstanding place to live, and I will miss it and the many friendships I have made. Anyone with a bad attitude, please stay away. No rotten apple is going to spoil our fun.

Wal Mart Greeter

Speaking of Wal-Mart, I find it hilarious when people talk badly about the chain stores that have moved here, because the Costa Ricans love them. Of course a wealthy retired gringo can do without these conveniences, but you are not a single mother with two children, earning $700 per month trying to make ends meet. Two dollar Tupperware is a big deal to her. Just like McDonald’s. “Ewwwww. How terrible. Costa Rica has fast food now.”  You don’t have to stop there for lunch. But don’t think for one minute that every single child isn’t ecstatic to slither down the McSlide. Have you ever seen the smile on a little child’s face when they open a Happy Meal? Priceless. Everyone should experience that in their life. Besides, you cannot eat beans and rice every day. Trust me. You will turn into Ted Bundy and drive around kidnapping and killing people, if you don’t get a little First World once in a while. Thank God for the Hard Rock Café Guanacaste, coming soon to Coco. Besides, nothing really changes. It is not like the monkeys know what’s happening. “Herb! Pizza Hut is here now. That’s it. I’m gone. This place is going to hell in a hand basket. I am moving to Honduras!” I never get tired of monkeys, I will definitely miss them.

Hard-Rock-Guanacaste

I will truly miss the respect they have for women and the love they show to the animals, unlike so many other countries. Everywhere you go, there are thousands of birds and parrots in the trees; iguanas; squirrels; you name it, they are checking you out. It is the only place I have ever seen, where the stray dogs don’t growl. Even they are in a good mood. They don’t bite, they don’t beg, they just hang around long enough, knowing someone will throw them a bone. Every once in a while, one shows up at your house, and just refuses to leave. Then they become family. I will miss that it takes me 5 minutes to get out of my truck, because my entire clan of fur-children bombard my door, as soon as it opens. I will miss the nature, and the Botanical Garden of scenery; how the seasons change from golden to lush in literally a blink, and the flowering trees that envelope the hill; Yellow, Red, Orange; like an oil painting. The breezes that blow, the smell in the air and the tropical downpours that occur at exactly 2:59 PM every single green season day, are sensations that will stay with me, long after I am gone.

Yellow Flower Tree 4

 

I sure hope wherever I am going next, has grilled Mahi Mahi, fresh ceviche and Mojitos, because they have become a staple in my diet. There are breakfasts on the beach, fish tacos for lunch and arroz con pollo that round out the top of my list. Freshly picked vegetables, San Martin steaks and a bottle of Chilean wine for $10 complete most of my home cooked meals, and I don’t think I could live without Lizano sauce. Oh, wait a minute: I am supposed to be dead; I forgot. Scratch that comment. You get my point; I MISS those things.

Tank Tops Flip Flops Prior Newsletter Link

I tell you what I won’t miss; the USA Death Taxes. That one just kills me, literally. They have already hammered us for every single penny we ever made, raked us over the coals in the name of the less fortunate, and bent us over the barrel and made us feel guilty for actually accomplishing something in our lives, and now that I am dead they still want another HALF. I am not married and I don’t have any kids; I chose this route; my life is not a democracy. So my small nest egg is going to my two sisters, my niece and nephew and all of my close Costa Rican friends. I have asked my executor to PLEASE not send any of my money back to the USA. Of course, I am DEAD, so I don’t really have any say in the matter, but I am sure it will irk me for eternity knowing that I got screwed one last time by the I.R.S. It is not like I am the Tin Man and I don’t have a heart, but come on man; when does it stop. Obviously, after you are gone.

Uncle Sam

What am I going to miss the most? THE FIESTAS. Man, does this country know how to throw a party. From the World Cup to the local Saprissa games; Palmares and the Torres; New Year’s Eve to Semana Santa; Independence Day and Annexation week, these people live life right, and I am so thankful to have been a part of it. I was the black sheep of my family; a failed Rock n Roller, who sold pots and pans to cougars in their nighties, but it all lead me to here. I sure hope it doesn’t end soon. When my Roller Coaster finally comes to a stop, I have it all figured out. I have asked that my ashes be spread into the bay of Playa Hermosa, the most beautiful spot you have ever encountered. What a way to spend eternity.

Read about why you need a Costa Rican Will and how to prepare it – CLICK HERE

I am off to have some sunset cocktails, because you never know, it might be my last. Who could bring me heaven, when heaven is already here? Let’s hope I stick around for a while.

Pura Vida, see you soon.

Take care

Michael

Unfortunately, I had to put my good buddy Macho to sleep a few weeks ago. If you remember from a Newsletter a long time ago, he just showed up one day, realized he was the only male, and never left. He was a good soul, whose sand just ran out in his hour glass. I am so lucky that he shared some of his life with me. I miss you pal. About a week later, as I was driving through Coco, this young black dog jumped right in front of my truck. You could almost hear what he was saying. “Heh, I heard you have a job opening! I am your man!” Of course, he had no idea I was going to immediately take him to the vet, and have him neutered. I guess, the loss of your balls is a small price to pay to live in doggie paradise. Please welcome the newest member to my family, Manny.

Last Will and Testament

Costa Rican Will

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Buying and Selling Property in Costa Rica, Costa Rica Living, EX PATS in Costa Rica, Investing in Costa Rica

Do I need a Last Will and Testament in Costa Rica?

Costa Rican Will

If you are going to own any assets in Costa Rica, it is important to have a Costa Rican Will. Although the courts will accept a Will from another country, it can take months for it to be approved, before releasing your properties to your heirs. Whoever is executing your requests, will already have a lot on their hands, handling your estate, dealing with your burial etc. Without a Costa Rican Will, your beneficiary must fly down to Costa Rica and present your U.S.A. or Canada Will to a Costa Rican Probate Court. The court will obviously want to confirm that the document is valid and legal and that your death was real and not faked. Think about it; what a great scam. Showing up in another country with a bogus Will claiming you are the heir of someone’s home or land. This can take anywhere from 3 months to a year, depending on different circumstances. If you have no Will at all, it can take years to work its way through the Probate court. In the meantime, your beneficiaries will have no way to legally sell, rent or handle your properties or your bank accounts.

If you have a Last Will and Testament executed in Costa Rica in front of an attorney and notary, the process is very simple.  It can be almost immediate.  So I advise all my clients, to set this up from the very beginning when they purchase their first property. The attorney handling the closing can also prepare this document for a very reasonable fee.  In your file back home, you should have a copy of this document, along with your attorney’s information. You should also have your real estate agents contact information and any bank accounts and property managers’ information as well.

This way, in the unfortunate event of your death, it will be very easy for your heir to contact the attorney, gain access to the paperwork and legal ownership of the deed. They can talk to your real estate agent about the current value of the property, and also know who is handling the care of your property.

It is sad enough that you are no longer with us, but at least you can leave knowing that your heir will not have any difficulties obtaining ownership of your assets.

July 2015
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