Estate Planning

Deeper Dive into Advance Healthcare Directives

Posted on: October 23rd, 2020
When it comes to your healthcare, especially during these uncertain times, you need to ensure that two estate planning documents in particular are up to date. ...

Estate Planning After Personal Injury Settlements

Posted on: October 5th, 2020
A sudden and large infusion of cash can be overwhelming to an individual and the individual’s family, and without sound legal planning, can be lost or mishandled....

Conservation Easements: Preserving a Heritage With Tax Benefits

Posted on: October 1st, 2020
In general, a conservation easement is a tool used to protect natural resources....

What Happens If My Beneficiary Dies Before Me?

Posted on: September 28th, 2020
Sometimes a beneficiary of an estate or trust dies before the person leaving the inheritance. If this has happened to you, you may be wondering what is next. How does this event impact your original plans?...

Disaster Preparedness Month: How to Prepare for Whatever May Come Your Way

Posted on: September 18th, 2020
Because September is National Disaster Preparedness Month, we want you to be prepared for whatever life throws at you. ...

Why Your Heirs or Beneficiaries May Receive a Smaller Inheritance Than You Thought

Posted on: September 10th, 2020
The effort that you put into planning your estate today can have a significant impact on how much of your money and property end up in the hands of your heirs or beneficiaries. ...

Seven Ways to Avoid Family Fights over Your Property

Posted on: August 31st, 2020
Far too many families end up fighting, or at least experiencing tension, over a family inheritance. But it does not have to be that way....

How Do I Donate My Organs When I Die?

Posted on: August 12th, 2020
Organ donation is one of the most regulated aspects of the healthcare industry, and the legalities have very unique considerations. ...

Avoiding Financial Grief: How to Protect Your Significant Other from Frozen Accounts

Posted on: August 5th, 2020
The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. Nothing can truly prepare a person for such a loss. However, dealing with the financial stress of frozen bank accounts can exacerbate the stress....

Help! I’ve Been Named as a Guardian. What Do I Do?

Posted on: July 24th, 2020
Being a guardian is an important responsibility. If a family member or friend wishes to name you as a guardian for a child, it is important to seriously consider whether you have the time, patience, and ability to take on this role. ...

Sandwich Generation Month: Considerations When Caring for Both Children and Parents

Posted on: July 17th, 2020
If you have the documents necessary to know and carry out your parents’ or child’s wishes for their care, regardless of the situation, you can rest assured that they will receive the care they desire. ...

Summer Vacation Plans? Precautions and Preparations to Consider

Posted on: July 13th, 2020
After months of near confinement in our homes, many of us are stir-crazy and eager to travel to a vacation destination. Although more states are opening up, there are several precautions to consider and preparations to make as you plan your summer travels....

Why Your Marital Agreement Should Be Shown to Your Estate Planner

Posted on: July 6th, 2020
If you and your spouse have a marital agreement, it is crucial for you to provide a copy of it to your estate planning attorney to avoid conflicts between provisions in your estate planning and the marital agreement....

Kids Going Away To College? Why You Should Include Estate Planning in the Preparation

Posted on: June 30th, 2020
How can you make sure your kid is going to be safe at school, so far away from home? There is something, probably not yet on your to-do list, that absolutely can make all the difference. Bring your child to a local estate planning attorney. ...

Legal Requirements to Consider When Selecting an Executor

Posted on: June 29th, 2020
The person you choose to be your executor (sometimes called a personal representative) will play an extremely important role, as that person will be responsible for gathering, securing, managing, and ultimately distributing your money and property when you pass away....

How to Handle Savings Bonds in Estate Planning and at Death

Posted on: June 22nd, 2020
There are several estate planning issues you should keep in mind if you have savings bonds or plan to invest in them....

Assisted Reproductive Technology and the Real Impact on Estate Planning

Posted on: June 19th, 2020
The laws addressing ART vary widely from state to state, so it is important to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney in your state to ensure that your estate plan will achieve your goals. ...

Caught in the Undertow: How No Estate Plan (or a Bad One) Could Leave Your Family Overwhelmed

Posted on: June 12th, 2020
There are a number of dangers associated with failing to put a well-thought-out estate plan in place that could make your family members feel as though they are drowning if you were to pass away....

Things to Be Aware of When Administering a Hoarder's Estate

Posted on: June 2nd, 2020
If you have been named as the personal representative of a relative’s estate and discover that the deceased person’s home is packed, floor to ceiling, with collections, clothing, old mail, books, and papers, what should you do?...

Can a Non-U.S. Citizen Create an Estate Plan in the U.S.?

Posted on: May 27th, 2020
U.S. citizens, and non-citizens who meet the IRS’s definition of a “resident” of the United States, are subject to federal gift and estate taxes on all of their money and property, worldwide....

Writing Your Own Obituary as an Addition to Your Estate Plan

Posted on: May 13th, 2020
Because your obituary is all about you, you can emphasize any aspects of your life you wish. There is no correct format, so you are free to tell your story in the way you feel most comfortable, showcasing your personality. ...

Estate Planning Considerations for Restauranteurs

Posted on: May 8th, 2020
Failing to create an estate and business succession plan can lead to big headaches for your family, business associates, and employees—or could even lead to the loss of the restaurant. ...

Unclaimed Property - What is it, Where to find it, and Its Impact on Estate Planning and Administration

Posted on: May 4th, 2020
For most of us, every penny counts, so it is almost inconceivable that we could have lost track of any money or property. Regardless of how careful we are with our finances, it is possible for utility deposits, credit balances, unused gift certificates, banks accounts, and many more types of property or money to accidentally be forgotten or abandoned....

COVID-19: A Reminder of Why Estate Planning Is Important

Posted on: April 29th, 2020
Although most people are not likely to be in serious danger even if they come down with the coronavirus, it is a wake-up call to those who have been putting off creating or updating an estate plan....

Which Distribution Method Is Best? Showing Your Children the Love

Posted on: April 27th, 2020
There are a variety of ways that you can leave money and property to your children, and you can choose the method you think best takes your goals, including their wellbeing, into account....

Reconsidering Your Role in Others’ Estate Plans (How to Say No)

Posted on: April 22nd, 2020
If a family member or friend has asked you to serve as the executor of his or her estate or as trustee of a trust he or she is creating, there are a number of factors you should consider before accepting either of these important roles....

Spring Cleaning: Time to Clean Up Your Estate Planning

Posted on: April 7th, 2020
Your estate plan, like your home, periodically needs a thorough polishing. Your life circumstances are constantly changing, and an estate plan that perfectly met your needs a couple of years ago may now be cluttered with outdated provisions or documents. ...

Estate Planning is Like Building a Snowman

Posted on: March 20th, 2020
The foundation of a snowman is the large snowball at the bottom that acts as its base. Likewise, a trust is the foundation of your estate plan. ...

Common Mistakes with DIY Estate Plans

Posted on: March 13th, 2020
Even if your DIY will meets all your state’s requirements and is legally valid, the will alone is unlikely to be sufficient to address all of your estate planning needs....

American Heart Month: Who Should Be My Medical Agent?

Posted on: February 21st, 2020
The person you choose will be authorized to make critical health care decisions, including whether to consent to or refuse medical treatment and which health care providers or hospitals to use for your care. ...

Trusts - The Swiss Army Knife of Estate Planning

Posted on: December 20th, 2019
Trusts are a foundational estate planning tool with a solid history for being highly effective in ensuring a person’s wishes are carried out....

How is a corporate trustee different?

Posted on: November 29th, 2019
A trust is a legal arrangement in which a trustee holds and manages assets for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. ...

Seeing an Estate Planner? Three Key Questions to Ask

Posted on: November 22nd, 2019
Hiring an estate planner is an important decision as you are seeking advice on how to protect your loved ones once you are gone....

Murphy’s Law and Estate Planning

Posted on: November 15th, 2019
As the old adage goes “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Referred to as Murphy’s law, this well-known saying has no mercy. Sadly, estate planning is no exception to its wrath. ...

National Adoption Month: Taking Care of Your New Family Member

Posted on: November 8th, 2019
If you are in the process of adopting or have recently adopted a child, it is a great time to create or update your estate plan to ensure that it provides for your new family member in the way you intend....

Three Tips for Talking About Your Estate Plan During the Holidays

Posted on: November 1st, 2019
The holidays are right around the corner, bringing the joyous season of gathering with family and loved ones into full swing. It is the time to slow down, get caught up with loved ones, and enjoy the family and experience quality time around the dinner table. It is also a great idea to take this opportunity to review your estate plan and talk about the topic with your loved ones....

Your Fall “Legal Affairs” Checklist

Posted on: October 25th, 2019
With the fall season here, it’s an excellent time to review your affairs....

Do your parents have an estate plan?

Posted on: October 18th, 2019
Talking about the future with your parents -- including their estate matters, finances, and memorial wishes -- is one of the most important conversations you can have with them....

How to Successfully Make a “Large” Gift to Your Children or Grandchildren

Posted on: October 11th, 2019
If you are considering giving cash or property to someone, a little bit of planning can really help avoid negative consequences. ...

Should your child’s guardian and trustee be the same person?

Posted on: October 4th, 2019
Keep in mind that a guardian will provide day-to-day love, care, and support for your child. While the guardian you choose may be great with your children, he or she may not be great with money. ...

Five Considerations When Selecting a Guardian for Your Children

Posted on: September 27th, 2019
In the same manner that you can choose different individuals to manage the estate’s finances and your minor children’s day-to-day needs, you can also choose more than one guardian for your kids....

How an Estate Planning Letter of Intent Can Help Your Family

Posted on: September 13th, 2019
Estate planning can do much more than focus on finances, it can also provide for care of those you leave behind....

Are Your Documents Following the Same Script? Basics of Beneficiary Forms and Estate Planning

Posted on: September 5th, 2019
Who you have listed as a beneficiary -- and not having a beneficiary designation at all -- can have serious implications for your family after you have passed away....

Legal Considerations When Getting Your New College Student Ready to Go

Posted on: July 26th, 2019
Many parents are actively involved in their college-aged children’s care and responsibility. Once your child becomes 18 years of age, he or she is protected by HIPPA laws. This means health care professionals cannot provide medical information without your child’s signed consent, even though your child may still be on your health insurance. ...

Not Married? You’re not alone - but you still need a plan. Estate Planning for People Living Together, Bachelors, and Bachelorettes

Posted on: May 31st, 2019
Having a cohesive and well-drafted estate plan will ensure that you protect and provide for those you truly care about upon your death. ...

How Estate Planning Can Help You Dream About Your Future

Posted on: April 19th, 2019
There are several benefits of developing an estate plan with your legacy in mind. You can help the next generation become empowered to achieve competence, character, and confidence...

Who should I pick to be successor trustee?

Posted on: April 12th, 2019
When deciding who should be your successor trustee keep in mind the type and amount of assets held in your trust, the complexity of the terms of your trust document, and the qualifications of your candidates....

What do successor trustees and executors do?

Posted on: April 5th, 2019
Typically, a petition of probate must be filed with the court for an executor to be appointed. If the person agrees to be the executor, and no one objects, the court will issue letters of testamentary. ...

Why Your Estate Planner Needs to Know If You've Lent Money to Family

Posted on: February 25th, 2019
We have all heard stories of families torn apart because of disagreements over money. So, what can you do to make sure your intra-family loans help — rather than hurt — your family?...

Debt After Death: Why You Should Think About It When Estate Planning

Posted on: February 4th, 2019
A little bit of planning can go a long way in ensuring your family and loved ones are protected in the event of a tragedy....

Organizing for Tax (and Estate Planning) Season

Posted on: January 25th, 2019
The flurry of tax prep activity is the perfect opportunity to get your estate plan in order, too, and kill two birds with the proverbial stone....

Gift Giving the Tax-Free Way

Posted on: December 17th, 2018
Although it’s the season of giving, no one wants to share with the IRS. Luckily, the law provides you many opportunities to give gifts to family, friends, and charities tax-free. ...

Why a Spendthrift Trust Can Be a Great Solution for Your Heirs

Posted on: December 3rd, 2018
A spendthrift trust are created for the benefit of individuals who are not good with money, might easily fall into debt, may be easily defrauded or deceived, or have an addiction that may result in squandering of funds....

There’s Never A Better Time Than Now To Get Your Affairs in Order

Posted on: November 12th, 2018
The end of the year is a good time to reflect upon the year that has passed and focus on your aspirations for the future....

Four Reasons Why Estate Planning Isn’t Just for the Top 1 Percent

Posted on: November 5th, 2018
There is a common misconception that estate plans are only for the ultra-rich - the top 1 percent, 10%, 20%, or some other arbitrary determination of “enough” money. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. ...

Estate Planning Isn’t Spooky! But not planning can be downright terrifying.

Posted on: October 29th, 2018
The idea of implementing an estate plan might be one of the scariest things you have to confront as an adult. But estate planning does not have to make chills run down your spine....

If I Don't Have an Estate, Do I Really Need an Estate Plan?

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018
You don’t need to have a summer house in the Hamptons or a private art collection big enough to rival MOMA to consider yourself the owner of an estate. In fact, virtually anyone who owns anything has an “estate” in the eyes of the law....

4 Estate Planning Steps You Must Take After the Death of a Spouse

Posted on: October 8th, 2018
When a spouse passes away, thinking about “the estate” might be the last thing on your mind. And while it’s necessary to give yourself ample time to process the loss of your partner, it’s also imperative you talk with your estate planning attorney sooner rather than later — or you might be facing some pretty unpleasant consequences....

Estate Planning: Why Me, Why Now, and Is a Will Enough?

Posted on: September 24th, 2018
You may feel that you are not wealthy enough or not old enough to bother or care. Or you may already have a Will and feel that you are all set on that front. Whatever your current position, consider these common misconceptions about estate planning....

The Perils of Joint Property

Posted on: September 17th, 2018
Joint ownership can cause unintended consequences and complications. And it's worth considering some of these, before deciding that joint ownership is the best way to pass on assets to your heirs....

Isn’t There Already A Law That Leaves Everything To My Spouse And Kids?

Posted on: September 10th, 2018
When it comes to asset division, in most cases, state intestacy law presumes that a family consists of a husband, wife, and their natural-born children. But, that’s not necessarily the way many families are structured, and things can become legally complicated quickly. ...

Do you really need a trust?

Posted on: August 28th, 2018
One of the primary advantages of having a trust is that it provides the ability to bypass the publicity, time, and expense of probate. ...

Do You Really Need A Will

Posted on: August 27th, 2018
Without a will or other estate plan - referred to as intestacy - you have no control and your state’s rules determine who gets what after your death....

Intestate

Posted on: August 23rd, 2018
Folks who die “intestate” are those who die without having created their own estate plan. As a result, state intestacy laws rule, determining who gets what....

Young Adults Need Estate Planning, Too

Posted on: August 18th, 2018
Once a child turns 18, parents lose the legal ability to make decisions for their child or even to find out basic information. Learning you cannot see your college student's grades without his/her permission can be mildly frustrating. But a medical emergency can take this frustration to a completely different level. ...

Tips for Working with a Law Firm

Posted on: August 13th, 2018
When you hire an attorney for estate planning, help with a loved one’s estate, or any other legal matter you want to make sure that the work gets done as quickly as possible and at the best possible value....

Estate Planning That Expresses Who You Are - 5 Things to Talk About with Your Family

Posted on: August 8th, 2018
You intend to pass along your wealth through your estate plan, but what about your wisdom? Ensuring you accomplish both calls for a family meeting to have a conversation about your money, your legacy, and your core principles. ...

Money Isn’t Everything in Estate Planning

Posted on: July 23rd, 2018
Money may be the most talked about wealth contained within a person’s estate, but the riches of their experience and wisdom can mean even more to family members down the line. ...

Money Isn’t Everything in Estate Planning

Posted on: July 9th, 2018
Reinforcement of family traditions can be built into your estate plan alongside your wishes regarding your money, property, and belongings. ...

How to Protect Your Child’s Inheritance from His or Her Untrustworthy Spouse

Posted on: June 25th, 2018
There are many ways to structure your child’s inheritance to help ensure it will remain in the family for future generations....

Estate Planning for Military Families

Posted on: June 12th, 2018
Members of the military often experience frequent moves, have access to lots of government benefits after service, and can be subject to some unusual tax rules. For these reasons, estate planning for military families is more complicated than most. ...

Learning from Your Mistakes Can Become Your Teaching Moment

Posted on: June 11th, 2018
One part of advancing ourselves is learning from our own mistakes; another part is learning from the mistakes of others. ...

Five Tips to Remove Financial Hassle from Your Life

Posted on: April 2nd, 2018
Simplifying your financial life may take some time and concentrated effort....

Wealth Protection: Avoiding Losses

Posted on: March 26th, 2018
Any time you can prevent or reduce a loss, you preserve wealth....

The Truth About Personal Risk Management, Part 2: Using Trusts in Estate Planning

Posted on: March 12th, 2018
Trusts can hold investments, property and insurance policies, with benefits of reducing various taxes and protecting your wealth from lawsuits and creditors. ...

The Truth About Personal Risk Management, Part 1: Insurance

Posted on: January 29th, 2018
Personal risk management is being aware of the risks in your home and in your life, and then planning how to handle those risks. ...

Organizing for Tax (and Estate Planning) Season

Posted on: January 22nd, 2018
It’s the start of a new year, which means tax season—and this year’s April 17th IRS filing deadline—is just around the corner. Soon you’ll be receiving tax forms such as your W-2 or 1099's, and you’ll start thinking about the life events that could affect your taxes in various ways....

What to Expect from Estate Planning in 2018

Posted on: January 15th, 2018
As we all look ahead to 2018, let’s consider a few things to watch regarding estate planning, so you and your family can be completely protected....

Budgeting, Part 3: Instilling Money Values in Children and Grandchildren

Posted on: January 8th, 2018
Having regular family discussions about household finances, shared money goals and general money concepts will, over time, communicate your values to your children and help them learn to be financially responsible adults. ...

Budgeting, Part 2: A Fulfilling Method for Setting Spending Priorities

Posted on: December 18th, 2017
Determine what is most important to you. Envision how you would like to see yourself living life. ...

Budgeting, Part 1: Budgeting as a Friend and not a Foe

Posted on: December 11th, 2017
Budgets allocate resources to the areas of highest impact or interest. When a budget is structured based on priorities and values, much of the controlling element is removed....

Budgeting as a Friend and not a Foe

Posted on: November 13th, 2017
Creating and staying on budget can empower you and help you feel in control of your earnings, your spending and your future...

How to Make a Family Meeting a Successful Part of the Estate Planning Process

Posted on: November 6th, 2017
You've finished your estate planning. But have you, really? Have you explained your planning to your family? ...

Providing for Your Parents in Your Estate Plan

Posted on: October 30th, 2017
What would happen to your parents if they rely on you for physical and/or financial support, and something happens to you?...

Should You Disinherit a Child?

Posted on: October 20th, 2017
How we choose to include our children in our estate plans says a good deal about our values and faith. Not disinheriting a child who has caused grief and heartache can convey a message of love and forgiveness, while disinheriting a child, even for what seems to be good cause, can convey a lack of love, anger and resentment....

Incorporating Faith and Values in Estate Planning

Posted on: October 11th, 2017
For many, passing along religious beliefs and values to the next generation is just as important as passing along financial wealth and tangible assets. Estate planning creates many opportunities to do this....

Young Adults Need Estate Planning, Too

Posted on: August 23rd, 2017
Once a child turns 18, parents lose the legal ability to make decisions for their child or even to find out basic information....

Estate Planning for Young Families

Posted on: August 14th, 2017
While none of us expects to die while our family is young, planning for the possibility is prudent and responsible....

Life Insurance: How Much and What Kind?

Posted on: July 10th, 2017
Life insurance can be an affordable way to provide for our children, spouse, a sibling, aging parents and others if we should die while they are depending on us. ...

While estate planning is important for everyone, women especially need to understand estate planning and have a plan of their own in place.

Posted on: June 21st, 2017
Because women, on average, live longer than men, there is an increased need to plan for physical and/or mental incapacity that can occur in later years. ...

Estate planning encompasses at least the legal and financial elements, but it may include more, as estate planning often points out the need to plan in other areas.

Posted on: May 12th, 2017
Estate planning is not simply the documents prepared by an attorney, nor is it the insurance and financial plan recommended by a financial advisor. Properly done, estate planning encompasses at least the legal and financial elements, but it may include more, as estate planning often points out the need to plan in other areas. ...

Four common mistakes in estate planning

Posted on: April 14th, 2017
An experienced attorney can guide and assist you in making smart decisions about your estate planning, including who should be the guardian of minor children; how to provide for a child or elderly parent with special needs; how to provide for children fairly (which may not be equally); and how to protect an inheritance from creditors and irresponsible spending....

Life Insurance and your estate plan

Posted on: January 18th, 2017
The main reasons most people have life insurance are to pay final expenses (medical, funeral, burial, etc.), replace an income stream and/or create wealth for our dependents after we die. Life insurance can also play an important role in business, estate planning and charitable giving....

Estate Planning Today Must Include Digital Assets and Social Media

Posted on: January 11th, 2017
It wasn’t very long ago that we had only paper for financial and tax records. We could simply point to a file cabinet or drawer and tell someone, “Everything is in there when the time comes.” But now we have computers and the internet, and so much of our lives is online. Unless we include our digital assets and social media in our estate planning, our family or administrator may not be able to find critical documents....

Posted on: January 5th, 2017
JTWROS, Joint tenants with right of survivorship, is a form of joint ownership with a survivorship feature. ...

When would I use a disclaimer?

Posted on: December 19th, 2016
From time-to-time, we advise surviving spouses to use a disclaimer (a legal “no thank you”) to pass an asset to the next beneficiary, which is often themselves or their children....

What is a disclaimer?

Posted on: December 16th, 2016
...

How do I ensure that there isn't a will contest?

Posted on: December 12th, 2016
We live in a litigious society and anyone can sue anyone for anything. But, don’t be discouraged. There’s a lot you can do to reduce the likelihood of a will contest. ...

How do I balance the interests of my children and my spouse from a second marriage?

Posted on: December 9th, 2016
We’ll help you set up a loving estate plan that protects and provides for whomever you’d like - often that’s children and, sometimes, a second or third spouse. ...

What if I end up using up my retirement account during my lifetime?

Posted on: December 5th, 2016
By all means, use your retirement funds as you think best. Even after you set up a standalone retirement trust, you’ll have full control and the right to enjoy your retirement funds for years. However, if you’re like most people, you will still have assets in your retirement account when you die;...
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