Latest Blog Posts

Does Your Revocable Living Trust Reduce Your Estate Tax Bill?

Posted on: June 26th, 2017
What if you name both individuals and charities as beneficiaries of your trust after you die? The portion of the trust property passing to the individual beneficiaries will be subject to estate taxes and the portion passing to the charities will be distributed free from estate taxes....

Taking Care of a Valuable Asset (You)

Posted on: June 23rd, 2017
Too often, we let ourselves slip to the bottom of the priority list. But when you start to think of yourself as your most valuable asset and begin to nourish and protect this asset, you will perform at your best and increase your value....

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. ...

What is an SRT?

Posted on: May 17th, 2017
What is an SRT?...

The Trust Protection Myth: Your Revocable Trust Protects Against Lawsuits

Posted on: May 15th, 2017
While Trusts commonly provide asset protection for beneficiaries - few Trusts protect assets owned by the person who created the Trust. ...

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. ...

Steps you can and should take now to protect your assets

Posted on: May 11th, 2017
The best time to do asset protection planning is before a claim arises....

What are contract assets?

Posted on: May 1st, 2017
Contract assests, are not controlled by your will or trust, they’re controlled by the contract itself....

Should I Write My Own Will?

Posted on: April 24th, 2017
Legally, you have the right to draft your own documents; however, that doesn't mean you have the right to have them actually work....

Understanding Property Losses.

Posted on: April 17th, 2017
Property insurance provides protection against most risks to property, such as fire, theft and some weather damage. However, if property has appreciated and there isn't sufficient insurance for replacement value, any losses must be paid out of pocket. ...

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....

What is a beneficiary designation?

Posted on: April 12th, 2017
What is a beneficiary designation?...

Why does probate take so long?

Posted on: April 10th, 2017
Many people fail to create an estate plan, so probate is required. Frustratingly, probate can drag on for months - or even years. ...

Some strategies that can restore a person's self-confidence and avoid financial failures in the future.

Posted on: April 7th, 2017
Most of us will admit to having made some financial mistakes we regret--running up credit card debt, impulse buying, or making a bad investment or business decision. While there can be significant devastation, the key is to move beyond regret into productive action. ...

What assets require probate?

Posted on: March 17th, 2017
Many believe because they took the time to create a Trust, their estate will automatically avoid probate. Unfortunately, this is a false sense of security....

Do I have to name my spouse as the beneficiary of my retirement account?

Posted on: February 21st, 2017
You can name someone else or a trust as the beneficiary....

Posted on: February 16th, 2017
...

The Shocking Truth About Asset Protection Planning

Posted on: February 16th, 2017
The first step in protecting your assets is to understand that planning to preserve and secure your property in advance of a claim, or the threat of a claim, is a legitimate form of wealth planning. ...

Taking Care of a Valuable Asset (You)

Posted on: February 15th, 2017
Too often, we let ourselves slip to the bottom of the priority list. But when you start to think of yourself as your most valuable asset and begin to nourish and protect this asset, you will perform at your best and increase your value. ...

Why You Need To Review Your Estate Plan

Posted on: February 9th, 2017
Every state has laws for distributing the property of someone who dies without an estate plan—but not very many people would be pleased with the results....

How to Stop Worrying About Running Out of Money in Retirement

Posted on: January 27th, 2017
Many retirees today worry about having enough money for their retirement. Of special concern is if there will be enough money to provide for the surviving spouse. ...

What Is A Living Will

Posted on: January 27th, 2017
What is a living will? Does your family know your wishes if anything should happen to you?...

Living Probate

Posted on: January 26th, 2017
With people living longer due to advances in medicine and changes in lifestyle, odds are that most of us will become disabled for some time before we die and may need long-term care....

Areas in which we may pay more than necessary

Posted on: January 24th, 2017
Sharing good financial practices with your children and/or grandchildren can be part of your legacy, as you help them prepare to be prudent and responsible beneficiaries...

Why You Should Name a Stand-Alone Retirement Trust as Beneficiary

Posted on: January 20th, 2017
Naming the right beneficiary for tax-deferred retirement accounts is critical. Most people want to continue the tax-deferred growth for as long as possible, pay the least amount in income taxes and get the maximum stretch-out. Required distributions after the owner dies will be based on the new beneficiary’s age and life expectancy, so the younger the beneficiary (like a child or grandchild), the longer the stretch out....

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....

Where People Waste Money...And Actions to Consider

Posted on: January 17th, 2017
In many ways, it is the routine purchases that occur without planning that subsequently accumulate to large amounts....

Why You Need An Estate Plan

Posted on: January 13th, 2017
Estate planning ensures a secure future for your loved ones and protects both your personal and business assets....

Beneficiary designations

Posted on: January 12th, 2017
Many people use beneficiary designations, and for good reason. Some significant assets, including life insurance policies, IRAs, retirement plans and even bank accounts, allow a beneficiary to be named....

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....

Are you Wasting Your Money?

Posted on: January 10th, 2017
Most of us are guilty of wasting money in one way or another. Often we are so busy that we pay too much for convenience, and we don't comparison shop or look for bargains. ...

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;...

What does “tenants in common" mean?

Posted on: December 2nd, 2016
Tenants in common is a form of joint ownership in which the owners can own equal or unequal portions of the property. ...

What does a trust protector do? Do I need one?

Posted on: November 14th, 2016
A trust protector’s duty is to make sure the trust maker’s intent is carried out. ...

3 Tips for Overwhelmed Personal Representatives

Posted on: November 11th, 2016
While it is an honor to be named as an executor of a will or estate, it can also be a sobering and daunting responsibility. Being a personal representative requires a high level of organization, foresight, and attention to detail to meet all responsibilities and ensure that all beneficiaries receive the assets to which they are entitled. ...

Pet Trust - Lessons to Learn

Posted on: November 8th, 2016
Not long ago, pet trusts were thought of as little more than eccentric things that famous people did for their pets when they had too much money. These days, pet trusts are considered mainstream....

I’m the beneficiary of a trust set up by my spouse when she died. The tax laws have changed significantly since then. Do I have to go to court to change the terms of the trust?

Posted on: November 7th, 2016
The simplest way to modify the trust would be if there are provisions within the trust that allow a private modification. ...

REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST

Posted on: March 15th, 2016
REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST based estate plan provides instructions that will allow you to...

The Living Will Registry

Posted on: May 22nd, 2015
A secure, on-line database called the U.S. Living Will Registry provides a means for you to store you advance directive. This allows your document to be easily accessible to you or by a healthcare provider anywhere at anytime.You can register your advance directive and/or organ donor information by several different methods:...

Estate planning for a young family

Posted on: May 8th, 2015
Many young families put off estate planning because they are young and healthy, or because they don't think they can afford it. But even a healthy, young adult can be taken suddenly by an accident or illness. And while none of us expects to die while our family is young, planning for the possibility is prudent and responsible. Also, estate planning does not have to be expensive; a young family can start with the essential legal documents and term life insurance, then update and upgrade as their financial situation improves. A good estate plan for a young family will include the following:...

Determine replacement values so you will have adequate insurance.

Posted on: May 6th, 2015
Replacement value is the amount it would cost to replace an item or structure at its condition before the loss occurred. When an item is covered by a replacement value policy, the cost of a similar item when purchased today determines the compensation amount for that item, regardless of depreciation....

Charitable Giving Finding Your Passion and Renewing Your Life

Posted on: April 27th, 2015
Americans like helping people and giving back to our communities. You may have already found your passion and are doing what you can to help. But if you are still searching for a way to make a difference, give some thought to what inspires you or what you care about deeply. It could be the arts, reading, the elderly, our military, disadvantaged children, teen mothers, or a clean planet. There are many organizations that need volunteers and financial help to do their good works. And, of course, most churches and religious organizations offer numerous ways to volunteer in your community and around the world. ...

Three Social Security traps to avoid when taking your benefits.

Posted on: April 21st, 2015
What you don't know about Social Security benefits can hurt you and your spouse for the rest of your lives. Here are three traps to avoid when taking your benefits. The Key Takeaways o The longer you can postpone taking your Social Security benefits, the larger the amount you and your spouse will receive over your lifetimes. o Continuing to work after you start receiving benefits early can temporarily reduce the amount of your benefits. o It is important to seek the advice of a retirement specialist who can help you navigate the rules of Social Security to your best benefit. ...

5 Good Reasons to Decant a Trust

Posted on: February 13th, 2015
Today many estate plans contain irrevocable trusts that will continue for the benefit of a spouse's lifetime and then for the benefit of several generations. Since these trusts are designed to span multiple decades, it is important that they include trust decanting provisions to address changes in circumstances, beneficiaries, and governing laws....

Who’s Going to Get It: Do You Really Know the Beneficiaries of Your Dynasty Trust?

Posted on: February 6th, 2015
Today many estate plans contain irrevocable dynasty trusts that will continue for the benefit of a spouse's lifetime and then for the benefit of several generations. Since these trusts are designed to span multiple decades, it is important that they clearly define who will be included as trust beneficiaries at each generation....

How Powers of Appointment Can Improve Your Trus

Posted on: January 30th, 2015
Today many estate plans contain trusts that will continue for the benefit of a spouse's lifetime and then for the benefit of several generations. Since these trusts are designed to span multiple decades, it is important for the trust creator to consider including powers of appointment in the trust agreement to allow trust beneficiaries to be added or excluded at each generation....

The Wrong Successor Trustee Can Derail Your Final Wishes

Posted on: January 23rd, 2015
Today many estate plans contain irrevocable trusts that will continue for the benefit of a surviving spouse's lifetime and then for the benefit of several generations. Since these trusts are designed to span multiple decades, it is crucial to choose the right succession of trustees. ...

Make an Achievable 2015 New Year’s Resolution – Get an Estate Plan Checkup!

Posted on: January 16th, 2015
With 2015 right around the corner, it's time to start thinking about your new year's resolutions. It doesn't matter whether you have an estate plan or don't, one important item to add to your list is getting an estate plan checkup....

4 Tips for Avoiding a Will or Trust Contest

Posted on: January 9th, 2015
A will or trust contest can derail your final wishes, rapidly deplete your estate, and tear your loved ones apart. But with proper planning, you can help your family avoid a potentially disastrous will or trust contest....

Time is Running Out for Certain Estates to Make the Federal Portability Election

Posted on: January 2nd, 2015
As a result of a 2010 tax law, a surviving spouse can receive his or her deceased spouse's unused estate tax exemption. This is called a 'portability' election. You may have seen it called the 'deceased spousal exclusion amount' or 'DSUE amount.'...

What the 2015 Inflation Adjustments for the Estate Tax Exemption

Posted on: December 29th, 2014
The Internal Revenue Service has released the official inflation adjustments that will affect 2015 federal reporting for estate taxes, gift taxes, generation-skipping transfer taxes, and estate and trust income taxes....

2015 Changes to State Death Taxes

Posted on: December 26th, 2014
If you live or own property in one of the 20 jurisdictions listed below, then you may have a state death tax issue that requires planning....

The Clock is Ticking on Maxing Out Your 2014 Retirement Plan Contributions

Posted on: December 22nd, 2014
With the end of 2014 fast approaching, now is the time to take a look at your year-to-date retirement plan contributions to see where yours stand when compared with the 2014 contribution limits....

An Estate Planning Checklist to Facilitate Wealth Transfer

Posted on: December 12th, 2014
Studies have shown that 70% of family wealth is lost by the end of the second generation and 90% by the end of the third.Help your loved ones avoid becoming one of these statistics. You need to educate and update your heirs about your wealth transfer goals and the plan you have put in place to achieve these goals....

Year End Estate Planning Tip #5

Posted on: December 5th, 2014
Don't let the chaos of the holiday season prevent you from avoiding federal gift tax by making 'annual exclusion' gifts, medical payments gifts, and educational gifts....

Year End Estate Planning Tip #4 – Check the Privacy of Your Estate Plan

Posted on: November 24th, 2014
With the end of the year fast approaching, now is the time to fine tune your estate plan before you get caught up in the chaos of the holiday season. One area of planning that many people overlook is ensuring that their final wishes remain private....

Year End Estate Planning Tip #3 – Check Your Mental Disability Plan

Posted on: November 21st, 2014
With the end of the year fast approaching, now is the time to fine tune your estate plan before you get caught up in the chaos of the holiday season. One area of planning that many people overlook is making sure their mental disability plan is up to date....

Strategies for Reducing the Income Tax Squeeze on Irrevocable Trusts

Posted on: November 19th, 2014
Under federal income tax laws, irrevocable, non-grantor trusts (such as Bypass Trusts and Dynasty Trusts) are subject to highly compressed income tax brackets....

Year End Estate Planning Tip #2 – Check Your Beneficiary Designations

Posted on: November 17th, 2014
With the end of the year fast approaching, now is the time to fine tune your estate plan before you get caught up in the chaos of the holiday season. One area of planning that many people overlook is their beneficiary designations....

Year End Estate Planning Tip #1 – Check Your Estate Tax Planning

Posted on: November 14th, 2014
With the end of the year fast approaching, now is the time to fine tune your estate plan before you get caught up in the chaos of the holiday season. One area that married couples should revisit is their estate tax planning. ...

If You Die Without a Will, Does Your Spouse Inherit Your Entire Estate?

Posted on: November 7th, 2014
If you are married and you die without a Last Will and Testament, you may mistakenly believe that your spouse will still inherit your entire estate. Not so fast. Who will inherit your estate depends on several different factors:...

How to Minimize Legal Fees After Death

Posted on: November 3rd, 2014
Death is a costly business. Aside from funeral expenses, legal fees can take a big chunk out of how much is left for your loved ones after you're gone.But it doesn't have to be this way. Careful planning can minimize the legal fees your loved ones will pay after you die. Here's how:...

3 Asset Protection Tips You Can Use Now

Posted on: October 27th, 2014
A common misconception is that only wealthy families and people in high risk professions need to put together an asset protection plan. But in reality, anyone can be sued. A car accident, foreclosure, unpaid medical bills, or an injured tenant can result in a monetary judgment that will decimate your finances. Below are three tips that you can use right now to protect your assets from creditors, predators and lawsuits. ...

Does Your Revocable Living Trust Reduce Your Estate Tax Bill?

Posted on: October 24th, 2014
Many people believe that once they set up and fund a revocable living trust, property held in the trust will avoid estate taxes after they die. In reality, this may or may not be true depending on your choice of beneficiaries and the terms written into your trust agreement....

Estate Planning Awareness Week

Posted on: October 20th, 2014
PRESS RELEASE Estate Planning Awareness Week is October 20 -26, 2014...

Will Your Revocable Living Trust Avoid Probate? It Depends.

Posted on: October 3rd, 2014
If you've set up a Revocable Living Trust, congratulations! You're definitely on the right track. But...you're only half way there. Many believe because they took the time to create a Trust, their estate will automatically avoid probate. Unfortunately, this is a false sense of security. ...

Estate Planning for Young Families

Posted on: September 26th, 2014
Many young families put off estate planning because they are young and healthy, or because they don't think they can afford it. But even a healthy, young adult can be taken suddenly by an accident or illness. And while none of us expects to die while our family is young, planning for the possibility is prudent and responsible. Also, estate planning does not have to be expensive; a young family can start with the essential legal documents and term life insurance, then update and upgrade as their financial situation improves. A good estate plan for a young family will include the following:...

Why Does Probate Take So Long?

Posted on: September 26th, 2014
Probate can be easily avoided, but most estates are dragged through the process. Why? Many people fail to create an estate plan, so probate is required. And - others plan with just a Will, so probate is required. As a result, assets end up at the mercy of a probate judge, open to public scrutiny, and delayed passing to beneficiaries ...

Should I Write My Own Will?

Posted on: September 19th, 2014
I'm sure you have heard this less than eloquent phrase before - 'Garbage in, garbage out.' The phrase is typically used in computer programming and scientific research. Unfortunately, it also applies to the law, legal documents, and writing your own Will. What's Wrong With Writing Your Own Estate Plan? ...

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Will: 3 Critical Mistakes

Posted on: September 12th, 2014
Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died from a drug overdose in February 2014. Sadly, he left behind three young children - and a fortune estimated to be worth $35 million. ...

3 Ways to Minimize Estate Planning Fees

Posted on: September 5th, 2014
Today, it is impossible to put together even a simple estate plan without the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. Why? Because estate planning laws vary greatly from state to state and these laws are extremely convoluted and constantly changing....

The Trust Protection Myth: Your Revocable Trust Protects Against Lawsuits

Posted on: August 29th, 2014
WARNING: Many people believe once they set up a Revocable Living Trust and transfer assets into the Trust, those assets are protected from lawsuits. This is absolutely not true. ...

Lifetime QTIP Trusts – The Gift That Keeps Giving

Posted on: August 22nd, 2014
Estate planning for married couples can be tricky when one spouse is significantly wealthier than the other and each spouse wants different beneficiaries to ultimately inherit their estate. One solution to this problem is the Lifetime QTIP Trust. ...

Discretionary Trusts – How to Protect Your Beneficiaries From Bad Decisions and Outs

Posted on: August 15th, 2014
Leaving your hard-earned assets outright to your children, grandchildren or other beneficiaries after you die will make their inheritance easy prey for creditors, predators, and divorcing spouses. Instead, consider using discretionary trusts for the benefit of each of your beneficiaries. ...

Does Your Revocable Living Trust Reduce Your Estate Tax Bill?

Posted on: August 8th, 2014
Many people believe that once they set up and fund a revocable living trust, property held in the trust will avoid estate taxes after they die. In reality, this may or may not be true depending on your choice of beneficiaries and the terms written into your trust agreement....

Will Your Revocable Living Trust Avoid Probate? It Depends

Posted on: August 8th, 2014
If you've set up a Revocable Living Trust, congratulations! You're definitely on the right track. But...you're only half way there. Many believe because they took the time to create a Trust, their estate will automatically avoid probate. Unfortunately, this is a false sense of security....

How to Get Organized to Meet With Your Estate Planning Attorney

Posted on: July 25th, 2014
OK, great! You've finally decided it's time to meet with an estate planning attorney and get your affairs in order. It's time to make sure your family is protected....

Estate Planning Basics for Newlyweds – How to Get Prepared for the Unexpected

Posted on: July 18th, 2014
It's that time of year - the time for beautiful weddings, fun receptions, delicious cakes, special gifts, and romantic honeymoons. While this is a joyous time for everyone, it's also time for you and your new spouse to plan for your future - for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health....

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Inherited IRAs are Not Protected from Creditors

Posted on: July 11th, 2014
On June 12, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court--in a unanimous decision--ruled that Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) inherited by anyone other than a spouse are not retirement funds and therefore are not protected from the beneficiary's creditors in bankruptcy....

Parental Warning: If You Own Your Property this Way, You May Accidentally Disinherit

Posted on: July 4th, 2014
Owning property as Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship is easy, common, and often disastrous. Sadly, children - both minor and adult - are often disinherited....

AB Trusts – Do You Need to Get Rid of Yours?

Posted on: June 27th, 2014
Are you married and is the last time you and your spouse updated your estate plan more than a few years ago? Then chances are your estate plan contains good old 'AB Trust' planning (also called 'Marital and Family Trusts' or 'QTIP' and 'Bypass Trusts') which, up until 2011, was the only way for married couples to double the value of their federal estate tax exemptions. All of this changed in 2011 when 'portability' of the estate tax exemption between spouses was introduced for the first time....

What if Treating Your Children Fairly Means Unequal Inheritances?

Posted on: June 20th, 2014
When planning their estate, most parents express the desire to treat their children equally out of a sense of fairness. However, sometimes being fair or doing what's right by your children may not mean equal or the same inheritances. ...

Solidifying the Adviser Relationship through Creative Trust Planning

Posted on: June 13th, 2014
...

Protecting Against Financial Fraud in Charitable Giving

Posted on: June 6th, 2014
Americans are very generous when it comes to charitable giving. In addition, lower earners give more proportionately than higher earners. Perhaps this is because lower earners understand how easily a family can slip into financial crisis through the loss of a job or medical expenses. The thought of 'that could be me' makes people very sympathetic to helping others in need, and many cheerfully give their hard-earned money to try to help people. People of faith tend to be generous and faithful givers, and Americans, in general, are quick to help whenever tragedy or devastation strikes anywhere in the world....

Are You Wasting Money? Part Two: Food, Clothing and Entertainment

Posted on: May 30th, 2014
In Part One of this series on wasting money, we looked at housing, interest and transportation--areas in which you or your loved ones may be wasting larger amounts of money. In Part Two, we will look at how money can be wasted in everyday areas of life--specifically food, clothing and entertainment....

Are You Wasting Money? Part One: Housing, Interest, and Transportation

Posted on: May 23rd, 2014
Most of us are guilty of wasting money in one way or another. Often we are so busy that we pay too much for convenience, and we don't comparison shop or look for bargains. Sometimes we waste money because we just stay in the same routines--shopping at the same stores, eating at the same places, using the same services. And sometimes, especially if we don't keep good records of how we spend our money, we may not even realize how much money we are wasting....

How to Stop Worrying About Running Out of Money in Retirement

Posted on: May 16th, 2014
Many retirees today worry about having enough money for their retirement. Of special concern is if there will be enough money to provide for the surviving spouse. This is called 'shortfall risk,' and it is a valid concern. People are living longer and health care costs continue rising, especially long-term care which many seniors will need. In addition, the recent recession has given us setbacks in investments and record low interest rates. When combined, these issues can have a serious effect on retirement savings and projected income. But there are some things you can do now to help manage your shortfall risk and protect your assets. ...

Understanding Losses: Property

Posted on: May 9th, 2014
Property insurance provides protection against most risks to property, such as fire, theft and some weather damage. However, if property has appreciated and there isn't sufficient insurance for replacement value, any losses must be paid out of pocket. To protect your wealth from these kinds of losses, it is important to determine replacement values so you will have adequate insurance. ...

Wealth Protection: Avoiding Losses

Posted on: May 2nd, 2014
You can't create wealth until you preserve it first. Each dollar lost unnecessarily isn't just a single dollar lost, but a compounded dollar lost. A dollar not lost allows wealth to compound from a higher floor. Losses can occur from many places beyond investments: property, income, taxes and fees. It is well worth paying for the expertise of professional advisors who are able to prevent or reduce losses in all of these areas. ...

Understanding Losses: Compounding Interest

Posted on: April 30th, 2014
Most investors are familiar with the magic of compounding interest but they often fail to realize that when the portfolio loses money, the math of compounding works against them. That's because when a dollar is lost, it is not just a dollar but a compounded dollar that is lost, so the investor must regain more just to break even...

Understanding Losses: Liability Exposure

Posted on: April 25th, 2014
We live in a litigious society. Lawsuits abound, whether deserved or not. If you own property or stock that was purchased at a low price and has had high appreciation, it is at risk to litigation and creditors--even if you are not in a high-risk profession. Others may be in a private business such as medicine or law that bring with it additional exposures to monitor....

Aligning Insurance Products within a Planning Structure

Posted on: April 18th, 2014
We use a variety of insurance products to manage risk in different areas of our lives in order to protect our wealth from losses that can come from property damage, businesses we own, disability, retirement and death. Instead of considering these products as separate items, make them part of an integrated, overall risk management plan. ...

What’s On Your Worry List?

Posted on: April 11th, 2014
A comprehensive financial plan that is effectively executed delivers dollar savings in improved investment returns, lower taxes, lower fees, more efficient wealth and more stable income. However, an important outcome of this process addresses what may be on your worry list: running out of money, family strife, unexpected losses and making financial mistakes. ...

Three Social Security Traps

Posted on: April 4th, 2014
What you don't know about Social Security benefits can hurt you and your spouse for the rest of your lives. Here are three traps to avoid when taking your benefits....

Five Tips to Remove Financial Hassle from Your Life

Posted on: March 28th, 2014
Everyone faces hassles in life. We can't escape them completely, but if we can minimize them, our quality of life improves. There are hassles in managing your finances and wealth, too. Here are five tips that will help you get financial aggravation under control....

Who Needs A Estate Plan?

Posted on: March 21st, 2014
If you're reading this, you need an estate plan. Why? The short answer is 'Everyone, age 18 and older needs an estate plan.' It doesn't matter if you are old or young, if you have built up considerable wealth or if you are just entering adulthood --you need a written plan to keep you in control and to protect yourself and those you love. ...

Recovering Emotionally from Past Financial Errors

Posted on: March 14th, 2014
Most of us will admit to having made some financial mistakes we regret--running up credit card debt, impulse buying, or making a bad investment or business decision. While there can be significant devastation, the key is to move beyond regret into productive action. What, then, are some strategies that can restore a person's self-confidence and avoid financial failures in the future? ...

Learning from Your Mistakes Can Become Your Teaching Moment

Posted on: March 7th, 2014
Everyone makes financial mistakes. The key is to learn from them, try not to repeat them and then pass on this hard-earned wisdom to your loved ones as an element of your financial legacy. ...

Are You Wasting Money? Part Three: Taxes, Insurance, Not Bidding and/or Negotiating

Posted on: February 28th, 2014
So far in this series on wasting money, we have looked at how people may overpay for housing, interest, transportation, food, clothing and entertainment. In this last part, we will look at a few more areas in which we may pay more than necessary--taxes, insurance, not obtaining bids for services, and not negotiating for large purchases. ...

Passion Investing as a Spark to Your Life

Posted on: February 21st, 2014
Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and over 50% of the Fortune 400's The Richest People in America list have decided to give away their wealth for charitable pursuits. Of course, not many of us have that kind of money or are inclined to give away all we own. However, giving to charitable organizations is something that anyone can do, and we can all derive a similar satisfaction by investing in causes that light our passion....

Taking Care of a Valuable Asset (You)

Posted on: February 14th, 2014
The combination of your talents, experience and skills represents an asset. Like any asset, it should be managed and protected. This includes keeping yourself healthy, having sufficient insurance protection, planning for both the near term and the future, investing in yourself, and having contingency plans if a sudden turn occurs. ...

The Three-Year Review and Three-Year Plan

Posted on: February 7th, 2014
Review your life's circumstances from three years ago. Think about what you knew and what you didn't know about managing your wealth. What were the top five lessons you learned? How have your views about money and wealth changed? Given all that, where do you want to be financially in three years? Think about how you will get there and how to do so efficiently. ...

How to Minimize the (Voluntary) Federal Estate Tax with Portability

Posted on: February 1st, 2014
Surprising to most people, the federal estate tax is a voluntary tax. Estate planning attorneys used to say, 'You only pay if you don't plan.' Now, portability provides both an alternative and a back up plan to lifetime tax planning. This means you might be able to minimize or even eliminate federal estate taxes even if you didn't plan. Here's how....

5 Important Questions to Ask Your Estate Planning Attorney

Posted on: January 6th, 2014
When you are trying to decide which attorney to hire to create your estate plan, it is important to ask specific question in order to determine if they are truly qualified to help you!...

Special Needs Trusts in Florida

Posted on: January 3rd, 2014
If you have a disabled child, it is imperative that you seek the assistance of qualified, legal counsel like Maura Curran for your estate planning. Typically, you cannot leave funds outright to your special needs child without pushing your child over the threshold for assets or income and disqualifying your child from receipt of governmental benefits. Thus, obtaining a Special Needs Trust is essential. ...

Social Media…..A Way to Scam the Elderly?

Posted on: December 30th, 2013
Unfortunately, the elderly have always been vulnerable to scams. As technology becomes an essential part of everyday life for people, senior citizens are getting more active online. Adult children use a variety of social media websites as a way to share pictures and updates with grandparents who live across the country....

In the Middle…..Caring for your parents & your children

Posted on: December 20th, 2013
The term "Sandwich Generation" refers to those individuals who are caring for their children while also caring for their parents or in-laws. If you are in this position, you are likely feeling stressed, tired, and financially burdened. ...

Prenuptial Agreements & What They Mean to YOU

Posted on: December 16th, 2013
A prenuptial agreement (also referred to as an antenuptial agreement or premarital agreement), is a contract between future spouses or partners outlining how matters will be handled when the relationship ends in either death or divorce. ...

DNR vs. Health Care Proxy

Posted on: December 9th, 2013
Many people are confused by the legal names assigned to their medical documents. However, it is important to have a clear understanding of what you are signing. If you should become unable to make your own medical decisions, the documents you sign regarding your care will control. ...

Thankfulness & Forgiveness in Estate Planning

Posted on: November 28th, 2013
When you think about estate planning, you typically think about distributing your assets and leaving monetary gifts to those you love. It is also possible for you to leave the gift of forgiveness in your estate plan. If you have a loved one who owes you money, you can erase the debt upon your death that would otherwise be due and owing to your estate....

Unintended Beneficiaries in Florida

Posted on: November 11th, 2013
What happens if you leave your estate to a person who dies shortly after you? The short answer is that your estate will pass to whoever that person designated as his/her beneficiaries. ...

Florida Revocable Trusts….They Can Benefit YOU

Posted on: November 4th, 2013
Many people wrongly believe that they do not need a revocable trust because they don’t own a lot of assets, are in debt, or they are upside down on their mortgage and vehicle. Trusts can be a beneficial estate planning tool for both the wealthy and the average person....

Your Estate Plan & Technology

Posted on: October 21st, 2013
Our world today seems to revolve around computers, iPads, iPods, and smart phones. In fact, many people keep a portion, if not all, of their personal and financial information stored online. Thus, it is critical that your estate plan include your user-names, passwords, and other log-on information. ...

Finances & Tying the Knot

Posted on: October 21st, 2013
If you are planning to get married soon, there are many different matters you should be considering. Couples often invest a lot of time and money into planning their wedding, but they often are not as prepared for combining their financial lives. ...

Elder Care….Legal Documents are Essential

Posted on: October 7th, 2013
If you are caring for an elderly loved one or believe this is in your near future, it is important to understand that you will need the ability to discuss treatment with health care providers. In order to insure you will have this ability, you need certain legal documents to be in place....

Reasons for Conflicts with Your Estate

Posted on: September 24th, 2013
When you are creating your estate plan, it is imperative that you have an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning attorney help you....

Organize Information for Your Family

Posted on: July 17th, 2013
Think for a few moments about what would happen if you suddenly became incapacitated or died. Would your spouse or family know what to do? Would they know where to find important records, assets and insurance documents? Would they be able to access (or even know about) online accounts or files on your computer? Would they know whom to ask if they need help? Putting the effort in now to establish a formal document inventory can alleviate unnecessary anxiety and turmoil in the future....

Providing for Your Parents in Your Estate Plan

Posted on: July 16th, 2013
If you are part of the baby boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964), you may also find that you are a member of the sandwich generation, with responsibilities to both your parents (now or in the future) and your children. This should change the way you think about estate planning--instead of the traditional approach of how to leave assets to your children and future generations, you may also need to include providing for the previous generation (your parents)....

How to Choose a Trustee

Posted on: July 2nd, 2013
When you establish a trust, you name someone to be the trustee. A trustee basically does what you do right now with your financial affairs--collect income, pay bills and taxes, save and invest for the future, buy and sell assets, provide for your loved ones, keep accurate records and generally keep things organized and in good order....

Tips for Selecting a Nursing Home

Posted on: May 30th, 2013
If you have a loved one that will soon be moving to a nursing home, below are several tips to consider for selecting the best facility:...

Heirs of a shareholders – Get Help

Posted on: May 29th, 2013
If you are a shareholder and you do not have a thoughtful plan in place for passing your shares after you die, it could leave your heirs with some difficult choices. ...

Post-Nuptial Agreements

Posted on: May 28th, 2013
If you are married and you constantly fight over money, it may be time to consider a post-nuptial agreement....

Important Estate Planning Tips

Posted on: May 27th, 2013
If you are considering creating an estate plan or updating your current plan, below are several tips for your considerations:...

What are Fiduciary Duties?

Posted on: May 24th, 2013
Trustees and personal representatives are considered fiduciaries and a number of duties are imposed upon them by Florida law. Fiduciaries must comply with the highest standards of conduct....

Same Sex Couples with Children: Estate Planning is Essential

Posted on: April 12th, 2013
Raising children is complicated enough without the additional obstacles that face gay and lesbian parents. Heterosexual couples have inherent rights afforded to them that are non-existent for same-sex couples. Thus, it is up to you to take action to protect your property rights, healthcare decisions and the distribution of your estate when you die....

How to Motivate Your Heirs to Attend College

Posted on: April 11th, 2013
If you are adamant that your children or grandchildren get a college education, you can use your estate plan as a way to motivate them to get their degree. Maura Curran can help you create a plan that accomplishes this. ...

Do you want to leave your children a monthly paycheck?

Posted on: April 10th, 2013
One of the biggest advantages of estate planning is it is flexible. An experienced estate planning attorney can create a plan that is unique to your circumstances and needs. One common concern people have is that their children are not financially savvy enough to handle a lump sum inheritance....

Is Your Estate "Worth" Protecting?

Posted on: April 9th, 2013
It is a common misconception that estate planning is for only the wealthy. However, everyone has an "estate" and if you don't do some type of estate planning, you may lose it! Without an estate plan, a large majority if your property, assets and money could go to pay the following:...

Digital Assets - Do You Need a Trust for Them?

Posted on: April 8th, 2013
Most people spend a large amount of their time on the internet. As a result, many individuals have "digital assets." ...

The Curran Law Firm: Now Providing Title Work Services

Posted on: April 5th, 2013
My blogs focus primarily on estate planning and elder law, but today I am proud to announce that I am now providing title work services. I have experience in providing real estate services, including:...

Why Trusts are Beneficial to YOU (& not just your family)

Posted on: March 29th, 2013
Most people are aware that trusts are beneficial to your family and the administration of your estate once you are gone....

Florida Will Changes

Posted on: March 28th, 2013
A will challenge occurs when an interested party calls the validity of the will into question. A challenge can be based on a variety of different factors....

Gun Trusts

Posted on: March 27th, 2013
If you own firearms, it is important that you create a gun trust. This type of trust can be very flexible....

Tips for Avoiding Unnecessary Delays in Probate

Posted on: March 26th, 2013
Probate matters can last months, even years. A skilled estate planning attorney can partner with you to ensure the probate process goes smoothly....

When your parents can’t manage their finances….

Posted on: March 22nd, 2013
It is a difficult day when you realize that one or both of your elderly parents have lost the ability to manage their own finances. You and other family members will likely have to assist how you can. ...

Is time for elder care?

Posted on: February 28th, 2013
If you have noticed that your older parents are not keeping up with their house or they have started hoarding, it may be time to consider elder care. Noticing that your parent’s mental or physical health is declining can be hard on you. It can also be hard on your finances....

What is Probate Property

Posted on: February 27th, 2013
Probate is the process of administering the estate of a deceased person. When a probate case is filed with the court, the claims of creditors should be resolved and the deceased’s assets are distributed as directed under the will.What are probate assets?...

Managing Your Important Documents

Posted on: February 26th, 2013
Even if you have an estate plan in place, it is still important that you organize your other important documents. This will make it easier for your loved ones to handle your affairs when you are gone. ...

Estate Planning Through a 529 Plan

Posted on: February 25th, 2013
The rising cost of higher education has many people concerned that their children will not be able to afford college. If you are looking for ways to help your children, grandchildren, or other relatives with paying for college, you may want to consider a 529 Plan.A 529 Plan is an education savings plan that is operated by a state or educational institution. ...

Preserving your collections

Posted on: February 22nd, 2013
Many people have items that they collect. They may range from simple things such as family photographs to more expensive items such as antiques or artwork. When it comes to your collections, it is important to take steps to preserve them so they may be passed down through the generations....

Social Media Accounts as Part of Your Estate Plan

Posted on: February 21st, 2013
Most people have a social media account of some kind. But, what does Facebook or Instagram have to do with probate? The answer may depend on where you live....

The Reading of a Will…..What really happens?

Posted on: January 31st, 2013
Most of us have seen a movie where a Last Will and Testament is being read by an attorney to many of the main characters in the movie. While this type of scene may work great for creating drama or tension in a movie, it doesn’t really occur in real life. ...

Setting Your Financial Priorities

Posted on: January 30th, 2013
Setting your financial priorities as you begin this New Year is an important task. It can be overwhelming to consider college, a home, a vehicle, investments, and retirement. Deciding what is most important right now and in the future can make you feel crazy! That is why it is important to seek the assistance of a trusted professional like Maura Curran....

3 Tips for Protecting Your Assets from Nursing Home Expenses

Posted on: January 29th, 2013
Many people are worried that their life savings will be lost if they ever require the care of a nursing home. However, with planning in advance, you can preserve your assets and still be eligible for government assistance. ...

Does Being Single Make Estate Planning Easier?

Posted on: January 28th, 2013
It may seem counter-intuitive, but people who are single may have it easier when it comes to making major financial decisions and estate planning. Not having to consult a spouse can streamline the decision-making process. ...

Common Sense Tips For Estate Planning

Posted on: January 25th, 2013
Most of us take time to make plans every day. We plan our grocery list or which parent will pick-up the children from school. The measures we take to make everyday life easier can be applied to estate planning as well....

3 Important Documents YOUR Young Adult Needs

Posted on: January 24th, 2013
While you may consider your 18 year old to still be your "baby," the law considers him/her to be an adult. This means that you will need written permission to make medical or financial decisions on his/her behalf. ...