What Are the Rights of a Child Born Outside of Marriage?

What Are the Rights of a Child Born Outside of Marriage?

Despite the prevailing view, children born to unmarried parents are commonplace. Historically, children in this category were treated poorly by both society and the law. In many cases, they had no right to inherit from either parent. This legal scheme eventually...

Can I Update or Change My Own Estate Planning Documents?

Can I Update or Change My Own Estate Planning Documents?

Many people associate spring with cleaning out the old, brushing off the dirt accumulated from the long winter, and starting projects around the house that have been neglected for far too long. Perhaps, however, your home is fine as is and you need a remodeling...

Do I Have to Leave Anything to My Children?

Do I Have to Leave Anything to My Children?

One common storyline in Hollywood movies is the rich father disinheriting the family outcast. The story usually traces the child’s attempts to win the father over and be considered a part of the family again. But can fiction imitate reality? Can you actually...

Planning Considerations for Unmarried Partners

Planning Considerations for Unmarried Partners

When it comes to protecting your unmarried partner, there are several options to consider. Depending on the value of your money and property, your desired level of protection from your partner’s creditors, and other factors unique to your situation, one or more of...

Reviewing Your Accounts and Property upon the Death of a Loved One

Reviewing Your Accounts and Property upon the Death of a Loved One

How your accounts are owned makes a big difference in estate planning. The main objective is usually to ensure that no accounts and property are in only your name when you die. Otherwise, they will be subject to probate, a costly, public, and time-consuming court...

Can IRA Money that is Left to Your Spouse Be Protected From Creditors?

Can IRA Money that is Left to Your Spouse Be Protected From Creditors?

Although spouses receive special treatment when inheriting a retirement account such as an IRA (the ability to roll over the account into a personal retirement account and to stretch the distributions over their lifetime), the retirement account you leave for your...

Importance of Properly Revoking Powers of Attorney

Importance of Properly Revoking Powers of Attorney

It is very important to regularly review and update all of your estate planning documents. However, your financial power of attorney is one document that should be reexamined more frequently than others.  Revisiting your financial power of attorney will help ensure...

Reasons to Protect Your Retirement Accounts Now

Reasons to Protect Your Retirement Accounts Now

Your retirement account provides asset protection during your lifetime, but as soon as you pass that account to a loved one, that protection evaporates. When your spouse, child, or other loved one inherits your retirement account, creditors have the power to seize it...

How to Talk to Mom and Dad about Creating an Estate Plan

How to Talk to Mom and Dad about Creating an Estate Plan

Conversations about death and dying are rarely fun. Most people avoid them because they invoke feelings about our inevitable demise. Broaching this subject can be particularly difficult for parents and their adult children. Adult children may avoid bringing up the...

What if No One Wants My Stuff?

What if No One Wants My Stuff?

A critical question to ask yourself when creating an estate plan is who will get your stuff when you pass on? While most people think about who they would like to receive the major items—homes, retirement accounts, savings—personal property such as jewelry, clothing,...

Planning for Stepchildren and Step-Grandchildren

Planning for Stepchildren and Step-Grandchildren

The structure of families has changed in the United States: According to statistics cited by the Pew Research Center, six out of ten women who remarry are in blended families, and in about half of those remarriages, stepchildren live with the remarried couple. If you...

What If I Can’t Find My Loved One’s Documents?

What If I Can’t Find My Loved One’s Documents?

If a loved one has recently died or become mentally incapacitated, finding the person’s estate planning documents is essential. The estate planning process and associated documents are critical to making decisions on the loved one’s behalf, gaining access to accounts,...

What Happens if You Die with a Trust in Place?

What Happens if You Die with a Trust in Place?

Most people understand that having some sort of an estate plan is a good thing. However, many of us do not take the first steps to get that estate plan in place because we do not understand the nuances between a will and trust. If you have created a trust, you have...

What Happens If You Die and Have a Will in Place?

What Happens If You Die and Have a Will in Place?

What happens if you die with a will in place?? Most people understand that having some sort of an estate plan is a good thing. But don't understand how the estate planning document selected works? If you die with a valid will, your accounts and property will still go...

What Does Dying Intestate Mean?

What Does Dying Intestate Mean?

Most people understand that having some sort of an estate plan is a good thing. However, many of us do not take the first steps to get that estate plan in place because we do not understand the nuances between a will and trust – and dying without either. Here is what...

Simple Ways to Avoid Probate and Probate Costs

Simple Ways to Avoid Probate and Probate Costs

Simple Ways to Avoid Probate The bad news: When a deceased person’s estate (all of their money and property) has to go through probate (the court-supervised process of distributing a deceased person’s money and property), it can be subject to a variety of costs...

Tips for Divvying Up Personal Property

Tips for Divvying Up Personal Property

We collect stuff throughout our lives. This “stuff” is known as our personal property. Some items are valuable, like jewelry, baseball cards, and works of art. Other items are sentimental, like grandma’s tea set, old christmas ornaments, and photographs. Regardless of...

Why Do We Tend To Run Away From Estate Planning?

Why Do We Tend To Run Away From Estate Planning?

It can be hard to get motivated about your estate planning; it sounds about as fun as getting a root canal. However, you also probably want to make sure that your loved ones are protected and receive your hard-earned money and property – regardless of whether you have...

Should You Own Your Timeshare In Your Trust?

Should You Own Your Timeshare In Your Trust?

Should You Own Your Timeshare in Your Trust? Timeshares have come a long way since they first arrived in the real estate market back in the ’70s. In the early days of timeshare ownership, high-pressure sales tactics, exceedingly vague contracts, and inflexible...

Who Should You Choose to Be Successor Trustee?

Who Should You Choose to Be Successor Trustee?

Who Should I Choose to Be Successor Trustee? When you create a living trust, you must name a successor trustee to take over for you if you are unable to act due to incapacity or death. It is crucial that this decision be given careful consideration and that the right...

Identity Theft – Not Just an Issue for the Living

Identity Theft – Not Just an Issue for the Living

Identity theft is the last thing a grieving family should have to worry about after the loss of a loved one. Unfortunately, identity thieves have increasingly targeted the identities of deceased people, using their names and other identifying information to get credit...

Productivity Tips for the New Year

Productivity Tips for the New Year

Are you feeling bogged down in a swamp of clutter, deadlines, and incomplete tasks? As we draw closer to the end of the year, make it your goal to do a few simple things over the course of a day or two that will result in increased productivity and peace of mind for...

Estate Planning When You Live in Two States

Estate Planning When You Live in Two States

Some lucky retirees split their time between two different states. Legally, you do not need separate estate planning documents for each state, but it may make sense from a practical perspective. The Constitution of the United States requires that states give “full...

Different Types of Real Estate and How to Own Them

Different Types of Real Estate and How to Own Them

Real estate encompasses not only one’s primary residence but also other real estate such as a vacation home or a rental property. The ideal form of ownership varies depending on the type of real estate you own. Below, we take a look at the different types of real...

Covid 19 and Minor Children – Things to Consider

Covid 19 and Minor Children – Things to Consider

Protecting your family is important, especially when you have minor children, and even more so now that we are living through a pandemic. With all of the unknowns of our current situation, you need some certainty. Having an up-to-date estate plan can be the first step...

Incentive Trusts: Ensuring That an Inheritance Will be Well Spent

Incentive Trusts: Ensuring That an Inheritance Will be Well Spent

Many parents or grandparents with sizable amounts of money to pass on to their heirs are apprehensive about the effect it many have on their children or grandchildren. In some instances, they fear that the recipients will misspend the funds on drugs, fancy cars or...

What Happens If My Beneficiary Dies Before Me?

What Happens If My Beneficiary Dies Before Me?

When planning for death, most people assume they will die before their beneficiaries (e.g., their spouse, children, and grandchildren). While these assumptions are often well-founded, they do not always come to pass. Sometimes a beneficiary of an estate or trust dies...

Revocable Trust vs. Irrevocable Trust:  Which Is Best for You?

Revocable Trust vs. Irrevocable Trust: Which Is Best for You?

A properly funded trust allows you to avoid probate, minimize taxes, provides organization, maintains control, and provides for yourself and your heirs. In its most simple terms, a trust is a book of instructions wherein you tell your trusted people what to do, when....

4 Tips for Avoiding a Will or Trust Contest

4 Tips for Avoiding a Will or Trust Contest

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. If you are concerned about challenges to your...

Your Cyber Legacy:  3 Tips for Your Digital Assets

Your Cyber Legacy: 3 Tips for Your Digital Assets

There’s an entire category of commonly-overlooked legacy to consider – digital assets. Don’t worry if you didn’t consider these assets when made your will or trust – it’s surprisingly common and, luckily, easy to correct. What are digital assets? They include: your...

How Do I Donate My Organs When I Die?

How Do I Donate My Organs When I Die?

Thinking about what will happen to your body when you pass away is probably not what you would like to do with your spare time. However, if you want to donate your organs when you die, you must think about precisely what you want and communicate those wishes to the...

Help!  This Probate Is Taking Forever!!

Help! This Probate Is Taking Forever!!

After a loved one dies, their money and property must be distributed to the right people, either according to their will or the state’s default distribution scheme (found in its “intestacy” statute). While most people want the settlement process to be done ASAP,...

Snowbirds:  What You Need to Know about Renting Out Your Property

Snowbirds: What You Need to Know about Renting Out Your Property

Retreating to a warmer climate for the winter sounds like an ideal way to spend a few months. To help make this dream a reality, some individuals choose to rent out their second homes when they are not in use. But before you list your second home for rent, there are a...

Seven Ways to Avoid Family Fights over Your Property

Seven Ways to Avoid Family Fights over Your Property

Ask a group of friends if they have experienced a family fight over property after a loved one has died, and you will be in for a lively and eye-opening conversation. Far too many families end up fighting, or at least experiencing tension, over a family inheritance....

Should Your Child’s Guardian and Trustee be the Same Person?

Should Your Child’s Guardian and Trustee be the Same Person?

If you have overheard any discussion about estate planning, you have likely heard the words “guardian” or “trustee” tossed around in the conversation. When it comes to estate planning, who will be ultimately in charge of your minor child is an important decision that...

My Loved One Has Died – What Do I Do Now?

My Loved One Has Died – What Do I Do Now?

When a family member or other loved one dies, grief and shock can sometimes be overwhelming. The last thing most people want to think about is making phone calls or funeral arrangements. Some things do not need to be done immediately, but there are some steps that...

Love Them Today and Love Them Tomorrow with a Pet Trust

Love Them Today and Love Them Tomorrow with a Pet Trust

Estate planning is not only important for your human family members, but for your animal family members as well!  It is important not to forget to make arrangements for their care if something should happen to you. Consider a Pet Trust Although many pet owners...

How to Help Your Loved Ones (and Assets) Avoid Probate

How to Help Your Loved Ones (and Assets) Avoid Probate

Today, many people are using a revocable living trust instead of a will or joint ownership as the foundation of their estate plan. When properly prepared, a living trust avoids the public, costly and time-consuming court processes of conservatorship or guardianship...

Important Steps to Protect Your Special Beneficiaries

Important Steps to Protect Your Special Beneficiaries

All children are a blessing. From the day they are born, you begin making plans to ensure that your child or grandchild has a bright future. What will their interests be? What job will they have? Who will they marry? While these are common concerns for most families,...

Nosy Neighbor Nellie Can Find Out About Your Probate.  Really.

Nosy Neighbor Nellie Can Find Out About Your Probate. Really.

Most people think of probate (the process of collecting, managing, and distributing a deceased person’s money and property) as a private process. However, because wills are filed at the courthouse, probated estates become a matter of public record. That means your...

Estate Planning is Not Just About Money

Estate Planning is Not Just About Money

It is a common misconception that financial management and estate planning are reserved for the wealthy. Regardless of how much you have in the bank, you and your family can benefit from planning ahead for the future. If you fail to do so, you could leave your family...

Summer Vacation Plans?  Precautions and Preparations to Consider

Summer Vacation Plans? Precautions and Preparations to Consider

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. Heed the...

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