When a Bad Estate Plan is Worse Than No Plan At All

When a Bad Estate Plan is Worse Than No Plan At All

A poorly-constructed estate plan can in some cases be worse than having no plan at all. Poorly-constructed estate plans commonly lead to overpayment of taxes (with money that would have been better spent by the surviving family members) and expensive, needless court processes and legal battles (again, money better spent by the surviving family members).

Informal Probate Can’t Be As Bad As Formal Probate, Right?

Informal Probate Can’t Be As Bad As Formal Probate, Right?

For those not familiar with the term, probate refers to the legal process required to distribute the assets of the deceased. During the probate process, a representative is authorized to pay debts and distribute assets on behalf of the deceased. In probate, there are different routes: informal probate or formal probate.

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. While there are many types of trusts, the major distinction between trusts is whether they are revocable or irrevocable. We will take a look at both so you will have the information you need.

What Happens to My Spouse’s Debts at Their Death?

What Happens to My Spouse’s Debts at Their Death?

A spouse’s death creates a difficult and demanding time for the surviving partner. As much as you might want space and time alone to process your grief, you may have certain responsibilities related to settling your deceased spouse’s affairs, including paying off their debt.

Important Questions to Ask When Investing in a Vacation Property

Important Questions to Ask When Investing in a Vacation Property

According to the National Association of Home Builders, in 2018 there were approximately 7.5 million second homes, making up 5.5 percent of the total number of homes. These homes are not only real estate that must be planned for, managed, and maintained, they are also the birthplace of happy memories for you and your loved ones. Following are some important estate planning questions to consider to ensure that your place of happy memories is protected.

Do You Update Your Estate Plan as Often as Your Resume?

Do You Update Your Estate Plan as Often as Your Resume?

A resume is a snapshot of your experience, skill set, and education that provides prospective employers insight into who you are and how you will perform. Imagine not updating your resume for five, ten, or even fifteen years. Would it accurately reflect your professional abilities? Would it do what you want it to do? Probably not. Estate plans are similar in that they need to be regularly updated to reflect changes in your life and the law so they can do what you want them to do. Outdated estate plans, like outdated resumes, simply do not work.

When Rock Legends Pass Away:  The Possible Fates of Meat Loaf’s $40 Million Estate

When Rock Legends Pass Away: The Possible Fates of Meat Loaf’s $40 Million Estate

Meat Loaf, whose real name was Michael Lee Aday, passed away earlier this year at the age of seventy-four. There is no questioning the legacy of one of rock and roll’s biggest icons. But there are still unanswered legal questions about the fate of Meat Loaf’s estate. Although there is no evidence to suggest that Meat Loaf died intestate (i.e., without a will), we can speculate about his estate plan based on his life, legacy, and available legal instruments.

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, for those with a special needs child or grandchild, taking steps to ensure they have a safe, happy, and healthy future is even more important due to the additional hurdles they may face. Attorney Kelly Longtin discusses steps to help provide a prosperous future for your special needs child or grandchild.

Three Steps to Take When the Deceased Has Controlled Substances

Three Steps to Take When the Deceased Has Controlled Substances

There are so many things to think about when a loved one passes away. What to do with the prescription drugs (or other controlled substances) that are in your loved one’s medicine cabinet is not usually at the top of that list. Yet, to avoid running afoul of laws governing their disposal, it is important to understand the proper procedures for disposing of a deceased person’s controlled substances.

If I Give My Home to My Child In My Will, Can They Take My Home While I Am Still Alive?

If I Give My Home to My Child In My Will, Can They Take My Home While I Am Still Alive?

If I Give My Home to My Child in My Will, Can They Take My Home While I Am Still Alive? The short answer to this question is no. Naming your child as the recipient of your home in your will does not give them any right to your home while you are still living. However, understanding why that is the correct answer requires a little more explanation.

When a Gift May Not Be a Gift

When a Gift May Not Be a Gift

Estate Planning – When a gift may not be a gift. The federal tax code has very specific rules about how much you are allowed to transfer to others each year—and over the course of your lifetime—in the form of a gift. Any gifts above that amount may be subject to gift tax, which is paid by the giver. However, not every gift is subject to gift tax. There are annual exclusion amounts, a lifetime exemption amount, and other exclusions.

Estate Planning Considerations for Couples with an Age Gap

Estate Planning Considerations for Couples with an Age Gap

With couples of similar ages, planning for the future is naturally a joint effort. However, if you are married to someone who is significantly older or younger than you, the future can look different and mean different things to each of you. To protect yourself, your spouse, and other loved ones, you need to have comprehensive financial and estate plans. For these plans to work as intended, it is important that you have an open and honest conversation with your spouse about the following financial and estate planning topics.

Electronic Wills

Electronic Wills

What is an Electronic Will? Will the courts determine if a will created and stored on a computer meets the requirements? What States Allow Electronic Wills? Should you use an Electronic Will?

How to Protect Yourself from Claims of Self-Dealing When Serving as a Trustee

How to Protect Yourself from Claims of Self-Dealing When Serving as a Trustee

A trustee usually has quite a bit of discretion in their management of a trust’s accounts, money, and property (known as assets). At the same time, as a fiduciary, a trustee also owes the trust’s beneficiaries a duty of loyalty, which prohibits the trustee from self-dealing. In the simplest terms, self-dealing happens when a trustee uses the trust’s assets for their own benefit instead of for the beneficiaries’ benefit.

Can I Make Estate Plans Without My Spouse?

Can I Make Estate Plans Without My Spouse?

The assumption that a couple will share finances, tax obligations, and a last name is one that does not necessarily apply in the 21st century. There are more options than ever before to keep your finances, identity, and future plans separate. This sense of independence leads many married people to question: can I make estate planning decisions without involving my spouse? The answer can be more complicated than you might expect.

Unclaimed Property – What is it, Where to find it, and its Impact on Estate Planning and Administration.

Unclaimed Property – What is it, Where to find it, and its Impact on Estate Planning and Administration.

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. In fact, across the country, there are billions of dollars in unclaimed property being held by the state and federal government. Fortunately, it is often possible to locate this property and obtain it. It is equally important for estate administrators or family members to look for unclaimed property when a loved one dies to be sure that all of his or her property is included in the estate and goes to the intended beneficiaries.

Happy 18th Birthday!  Now What?

Happy 18th Birthday! Now What?

Congratulations! You are now considered a legal adult. Aside from purchasing alcohol, there is now very little you cannot legally do. Even though you may not feel any different, from a legal standpoint, a lot has changed. When you were a minor (under the age of 18),...

Changes to the FAFSA Form and What It Means for Grandparents

Changes to the FAFSA Form and What It Means for Grandparents

For grandparents who want to leave a legacy to their grandchildren, the gift of a 529 college savings plan is an option. Not only can opening a 529 plan account help a grandchild with educational expenses, it can also help grandparents with their estate planning goals.
In the past, grandparent 529 plans had the potential to reduce student aid eligibility. However, changes to student aid application rules mean that soon, 529 distributions from grandparents will not count toward a student’s income on the most-used financial aid form. This is welcome news for grandparents who want to help cover the ever-increasing costs of higher education without impacting a student’s need-based financial aid eligibility.

Estate Planning for Rental Property Owners

Estate Planning for Rental Property Owners

If you have a home or other rental property that is generating income, you should understand the following asset protection and estate planning considerations.

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

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

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. Without proper planning, your significant other could struggle to gain access to your accounts.

Pour-Over Will:  Not Your Average Will

Pour-Over Will: Not Your Average Will

Wills and trusts are the two basic legal instruments that people use to pass accounts and property on to their loved ones at death. Although a revocable living trust is often used in place of a will, the two are not mutually exclusive. You can have both a will and a...

Using Real Estate Deeds in Estate Planning

Using Real Estate Deeds in Estate Planning

When using trusts in estate planning, a key element includes transferring the trustmaker’s real estate into the trust by recording a deed with the local recording authority. This step is crucial for ensuring that the trustee has the authority to manage and ultimately...

Deeper Dive Into Advance Healthcare Directives

Deeper Dive Into Advance Healthcare Directives

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. The first is your healthcare power of attorney. This document allows you to name a person to make medical...

Writing Your Own Obituary as an Addition to Your Estate Plan

Writing Your Own Obituary as an Addition to Your Estate Plan

An obituary can be much more than just a dry announcement of the time and location of your funeral or memorial service. It can be a way to share your life story, communicating information about significant events and people, as well as important values you would like...

Slayer Statutes:  Preventing Killers from Profiting from Their Crimes

Slayer Statutes: Preventing Killers from Profiting from Their Crimes

Most states have laws that prevent someone who has intentionally killed another individual from being able to inherit any property from their victim.[1] In general, these laws are referred to as “slayer statutes” and are designed to prevent the patently unjust outcome...

Mental Health Considerations in Estate Planning

Mental Health Considerations in Estate Planning

It is okay to not be okay. Removing the stigma of mental health starts with realizing that many people—about one in five of all US adults--are affected by mental illness. Understanding this fact can lead to more people getting the help they require, not only by...

Estate Planning is Like Building a Snowman

Estate Planning is Like Building a Snowman

A complete estate plan must include certain essential parts. In fact, it is similar to building a snowman in some respects. The traditional snowman has several critical components: bottom, middle, and top snowballs, as well as “arms” and a “ face.” If any of these are...

3 Simple Ways to Avoid Probate Costs

3 Simple Ways to Avoid Probate Costs

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 stemming from attorneys, executors,...

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

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

It is important to think carefully about your ability or willingness to serve as an executor or trustee for someone else. 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...

Decanting:  Redoing Your Loved One’s Estate Plan

Decanting: Redoing Your Loved One’s Estate Plan

In a constantly evolving world, having the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances is a valuable trait. But is flexibility less important in estate planning than in other areas of life? In many situations, you may not want your estate planning documents to be...

Trust Funding:  Is Everything Titled Correctly?

Trust Funding: Is Everything Titled Correctly?

Working with an attorney to draft a trust agreement for estate planning purposes is an important step. But just getting the document drafted and signed is not enough. For any trust to be effective, you must complete the process of funding your trust as soon as you...

Myths We Tell Ourselves about Estate Planning

Myths We Tell Ourselves about Estate Planning

Estate planning can be a very difficult process. While it is not brain surgery, making the decision to move forward with an estate plan requires us to face the fact that we will not live forever. This thought stops many people in their tracks. Others talk themselves...

What You Should Know About Life Insurance

What You Should Know About Life Insurance

Part of protecting your loved ones when you pass away is making sure that you have a proper estate plan in place. Another aspect is making sure that the right amount of money is available to carry out your goals for their futures. Life insurance has helped many people...

Important Questions Your Estate Planning Attorney Will Ask You

Important Questions Your Estate Planning Attorney Will Ask You

For many people, the thought of meeting with an estate planning attorney strikes fear into their hearts. It can be uncomfortable to even consider the possibility of no longer being able to manage your own affairs, let alone no longer being alive, with your property...

Britney Spears:  A Cautionary Tale about Conservatorships

Britney Spears: A Cautionary Tale about Conservatorships

Even if you do not listen to pop music, it has been hard to ignore the recent news about Britney Spears and the #FreeBritney movement trending on social media. What is this movement all about? And why should average Americans care? In 2008, pop singer and superstar...

Deeper Dive into Advance Healthcare Directives

Deeper Dive into Advance Healthcare Directives

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. The first is your healthcare power of attorney. This document allows you to name a person to make medical...

Estate Planning: Answering Common Questions of Senior Citizens

Estate Planning: Answering Common Questions of Senior Citizens

According to a study conducted by Caring.com, the percentage of people aged fifty-five and older who have created a will has fallen from 60 percent to 44 percent since 2019.[1] Although creating or updating your estate planning may seem like a daunting task, a proper...

How Can Remarriage Affect Your Estate Planning?

How Can Remarriage Affect Your Estate Planning?

Divorce is more common now than it was in the past, as is remarriage. Depending on how long a prior marriage lasted, the former couple may have engaged in certain levels of estate planning together. When that is the case, it is important to understand how a subsequent...

When You May Not Be Able to Use a Financial Power of Attorney

When You May Not Be Able to Use a Financial Power of Attorney

Besides directing what happens to your finances when you pass away, a comprehensive estate plan also addresses the possibility that you could become unable to handle your financial affairs while you are still alive. You may have signed a financial power of attorney...

Trust and Estate Administration:  Whom Should You Bring to the Meetings?

Trust and Estate Administration: Whom Should You Bring to the Meetings?

A loved one’s passing is felt by their entire surviving family. But when it comes to carrying out the decedent’s final wishes, not everyone has an equal say. In fact, in many cases, only one person—the executor, or personal representative, of the estate—plays a role...

Preserving Your Money and Property Beyond the Third Generation

Preserving Your Money and Property Beyond the Third Generation

Whether you have inherited your wealth or have built it yourself, you likely want to share this wealth with the next generation and beyond. The quotation “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations” has often been attributed to Andrew Carnegie. The same concept...

What Happens to Your Digital Movies When You Die?

What Happens to Your Digital Movies When You Die?

In today’s digital age, many people have a library of digital assets that may include items such as books, music, and movies. One of the perceived benefits of owning these digital items is having a convenient way to access your favorite media indefinitely with just a...

The Difference Between a Prenuptial Agreement and a Will or Trust

The Difference Between a Prenuptial Agreement and a Will or Trust

There was a time when most people heard about prenuptial agreements only when watching soap operas or Hollywood movies or reading a novel. For many of us, prenuptial agreements seemed to be reserved only for the ultrawealthy, where the continuation of dynastic family...

Make Gifts That Your Family Will Love but the IRS Won’t Tax

Make Gifts That Your Family Will Love but the IRS Won’t Tax

Do not let constant political and financial speculation prevent you from making tax-free annual exclusion, medical-payment, and educational gifts to or for the benefit of your loved ones. Make Annual Exclusion Gifts Annual exclusion gifts are transfers of money or...

Can a Beneficiary Also Be a Trustee of a Trust?

Can a Beneficiary Also Be a Trustee of a Trust?

Clients often naturally choose their children to be beneficiaries of their revocable living trusts. Many clients also wish to name one or more of their children as the trustee of that trust, but are not sure if that is allowed by the law. The short answer is yes, a...

How Completing Paperwork for a New Job Can Affect Your Estate Plan

How Completing Paperwork for a New Job Can Affect Your Estate Plan

Starting a new job is an exciting new chapter in your life. Depending on your company’s onboarding process, there can be a lot of moving parts. You may feel overwhelmed by the introduction and review of the many different types of employee benefits. Not only are there...

Four Things To Make Your New Job a Success

Four Things To Make Your New Job a Success

Congratulations on your new job! Getting a job begins a major chapter in your life. As you navigate this new territory, we are here to help ensure a prosperous transition. To protect the future you are creating, you need proper financial and estate planning. As you...

Why Is My Trust So Long?

Why Is My Trust So Long?

When you met with an attorney a few weeks ago, perhaps all you expected was a simple will. Maybe you thought that, with your situation, the work should be easy and the documents should be few. But now that you have finished working with the attorney, your parting gift...

Estate Planning for your Automobile

Estate Planning for your Automobile

Have you considered what will happen to your car when you pass away? In 2019, it is projected that there will be 281.3 million registered vehicles in the United States. Your car is a valuable asset—as well as a potential source of liability—that you should consider in...

Caution: Creditors Are a Threat to Inherited Retirement Accounts

Caution: Creditors Are a Threat to Inherited Retirement Accounts

Do you have an individual retirement account or other type of retirement account that you plan to leave to your loved ones? If so, proceed with caution. Inherited retirement accounts do not have asset protection when they pass to your loved ones, meaning creditors can...

The Estate Planning Took Kit for Unmarried Partners

The Estate Planning Took Kit for Unmarried Partners

Estate planning is essential for everyone, but it is especially important if you and your partner are in a long-term committed relationship and are not married. Unless you plan properly, your partner will not receive any of your money or property when you pass away...

The Importance of a Successor Trustee

The Importance of a Successor Trustee

An estate plan that includes a revocable living trust is an excellent way to protect yourself and your loved ones upon your passing or in the event you are unable to manage your own affairs. As opposed to other estate planning options, a revocable living trust gives...

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...

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