Latest Blog Posts

4 Tips for Creating an Estate Plan that Works!

Posted on: July 13th, 2017
In a study conducted by caring.com in 2015, only 56% of American households had a will or a living trust. While most of us understand the importance of having a will in place, especially in seeing to the needs of a young family, there is still an unexplained resistance to attending to legal matters to assure that family affairs are in order....

What Do We Tell the Children?

Posted on: June 20th, 2017
While communicating your wishes about the distribution of your assets with your children and heirs well in advance is the ideal way for any individual to handle this situation, we understand that it can be a difficult subject to approach....

Preparing for Loss of the Family CEO: Tools for Implementing the Family Contingency Plan

Posted on: May 17th, 2016
I've come across a couple of tools that might be helpful to clients who are interested in implementing a Family Contingency Plan that I wanted to share...

Wills vs. Trusts: A Quick & Simple Reference Guide

Posted on: May 10th, 2016
Confused about the differences between wills and trusts? If so, you’re not alone. Here’s a quick and simple reference guide...

Wills, Trusts and Intestacy: A Quick Comparison of These Estate Planning Choices

Posted on: April 25th, 2016
Most people have heard that estate planning is important and that putting a plan in place is, as Martha Stewart would say, a “good thing.” Unfortunately, many people never get around to doing anything about it either because...

Prenups: Why you need one and pitfalls to avoid!

Posted on: March 30th, 2016
The Big Bang Theory actress Kaley Cuoco is one of the highest paid actresses on television . . . After less than two years of marriage, Cuoco filed for divorce. She assumed the prenup would be valid......

Sonny Bono’s Procrastination in Creating a Will Led to Years of Estate Battles

Posted on: March 24th, 2016
When Sonny Bono died, his net worth was just under $2 million, yet he did not have a will. Apparently, he meant to have one drawn up, but simply never got around to it. His family suffered as a result....

Dennis Hopper Saves Heirs with Last Minute Estate Plan Changes

Posted on: March 10th, 2016
Dennis Hopper, known for his role in Easy Rider, wanted to leave his fortune to his family. Well, not everyone in his family. Hopper made numerous estate planning changes in the last months of his life. His goal? ...

Marlon Brando’s Housekeeper and a Tale of Broken Promises

Posted on: March 3rd, 2016
After Legendary Oscar-winning actor Marlon Brando died, his longtime housekeeper, Angela Borlaza, claimed that he had promised to give her a home she claimed he had purchased for her as compensation for her work. She also claimed that he promised her that he would deed it to her prior to his death. However, that was never done....

3 Mega-Celebrities Who Died Without A Will: Do Not Follow In Their Footsteps!

Posted on: February 25th, 2016
When you sign a will, you get to decide who gets what (and when and how) after you die. Without a will, state law doles out your belongings according to a set of rules the legislature wrote....

Aging.gov: A New Resource for Older Americans and Their Families

Posted on: February 8th, 2016
More than 10,000 people turn 65 in the U.S. every day according to Aging.gov (http://www.hhs.gov/aging/), a new website recently launched by the Obama administration. The goal of this website is to act as gateway for older Americans...

Preparing for the Loss of the Family CEO: Part III

Posted on: January 27th, 2016
In part I, I described the problems that people face after the Family CEO dies. In Part II, I suggested creating a family contingency plan to help prepare for the loss of the family CEO, and concluded with an important key to making the plan work: sharing it with those who will need to carry it out (your “helper”)!...

Preparing for the Loss of the Family CEO: Part II

Posted on: January 25th, 2016
In part I of this 3 part series, I described the problems that people commonly experience after the “Family CEO” dies. Now I want to share some ideas to help prepare for that event....

Preparing for the Loss of The Family CEO: Part I

Posted on: January 22nd, 2016
The Family CEO knows all of the important facts, account numbers, payment due dates, how payments are set up, who the professional advisors are, and all of the other information necessary to manage the family business. The other “what me worry” spouse happily allows the Family CEO to perform these functions, and trusts that all will be well. The problems occur when the Family CEO dies first....

Financial Elder Abuse Part II – A Coming Crisis

Posted on: October 8th, 2015
As an Elder Law attorney, one of the things I worry a lot about is how to help my clients protect themselves from – well – themselves. There’s no easy way to go about that because we all value our control over what we own, and most of us jealously guard our privacy about our finances . . . So what can you do about it?...

Financial Firms Roll Out Form Aimed at Stopping Financial Elder Abuse

Posted on: October 1st, 2015
With cases of financial exploitation of the elderly on the rise, advisors who work with older clients are looking for ways to head off the abuse before it happens. Enter the “Emergency Contact Authorization Form”...

The Shocking Truth About Asset Protection Planning

Posted on: September 23rd, 2015
Some view asset protection planning with a skeptical eye. They believe there is a moral obligation to pay one’s debts. They think that asset protection planning is immoral because it prevents a creditor from collecting on a judgment entered by a court . . . The truth is the U.S. justice system is unpredictable...

5 Reasons Why Uncle Bill May Not Make a Good Trustee

Posted on: September 17th, 2015
If you have created a dynasty trust that you intend to last for decades into the future, choosing the right trustee is critical to the trust’s longevity and ultimate success . . . However, Uncle Bill may not make a good trustee for a long-lasting dynasty trust since he will probably not be equipped to handle all of his fiduciary obligations on his own....

Caution: Your Traditional Asset Protection Plan is Set Up to Fail

Posted on: September 2nd, 2015
You may be surprised to learn that not only has asset protection planning been around for a long time, but you have already engaged in it at some point during your life . . . but your plan may be set up to fail!...

Dispelling the Top 3 Estate Planning Myths

Posted on: August 24th, 2015
Don't make these mistakes! Understanding the top three estate planning myths will help you to create and maintain a plan that will work the way you expect it to work when it’s needed....

Who Knows Where to Find Your Original Will? Baltimore Register of Wills Can’t Find Her Father’s Original Last Will!

Posted on: August 23rd, 2015
While it’s not unusual for an original last will and testament to be misplaced, it is when your daughter happens to be the Register of Wills for Baltimore City. Will Your Family Be Able to Find Your Original Will?...

What Documents Do You Need to Find After a Loved One Dies?

Posted on: August 10th, 2015
After a loved one dies, you need to gather the important documents that are necessary to settle their final affairs. While the documents required will vary depending on what your loved one owned and owed, below is a list of common documents you will need to find...

Where is the Best Place to Store Your Original Estate Planning Documents?

Posted on: July 31st, 2015
Estate planning attorneys are often asked where original estate planning documents – wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives – should be stored for safekeeping. While there is no right or wrong answer to this question, consider the following:...

Four Steps to Stop Mail Addressed to a Deceased Person

Posted on: July 26th, 2015
One of the first things you should do as a newly appointed executor of a deceased person’s probate estate or successor trustee of a deceased trustmaker’s trust is ask the post office to forward the deceased person’s mail to your address. ...

3 Critical Keys to Keeping Your Assets Safe for Your Family

Posted on: July 2nd, 2015
Whether you are a physician or not, you probably know that the practice of medicine is a profession fraught with liability . . . Unfortunately, in our litigious society, these liability risks are not unique to physicians. Business owners, board members, real estate investors, and retirees need to protect themselves from a variety of liabilities too. ...

Is a Revocable Living Trust Right for You?

Posted on: June 5th, 2015
Revocable Living Trusts have become the basic building block of estate plans for people of all ages, personal backgrounds, and financial situations. But for some, a Revocable Living Trust may not be necessary to achieve their estate planning goals or may even be detrimental to achieving those goals. ...

Warning: 5 Things That Can Go Wrong with Pay on Death ("POD") Accounts!

Posted on: May 27th, 2015
POD accounts sound great, don’t they? In general, POD accounts are easy to set up and make sense for many people. But what can go wrong with them?...

Caution: Writing Your Own Deed to Avoid Probate Can Lead to Unintended Consequences

Posted on: May 21st, 2015
Many people believe that they do not need to pay an attorney to help them prepare and record deeds. Instead, they think that a deed form can simply be downloaded from the internet or obtained from a book, and that they can easily fill them out and record them....

Does Your Estate Plan Protect Your Adult Beneficiaries?

Posted on: May 13th, 2015
If you think you only need to create discretionary lifetime trusts for young beneficiaries, problem beneficiaries, or financially inexperienced beneficiaries, then think again....

How to Easily Integrate Asset Protection Trusts into Your Estate Plan

Posted on: May 5th, 2015
Asset protection has become a common goal of estate planning. Asset protection trusts come in many different forms and can be used to protect property for your use and benefit as well as for the use and benefit of your family. ...

Five Changes Proposed in President Obama’s 2016 Budget That Could Affect Your Estate Plan

Posted on: May 3rd, 2015
The Obama administration recently released its budget proposal for the 2016 fiscal year. As in past years, this budget proposes changes to the laws governing federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes. Several of these changes would raise revenue by limiting the tax benefits achieved by using certain estate planning techniques, while others would decrease exemptions and increase rates. ...

It’s Not Just About Death and Taxes: The Essential Legal Documents You Need for Incapacity Planning

Posted on: April 29th, 2015
Comprehensive estate planning is about more than your legacy after death, avoiding probate, and saving on taxes. It must also be about having a plan in place to manage your affairs if you become mentally incapacitated during your life. ...

How to Choose the Right Agent for Your Incapacity Plan

Posted on: April 21st, 2015
A common misconception is that estate planning equates to death planning. But planning for what happens after you die is only one piece of the estate planning puzzle. It is just as important to make a plan for what happens if you become mentally incapacitated....

Five Things You Need to Know About the Recently Enacted ABLE Act

Posted on: April 15th, 2015
On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act) into law. The ABLE Act will allow certain individuals with disabilities to establish tax-free savings accounts that can be used to cover expenses not otherwise covered by government sponsored programs. These accounts can be a great alternative or supplement to special needs or supplemental needs trusts....

3 Powers to Consider Giving to a Trust Protector

Posted on: April 10th, 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 a trust protector who will have the ability to adjust the trust provisions as circumstances, beneficiaries, and governing laws change....

5 Good Reasons to Decant a Trust

Posted on: March 30th, 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: March 26th, 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 Trust

Posted on: March 17th, 2015
In broad terms a power of appointment is the right granted to an individual under the terms of a trust to change the provisions of that trust. . . Powers of appointment can be given to the current beneficiaries or trustees of a trust or to an outside third party...

The Wrong Successor Trustee Can Derail Your Final Wishes

Posted on: March 14th, 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. . . Should You Name Family Members as Your Successor Trustees?...

4 Tips for Avoiding a Will or Trust Contest

Posted on: March 11th, 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. ...

Strategies for Reducing the Income Tax Squeeze on Irrevocable Trusts

Posted on: March 3rd, 2015
Under federal income tax laws, irrevocable, non-grantor trusts (such as Bypass Trusts and Dynasty Trusts) are subject to highly compressed income tax brackets . . . What Can Trustees Do to Lower a Trust’s Taxable Income?...

How to Minimize Legal Fees After Death

Posted on: February 28th, 2015
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. ...

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

Posted on: February 17th, 2015
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...

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

Posted on: February 11th, 2015
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....

2015 Changes to State Death Taxes

Posted on: February 2nd, 2015
Utah residents who only own property in Utah generally don't need to worry about paying estate taxes unless they have an estate large enough to incur a federal estate tax . . . If you live in or own property in one of the 20 jurisdictions listed below, then you may have a state death tax issue that requires planning....

What the 2015 Inflation Adjustments for the Estate Tax Exemption and Trust Income Tax Brackets Mean for You

Posted on: January 28th, 2015
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....

3 Asset Protection Tips You Can Use Now

Posted on: January 20th, 2015
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....

New Year's Planning Tip #4 – Check the Privacy of Your Estate Plan

Posted on: January 7th, 2015
One area of planning that many people overlook is ensuring that their final wishes remain private . . . What can you to do keep your estate plan private?...

New Year’s Planning Tip #3 - Check Your Mental Disability Plan

Posted on: January 6th, 2015
Now that the chaos of the holiday season is behind us, it’s a great time to make a New Year’s resolution to update your estate plan. One area of planning that many people overlook is making sure their mental disability plan is up to date....

New Year's Planning Tip #2 – Check Your Beneficiary Designations

Posted on: January 3rd, 2015
Do you own any life insurance policies? If so, do you know who you have designated as beneficiaries?...

New Year's Planning Tip #1 – Check Your Estate Tax Planning

Posted on: January 2nd, 2015
If you’re married and you haven’t had your estate plan reviewed since before January 2, 2013, by an experienced estate planning lawyer, then pull your documents out of the drawer, dust them off, and take a closer look at their trust provisions. Do they contain terms such as . . ....

Year End Estate Planning Tip – Make Gifts that Your Family Will Love but the IRS Won’t Tax

Posted on: December 26th, 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....

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

Posted on: December 24th, 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 . . . Please remember that some types of accounts require contributions before December 31, whereas other types of accounts allow contributions up to the April deadline for filing your tax return....

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

Posted on: December 23rd, 2014
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 . . . If you don’t already have an estate plan, then getting one in place should be at the top of your 2015 new year’s resolutions. . . If you do, then please pull your documents out of the drawer, dust them off, and look at the date you signed them. ...

Do You Need to Worry About Estate Taxes?

Posted on: November 17th, 2014
These days, estate taxes really aren't much of a concern for people who live in Utah . . . For those successful people who have been blessed with wealth in excess of the exemption amount: You have a great problem!...

3 Ways to Minimize Estate Planning Fees

Posted on: November 16th, 2014
Today, it is impossible to put together even a simple estate plan without the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. Why?...

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Will: 3 Critical Mistakes

Posted on: November 15th, 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. You can learn from and avoid the mistakes he made....

The Trust Protection Myth: Your Revocable Trust Protects Against Lawsuits

Posted on: November 13th, 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. ...

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

Posted on: August 5th, 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....

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

Posted on: July 17th, 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. Fortunately, there is a solution....

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

Posted on: July 15th, 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...

What if Treating Your Children Fairly Means Unequal Inheritances?

Posted on: July 10th, 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....

Who Needs an Estate Plan?

Posted on: June 12th, 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.” ...

The Three-Year Review and The Three-Year Plan

Posted on: May 15th, 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?...

Learning from Your Mistakes Can Become Your Teaching Moment

Posted on: May 12th, 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....

Three Social Security Traps

Posted on: May 7th, 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: April 11th, 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....

What’s On Your Worry List?

Posted on: March 24th, 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....

Aligning Insurance Products within a Planning Structure

Posted on: March 17th, 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....

Understanding Losses: Liability Exposure

Posted on: March 17th, 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...

Understanding Losses: Compounding Interest

Posted on: February 20th, 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....

Wealth Protection: Avoiding Losses

Posted on: February 17th, 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....

Protecting Against Property Losses

Posted on: February 10th, 2014
Property insurance provides protection against most risks to property, such as fire, theft and some weather damage. ...

How to Stop Worrying About Running Out of Money in Retirement

Posted on: January 27th, 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....

Recovering Emotionally from Past Financial Errors

Posted on: January 23rd, 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....

Passion Investing as a Spark to Your Life

Posted on: January 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....

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

Posted on: January 17th, 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....

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

Posted on: January 16th, 2014
In Part Two, we will look at how money can be wasted in everyday areas of life—specifically food, clothing and entertainment. In many ways, it is the routine purchases that occur without planning that subsequently accumulate to large amounts. ...

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

Posted on: January 15th, 2014
In this three-part series, we look at ways that money is wasted. While it may not apply to you, there are others in your life such as children or grandchildren that will benefit from these lessons....

Protecting Against Financial Fraud in Charitable Giving

Posted on: December 28th, 2013
Americans are very generous when it comes to charitable giving . . . we have to be very careful about how we make charitable contributions in order to protect our hearts and our dollars from financial fraud....

Long-Term Care Planning, Part 2

Posted on: December 28th, 2013
The first part of planning for long-term care is realizing that, a) most of us will need this kind of care for at least some time before we die and b) the cost of this care can be financially devastating for a family if it is not planned for in advance. This was covered in Long-Term Care Planning, Part 1. The next part is determining how you will pay for long-term care that may be needed for you, your spouse or another family member....

Long-Term Care Planning, Part 1

Posted on: December 14th, 2013
Health care has been the topic of discussion lately, but the greatest threat to your financial health is long-term care. ...

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

Posted on: December 12th, 2013
Paying insurance premiums to protect against potential losses frees us mentally to enjoy driving a car, leave our house empty while on vacation and receive medical treatment for an injury or illness. In the same way, the use of trusts acts like insurance and can shift anxiety to comfort, turmoil to peace, and complexity to understanding....

The Truth About Personal Risk Management, Part 1: Insurance

Posted on: December 11th, 2013
Personal risk management is being aware of the risks in your home and in your life, and then planning how to handle those risks. Insurance plays a big part in managing risk. Most people don’t like paying insurance premiums, but when something happens and the insurance pays for a covered expense, they are relieved they had it....

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

Posted on: November 14th, 2013
Money values can be a guiding light that is a component of your legacy. If communicated frequently and purposefully, these values can be an important reference for your loved ones as they learn to handle money....

Strategies for Those Awkward Financial Discussions

Posted on: November 13th, 2013
There may be people close to you (spouse, parents, children) who are practicing financial behaviors that are unproductive or destructive. You want to help them get back on track, but you don’t want to come across as judgmental or condescending, or put them on the defensive....

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

Posted on: October 1st, 2013
Setting spending priorities will allow you to process your income in a rational way, while giving you the satisfaction that your wealth objectives are on their way to fulfillment....

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

Posted on: September 29th, 2013
Budgets do control spending behavior. However, budgets also allocate resources to the areas of highest impact or interest. When a budget is structured based on priorities and values, much of the controlling element is removed....

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

Posted on: September 28th, 2013
You’ve made the hard decisions, your documents are signed, your trust is funded, a business succession plan is in place. Congratulations, you’ve finished your estate planning. But have you, really?...

How to Choose a Trustee

Posted on: August 28th, 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...

Organize Information for Your Family - The When I Am Dead Book

Posted on: August 21st, 2013
Think for a few moments about what would happen if you suddenly became incapacitated or died. Just this morning, my wife and I were discussing . . ....

Why Does a Living Trust Cost More than a Will?

Posted on: August 21st, 2013
It will probably cost more initially to set up a well-drafted living trust than to have a will prepared. A true cost comparison should include not only the expense to establish the will or trust, but also what it will cost should you become incapacitated and after you die....

Successfully Passing the Family Business to Children

Posted on: August 7th, 2013
If you own and operate a business, you need to have a plan for the future of the business in the event you become unwilling or unable to manage it yourself....

Who Should Be Your Successor Trustee?

Posted on: July 31st, 2013
If you have a revocable living trust, you probably named yourself as trustee so you can continue to manage your own financial affairs, but eventually someone will need to step in for you when you are no longer able to act due to incapacity or after your death. The Successor Trustee plays an important role in the effective execution of your estate plan....

The latest target of identity thieves: The deceased

Posted on: July 24th, 2013
Identity thieves have long targeted a wide variety of potential victims – men, women, senior citizens, even children and babies. Now, a growing segment of identity theft involves deceased Americans....

Estate Planning for Unmarried Partners Part One: Planning for After Death

Posted on: June 11th, 2013
Estate planning is creating a set of instructions that specify how property is handled after death, and how property and health care decisions are handled during a period of incapacity. Proper estate planning is important for everyone. But for unmarried partners, it is critical....

The Value of Having a “Plan” in Estate Planning

Posted on: June 3rd, 2013
All too often, estate planning is viewed as a transaction: a will, a living trust, powers of attorney, etc. But the best planning happens when...

Life Insurance: How Much and What Kind?

Posted on: May 31st, 2013
Life insurance can be an affordable way to provide for our children, spouse, a sibling, aging parents and others if we should die while they are depending on us....

Hazards of Reverse Mortgages

Posted on: May 10th, 2013
A number of retirees use reverse mortgages as a way to get extra cash. Should you?...

Blended Families Underscore the Need for Estate Planning

Posted on: May 10th, 2013
Anyone with children or modest assets should seriously consider some minimal estate planning, but the increasing number of blended families underscores the need for proper estate planning....

5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

Posted on: May 4th, 2013
From time to time, it’s good to review why having a complete, up-to-date estate plan is so important. In addition to confirming our own actions, it can provide us with valuable information to pass along to friends and family who, for whatever reasons, have yet to act. So, here are five common estate planning mistakes to avoid....

Can You Trust Your Trust? Why an Online Will or Trust Could Be the Dumbest Mistake You Ever Make

Posted on: April 20th, 2013
Online legal document services offer an enticing bargain. Most people realize that they need an estate plan to manage their affairs if something happens to them. And, let’s face it, estate planning attorneys are expensive....

Should You Disinherit a Child?

Posted on: April 17th, 2013
Most parents choose to leave their estates equally to their children. But sometimes, parents intentionally choose to not leave anything to a child....

How to Leave Assets to Adult Children

Posted on: March 6th, 2013
When considering how to leave assets to adult children, the first step is to decide how much each one should receive. Most parents want to treat their children fairly, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they should receive equal shares of the estate. For example . . . ...

Naming a Guardian for Your Minor Child(ren)

Posted on: February 9th, 2013
Parents with minor children need to name someone to raise them (a guardian) in the event both parents should die before the child becomes an adult. While the likelihood of that actually happening is slim, the consequences of not naming a guardian are great....

How to Leave Assets to Minor Children

Posted on: February 1st, 2013
Every parent wants to make sure their children are provided for in the event something happens to them while the children are still minors. ...

Incorporating Faith and Values in Estate Planning

Posted on: January 26th, 2013
For many, passing along religious beliefs and values to the next generation is just as important as passing along financial wealth and tangible assets. Estate planning creates many opportunities to do this, including:...

Estate Planning in 2013 and Beyond under the New Tax Law

Posted on: January 16th, 2013
The recent tax legislation dealing with the “fiscal cliff” included significant revisions to the estate tax law that will affect estate planning for the foreseeable future. These revisions include...

8 Estate Planning Things to do Before You Travel

Posted on: December 30th, 2012
Before any trip, most of us create a “to-do list” of things we have put off and want to take care of before we leave. Here is a checklist of estate planning things to do before you take your next trip...

Naming a Guardian for Your Minor Child(ren)

Posted on: December 19th, 2012
Parents with minor children need to name someone to raise them (a guardian) in the event both parents should die before the child becomes an adult. While the likelihood of that actually happening is slim, the consequences of not naming a guardian are great....

Estate Planning for Young Families

Posted on: December 14th, 2012
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 . . ....

Planning For Incapacity and Long-Term Care

Posted on: October 26th, 2012
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. ...

What and When Should You Tell Your Children About Their Inheritance?

Posted on: October 12th, 2012
Not many parents like to talk to their children about their wealth. How much money people have is usually considered a private matter, something it's not polite to talk about. But not talking to children about how much they may inherit can leave them unprepared to handle even a modest amount....