Latest Blog Posts

What is a Spendthrift Trust? Why is it great for my estate plan?

Posted on: January 19th, 2018
There are many tools that can be used when putting together your estate plan. One such tool is a trust. A trust is a fiduciary arrangement, established by a grantor or trustmaker, which gives a third party (known as a trustee) the authority to manage assets on behalf of one or more persons (known as a beneficiaries). Since every situation is different, there are different types of trusts to ensure the best outcome for each beneficiary. One type of trust, known as a spendthrift trust, is commonly used to protect a beneficiary’s interest from creditors, a soon-to-be ex-spouse, or his or her own poor management of money. Generally, these trusts are created for the benefit of individuals who are not good with money, might easily fall into debt, may be easily defrauded or deceived, or have an addiction that may result in squandering of funds....

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

Posted on: January 18th, 2018
If you carry debt, do not assume that your death or incapacity will make it automatically disappear. To the contrary, the money you owe may eat away at the assets you were planning to leave to your heirs or -- if you owe a large amount of money -- may wipe out your estate completely. Debt comes in many different forms including credit cards, student loans, car payments, mortgages, and other financial obligations....

Organizing for Tax (and Estate Planning) Season

Posted on: January 15th, 2018
It’s the start of a new year, which means tax season—and this year’s April 17th IRS filing deadline—is just around the corner. Soon you’ll be receiving tax forms such as your W-2 or 1099s, and you’ll start thinking about the life events that could affect your taxes in various ways....

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

Posted on: January 12th, 2018
There is a common misconception that estate plans are only for the ultra-rich - the top 1 percent, 10%, 20%, or some other arbitrary determination of “enough” money. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. People at all income and wealth levels can benefit from a comprehensive estate plan. Sadly, many have not sat down to put their legal house in order....

What to Expect from Estate Planning in 2018

Posted on: January 11th, 2018
As we all look ahead to 2018, let’s consider a few things to watch regarding estate planning, so you and your family can be completely protected....

How to Share Family History and Heirlooms with Your Estate Plan

Posted on: November 22nd, 2017
The best time to share your family history with loved ones is right now, before the memories are forgotten. The coming holiday season is a great opportunity to reminisce because you’ll probably have your loved ones nearby. While you can always pull aside children and grandchildren for a chat about family history, did you know you may also be able to use a personal property memorandum in your estate plan to pass along special memories and stories about specific items that are meaningful to you and connect your family with the past?...

How Do I Protect Rental Property That I Own?

Posted on: November 15th, 2017
How Proactive, Comprehensive Estate Planning Can Help A comprehensive estate plan should address all of your assets. For most people, an estate plan must include three common categories: (1) your home; (2) financial accounts, like your checking and savings account; and (3) personal property. Other types of assets - such as life insurance, retirement funds, and annuities - should also be considered as part of your estate plan. If you own rental property, however, your estate plan will be more complicated because there are some unique considerations....

Can I Bequeath My Frequent Flyer Miles?

Posted on: November 8th, 2017
If you’re a frequent airline traveler, one of your estate planning concerns may be what will happen to your accumulated miles once you’re gone. They could be worth thousands of dollars, so you probably don’t want them to just disappear, but some airline policies say that’s exactly what will happen....

How Long Should You Keep Important Documents?

Posted on: November 6th, 2017
In a society dominated by paperwork, the question of how long to hold on to important documents has been baffling for most people. We especially worry about documents of a financial or personally identifying nature. People who worry about losing something important sometimes hoard everything; others who worry about things like identity theft are too quick to shred documents. Most of us, however, lie somewhere between these two extremes: Simply and utterly confused about what to keep and how long to keep it....

Should I include my Vacation Property in my Estate Plan?

Posted on: November 1st, 2017
Yes! If you own a vacation home, timeshare, investment property, or any other asset outside of the state where you are domiciled, you must make sure it’s included in your estate plan. If you fail to include these in your estate plan, or fail to have an estate plan at all, your heirs will encounter issues, and usually the expense and hassle of court costs, when inheriting these assets....

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

Posted on: October 31st, 2017
The idea of implementing an estate plan might be one of the scariest things you have to confront as an adult. But estate planning does not have to make chills run down your spine. On the contrary, estate planning is empowering for both you and your family and allows you to live confidently knowing that things will be taken care of in the event of your passing or incapacity. Remember, estate planning is not just for the ultra-rich. If you own anything or have young children, you should have an estate plan. Read below to find out reasons why....

Diligent Asset Protection Planning

Posted on: September 5th, 2017
Much of estate planning has to do with the way a person’s assets will be distributed upon their death. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. From smart incapacity planning to diligent probate avoidance, there is a lot that goes into crafting a comprehensive estate plan. One important factor to consider is asset protection....

The Emotional Nature of Estate Planning

Posted on: August 10th, 2017
When you hear the phrase “estate plan,” you might first think about paperwork. Or your mind might land on some of the uncomfortable topics that estate planning confronts head-on: end-of-life decisions, incapacity, and your family’s legacy from generation to generation. Those subjects hit home for everyone....

Why a Trust is the best option for avoiding probate

Posted on: July 20th, 2017
There are many “tools of the trade” that a qualified attorney can use to keep your assets out of probate - for example, establishing joint ownership on bank accounts and real estate titles, designating beneficiaries for life insurance policies and certain accounts, and so on. However, setting up a revocable living trust is quite often the best, most comprehensive option for avoiding probate. Let’s discuss why this is true....

New Legislation Could Mean the End of Estate and GSTT Taxes

Posted on: July 12th, 2017
In a time where so much is changing in America’s legal landscape and the possibility of sweeping national tax reform seems imminent, it’s more important than ever to keep your estate plan up to date in accordance with the newest laws and provisions....

Get the Most Out of Your Work with Your Lawyer

Posted on: July 5th, 2017
When you hire an attorney for estate planning, help with a loved one’s estate, or any other legal matter you want to make sure that the work gets done as quickly as possible and at the best possible value....

Incorporating proper incapacity or disability planning into your Estate Plan

Posted on: June 22nd, 2015
No one ever plans to become disabled. Disability doesn't just happen to the elderly or those who pursue risky and dangerous hobbies. Motor vehicle accidents, work-related injuries, and otherwise common illnesses render many individuals disabled or 'incapacitated' every year....

What to do when a Loved One passes

Posted on: June 10th, 2015
After a loved one dies, you need to gather the important documents that are necessary to settle their final affairs. Are your named Agents knowledgeable and prepared to begin administration upon your death? If you are named as an Agent for a loved one, do you know what your duties and responsibilities are and how to being the administration process?...

Passing real property to a loved one properly

Posted on: May 21st, 2015
One common way to avoid probate of real estate after the owner dies is to hold the title to the property in joint names with rights of survivorship with children or other beneficiaries. This is accomplished by adding the names of the children and certain legal terms to a new deed for the property and then recording it in the applicable public land records. ...

Choosing the Right Successor Trustee

Posted on: May 5th, 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....

Estate Planning for Everyone

Posted on: April 29th, 2015
Estate planning is as much about passing values to loved ones as it is about passing material possessions....

Getting Ready

Posted on: April 13th, 2015
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. ...

Discretionary Lifetime Trusts

Posted on: April 6th, 2015
If you think you only need to create discretionary lifetime trusts for young beneficiaries, problem beneficiaries, or financially inexperienced beneficiaries, then think again. In this day and age of frivolous lawsuits and high divorce rates, discretionary lifetime trusts should be considered for all of your beneficiaries, minors and adults alike....

The importance of proper Estate Planning

Posted on: April 1st, 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. ...

Funding your Revocable Living Trust

Posted on: March 23rd, 2015
The key to probate avoidance is proper asset ownership, including the full funding of your Revocable Living Trust....

Naming a Successor Trustee

Posted on: August 6th, 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....

Planning an Inheritance for your Minor Children

Posted on: February 26th, 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. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives often want to leave some of their assets to young children, too. But good intentions and poor planning often have unintended results...

The Many Needs for Life Insurance in our Lives

Posted on: January 18th, 2013
The main reasons most people have life insurance are to pay final expenses (medical, funeral, burial, etc.), replace an income stream and/or create wealth for our dependents after we die. Life insurance can also play an important role in business, estate planning and charitable giving....

Estate Planning for Young Families

Posted on: January 7th, 2013
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....