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The Perils of Joint Property

Posted on: September 7th, 2017
That's all well and good, but joint ownership can also cause unintended consequences and complications. And it's worth considering some of these, before deciding that joint ownership is the best way to pass on assets to your heirs....

Kids Going Away To College? Why You Should Include Estate Planning in the Preparation

Posted on: August 23rd, 2017
Actually, there is something, probably not yet on your to-do list, that absolutely can make all the difference. Bring your child in to us!...

If I Don't Have an Estate, Do I Really Need an Estate Plan?

Posted on: August 10th, 2017
You don’t need to have a summer house in the Hamptons or a private art collection big enough to rival MOMA to consider yourself the owner of an estate. In fact, virtually anyone who owns anything has an “estate” in the eyes of the law....

Estate Planning: Why Me, Why Now, and Is a Will Enough?

Posted on: August 7th, 2017
You may feel that you are not wealthy enough or not old enough to bother or care. Or you may already have a Will and feel that you are all set on that front. Whatever your current position, consider these common misconceptions about estate planning....

4 Estate Planning Steps You Must Take After the Death of a Spouse

Posted on: August 2nd, 2017
When a spouse passes away, thinking about “the estate” might be the last thing on your mind. And while it’s necessary to give yourself ample time to process the loss of your partner, it’s also imperative you talk with your estate planning attorney...

Do you really need a trust?

Posted on: July 18th, 2017
Although many people equate “estate planning” with having a will, there are many advantages to having a trust rather than a will as the centerpiece of your estate plan....

Do you really need a will?

Posted on: July 5th, 2017
So, do you really need a will? The short answer to this question is “yes.” In fact, everyone who owns anything - no matter how little value it may seem to have - should have a will....

Isn’t There Already A Law That Leaves Everything To My Spouse And Kids?

Posted on: June 27th, 2017
Many people think that if they die while they are married, everything they own automatically goes to their spouse or children. They’re actually thinking of state rules that apply if someone dies without leaving a will....

Tips for Working with a Law Firm

Posted on: June 22nd, 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....

The sun has risen again. How you and your family can benefit from a (legal) late portability election.

Posted on: June 20th, 2017
How can a portability election benefit you and your family? It could help save hundreds of thousands of dollars of estate and gift taxes for your family if you lost your husband or wife in the last few years....

Estate Planning That Expresses Who You Are - 5 Things to Talk About with Your Family

Posted on: June 14th, 2017
You intend to pass along your wealth through your estate plan, but what about your wisdom? Ensuring you accomplish both calls for a family meeting to have a conversation about your money, your legacy, and your core principles....

Money Isn’t Everything in Estate Planning

Posted on: June 8th, 2017
Money may be the most talked about wealth contained within a person’s estate, but the riches of their experience and wisdom can mean even more to family members down the line....

How to Protect Your Child’s Inheritance from His or Her Untrustworthy Spouse

Posted on: June 6th, 2017
Indeed, a common question is what cost effective options are available to protect one’s children’s inheritance from a spouse in the event of untrustworthiness or divorce. Thankfully, there are many ways to structure your child’s inheritance to help......

Estate Planning for Military Families

Posted on: May 31st, 2017
Although Memorial Day just passed, it is important to honor those that have served our country. This time is also a good opportunity for members of the military and their loved ones to consider setting up an - or revising an existing - estate plan....

3 Ways Your Trust Can Help a Loved One With Mental Illness

Posted on: May 18th, 2017
When a loved one suffers from a mental illness, one small comfort can be knowing that your trust can take care of them through thick and thin....

Tools You Can Use to Leave Words of Wisdom to the Next Generation

Posted on: May 16th, 2017
You come into the world a blank slate, and as you grow, you gain wisdom. You've planned your estate to leave physical assets to beneficiaries, so now think about leaving them something that’s just as important but less tangible: the hard-won wisdom you’ve accumulated over your life. Let your family and friends learn from your mistakes, and profit from your successes. ...

The Difference between Lifetime and Deathtime Planning… and Why a Comprehensive Plan Must Include Both

Posted on: May 9th, 2017
According to a March 2017 survey by Caring.com, six out of ten Americans have no will or any other kind of estate planning. Many said they’d get around to it, eventually. When they’re old. ...

How Your Trust Can Help a Loved One Who Struggles with Addiction

Posted on: May 2nd, 2017
Substance addiction is by no means rare, impacting as many as one in seven Americans. Because of its prevalence, navigating a loved one’s addiction is actually a relatively common topic in everyday life. But you should also consider it when working on your estate planning. Whether the addiction is alcoholism, drug abuse, or behavioral like gambling, we all want our loved ones to be safe and experience a successful recovery. A properly created estate plan can help....

Which life events that require an immediate estate plan update?

Posted on: April 25th, 2017
Estate planning is the process of developing a strategy for the care and management of your estate if you become incapacitated or upon your death. One commonly known purpose of estate planning is to minimize taxes and costs, including taxes imposed on gifts, estates, generation skipping transfer and probate court costs....

3 Decidedly Dumb Ways to Leave an Inheritance for Your Children

Posted on: April 13th, 2017
Estate planning offers many ways to leave your wealth to your children, but it’s just as important to know what not to do. Here are some things that are all-too-common, but textbook examples of what not to do or try.......

Safeguarding Your Estate Plan Against Three Worst-Case Scenarios

Posted on: April 11th, 2017
Even with an estate plan, things can always happen that may cause confusion for the estate–or threaten the plan altogether. Below are three examples of worst-case scenarios and ways to demonstrate how a carefully crafted plan can address issues, from the predictable to the total surprise....

Life Insurance and Estate Planning: Protecting Your Beneficiaries’ Interests

Posted on: April 6th, 2017
One misconception people have about life insurance is that naming beneficiaries is all you have to do to ensure the benefits of life insurance will be available for a surviving spouse, children, or other intended beneficiary. Life insurance is an important estate planning tool, but without certain protections in place, there's no guarantee that your spouse or children will receive the benefit of your purchase of life insurance....

How You Can Build an Estate Plan that Includes Asset Protection

Posted on: April 3rd, 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 Top 2 Ways the Court Gets Involved in Your Estate, and How to Avoid Them

Posted on: March 29th, 2017
No one wants unnecessary court involvement in their life. But without careful and proactive estate planning, chances are that some aspect of your estate will end up being decided there....

Who Should Be Your Successor Trustee?

Posted on: March 27th, 2017
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. ...

How to Choose a Trustee

Posted on: March 23rd, 2017
When you establish a trust, you name someone to be the trustee. A trustee does what you do right now with your financial affairs - collect income, pay bills and taxes, save and invest for the future, buy and sell assets, provide for your loved ones, keep accurate records, and generally keep things organized and in good order....

Do It Now: Name a Guardian for Your Minor Child(ren)

Posted on: March 21st, 2017
We know it’s hard. Thinking about someone else raising your children stops us all in our tracks. It feels crushing and too horrific to consider. But you must. If you don’t, a stranger will determine who raises your children if something happens to you - your child’s guardian could be a relative you despise or even a stranger you’ve never met....

Avoid Living Probate: How to Keep Guardians and Conservators Out of Your Estate

Posted on: March 17th, 2017
While most proactive individuals know the importance of having a well-rounded estate plan, it is typically considered as something that will take effect after they have passed away....

How to Build Freedom From Court Interference Into Your Estate Plan

Posted on: March 15th, 2017
It’s clear why you might want to avoid court involvement in your estate for financial reasons, knowing that probate can quickly get costly and time consuming for those involved. But there is an emotional component to it as well. Your assets are just that: yours....

5 Reasons to Embrace the Emotional Nature of Estate Planning

Posted on: March 8th, 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....

Got Stuff? George Carlin Says You Need An Estate Plan!

Posted on: March 6th, 2017
George Carlin would have been a great pitchman for estate planning. You may remember his stand-up routine on "stuff." We all have stuff, and we're pretty particular about our stuff. We move it around with us, it's hard for some of us to get rid of it, and some of us don't like our stuff mixed up with other people's stuff....

A Powerful Exercise to Surface the Values You Want to Pass on to the Next Generation

Posted on: March 3rd, 2017
Every one of us receives and passes on an inheritance. The inheritance may not be an accumulation of earthly possessions or acquired riches, but whether we realize it or not, our choices, words, actions, and values will impact someone and form the heritage we hand down....

Better to Play it Safe: Proactive Estate Planning and Cognitive Impairment

Posted on: March 1st, 2017
Most financially savvy individuals begin planning their estate when they’re in peak mental shape. The idea that this might change at some point in the distant future is an unpleasant one, and they would rather go about their estate planning as if they’ll be as sharp as a tack late into their golden years. Unfortunately, this common approach of ignoring a potential problem and hoping it simply won’t happen can leave a giant hole in your estate plan. Read on to find out that this common hole can be more easily filled than you might think. ...

How to Pick a Trustee, Executor, and Agent Under a Power of Attorney

Posted on: February 27th, 2017
While the term fiduciary is a legal term with a long history, it very generally means someone who is legally obligated to act in another person’s best interests. Trustees, executors, and agents are all examples of fiduciaries. When you pick trustees, executors, and agents in your estate plan, you’re picking one or more people to make decisions in your and your beneficiaries’ best interests and in accordance with the instructions you leave. Luckily, understanding the basics of what each of these terms means and what to consider when making your choices can make your estate plan work far better....

Who Needs an Estate Plan?

Posted on: February 24th, 2017
If you’re reading this, you need an estate plan. Why? The short answer is “Everyone, age 18 and older needs an estate plan.” It doesn’t matter if you are old or young, if you have built up considerable wealth or if you are just entering adulthood - you need a written plan to keep you in control and to protect yourself and those you love....

The Shocking Truth About Asset Protection Planning

Posted on: February 22nd, 2017
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....

New Legislation Could Mean the End of Estate and GSTT Taxes

Posted on: February 20th, 2017
On January 24, 2017, the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017, or H.R. 631, was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives by South Dakota congresswoman Kristi Noem. If passed, H.R. 631 would completely repeal the federal estate tax. A separate companion bill put before the Senate by South Dakota senator John Thune, S. 205, would also repeal the generation-skipping transfer tax (GSTT)....

How to Align Insurance with Your Estate Plan

Posted on: February 17th, 2017
If you’re like most folks, you use a variety of insurance products to manage risk and protect you, your family, and your assets from losses caused by property damage, businesses, property, accidents, disability, retirement, and death. However, instead of considering these insurances as separate items, we suggest you make them part of an integrated, overall risk management plan....

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

Posted on: February 15th, 2017
You may be surprised to learn that you already have asset protection in place. In fact, you probably have one or more types of traditional asset protection planning in place at this very moment. The problem is it likely won’t be enough to protect you and your family....

The Real Life Perils of Online and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Estate Planning

Posted on: February 8th, 2017
With the number of online and do-it-yourself (DIY) legal providers continuing to grow and advertise heavily, you may be wondering if you could do your estate planning with the help of these forms. Attorneys just charge for forms, right?...

Is a Financial Plan Enough? Why Experts Say You Need an Estate Plan, too

Posted on: January 26th, 2017
If you want to leave a robust financial legacy for your family, a financial plan alone is like trying to guide a boat with just one oar. It’s only part of the big picture for your overall monetary health. A well-informed financial plan is worth your time for several reasons, but let’s look at how financial and estate planning can work in tandem to create the best possible future for you and your family in the years to come:...

The Pros and Cons of Probate

Posted on: January 23rd, 2017
In estate planning circles, the word “probate” often comes with a starkly negative connotation. Indeed, for many people — especially those with larger estates — financial planners recommend trying to keep property out of probate whenever possible. That being said, the probate system was ultimately established to protect the property of the deceased and his/her heirs, and in a few cases it may even work to an advantage....

Impacts of the Trump Presidency on Estate Planning: Your Quick Guide

Posted on: January 20th, 2017
It's official — the Electoral College voted on December 19, 2016, essentially completing the 2016 presidential election cycle. With that bit of uncertainty behind us and a fresh year starting out, here's what you need to know about planning your estate under the incoming Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress....

Estate Planning for Physicians

Posted on: January 19th, 2017
You’re smart and you worked hard in college and medical school; you’re respected in the medical profession and your community; you’ve got a nice house and car. Unfortunately - there’s a downside to all of that. As your worst nightmare suggests, there’s always someone who is primed and ready to take it all away....

Why Your Estate Planning Project Must Morph into a Process

Posted on: January 16th, 2017
Many people put their estate plan on their to-do list as a one-time project: “Create estate plan” or “Meeting with lawyer 10:30 a.m. Thursday for estate plan.” Thinking of your estate plan as a single project or task to complete and move off your list is a common approach – but it’s also an approach that can land you in considerable hot water. Here’s why it’s essential to view your estate plan as a process, rather than a project....

‘Till Death Do Us Part, Too: Estate Planning Tips for Commitment Without Marriage

Posted on: January 12th, 2017
Advice columnist Ann Landers once observed that “love is friendship that has caught fire.” If that’s true, there are thousands of ways for that blaze to unfold. For many Americans, such devotion and passion do not need to be neatly formalized as marriage....

Why a Trust is the Best Option for Avoiding Probate

Posted on: January 9th, 2017
As Ambrose Bierce once darkly observed, “Death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate.”...

One Last Thing: Don’t Miss These 2016 Hot Estate Planning Topics

Posted on: December 30th, 2016
In case you missed any of them, here is a rundown of six hot estate planning topics we covered this year:...

Stress Test Your Estate Plan

Posted on: December 21st, 2016
So you've done the hard work of establishing an estate plan. Good on you, as they say across the Pond. However, you still have serious work to do to ensure that the strategy you've selected will maximize your peace of mind and protect your legacy....

You’ll Be Surprised: When Is The Best Time To Plan Your Estate?

Posted on: December 9th, 2016
Some people start thinking of getting a will in place when children arrive on the scene so guardians are named. Most people start thinking about planning their estates when they reach retirement age. However, you might be surprised, even shocked, to know that the best time to plan your estate is at age 18. The second best time to plan your estate is right now....

Hurry! Starting January 1, 2017 - the New IRS Regulations Might Raise Taxes on Your Family’s Inheritance

Posted on: December 9th, 2016
The IRS recently released proposed regulations which effectively end valuation discounts that have been relied upon for over 20 years. If the IRS’s current timetable holds, these regulations may become final as early as January 1, 2017. Although that date isn’t set in stone, I expect that the regulations will be final around that time or shortly thereafter...

What To Do After a Loved One Dies

Posted on: November 23rd, 2016
If you've been appointed an executor of a loved one's estate or a successor trustee, and that person dies, your grief – not to mention your to-do list, including tasks ranging from planning the funeral, coordinating relatives coming in from out of town and (eventually) meeting with a trust administration or probate lawyer – can be quite overwhelming. First and foremost, take care of yourself during this emotional time....

How do I balance the interests of my children and my spouse from a second marriage?

Posted on: November 12th, 2016
We’ll help you set up a loving estate plan that protects and provides for whomever you’d like - often that’s children and, sometimes, a second or third spouse. ...

What is estate planning?

Posted on: November 9th, 2016
It may surprise you to know that estate planning has very little to do with money or legal documents. Estate planning is really about creating your legacy: protecting and providing for you, your loved ones, and your property; staying in control; and offering guidance....

3 Tips for Overwhelmed Executors

Posted on: November 5th, 2016
While it is an honor to be named as an executor of a will or estate, it can also be a sobering and daunting responsibility. Being a personal representative requires a high level of organization, foresight, and attention to detail to meet all responsibilities and ensure that all beneficiaries receive the assets to which they are entitled....

When do my children need to get their own estate plan?

Posted on: October 25th, 2016
Everyone is surprised when we answer this question. Even an 18-year-old high school senior needs her own estate plan. Once a child attains the age of 18, she is legally an adult and must make her own health care, financial, and legal decisions. Without legal documentation, parents are powerless to act on behalf of their adult children....

Want to Give the Kids an Early Inheritance?

Posted on: October 11th, 2016
If you’re thinking about giving your children their inheritance early, you’re not alone. A recent Merrill Lynch study suggests that these days, nearly two-thirds of people over the age of 50 would rather pass their assets to the children early than make them wait until the will is read....

5 Things Every Kansas Mother Teaches Their Child

Posted on: September 30th, 2016
Think of a will, trust and other estate planning documents as an instruction manual for your executor and the courts to follow. You must be clear and consistent in your stated intentions regarding your child, as well as for others....

Estate Planning for the New Normal

Posted on: October 6th, 2015
Estate planning has truly evolved over the past 20 years. Gone is the uncertainty about federal estate taxes and the absolute requirement for married couples to use complex trusts to minimize these taxes. But also gone is planning for the 'traditional' family. In fact, today's estate planning is more complicated than ever before. ...

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"Excellent service based on expert knowledge. Working with Corey was fantastic. My wife and I were setting up a new business, and needed to have a complete estate plan established. Corey not only covered the basics, but included important protections for our children’s future that I never would have thought of. He also made sure we understood how to use the information in order to update other assets like life insurance. I have recommended Corey to several of my friends, and will continue to do so without reservation." - Tim (Belton, MO)