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How to Successfully Make a “Large” Gift to Your Children or Grandchildren

Posted on: November 6th, 2018
What constitutes a “large” gift can be relative. That being said, if you are considering giving cash or property to someone, a little bit of planning can really help avoid negative consequences. ...

Should your child’s guardian and trustee be the same person?

Posted on: October 17th, 2018
When it comes to estate planning, who will be ultimately in charge of your minor child is an important decision that requires consideration of many factors....

Five Considerations When Selecting a Guardian for Your Children

Posted on: October 3rd, 2018
There is no question that having children changes everything -- and estate planning is no exception......

How an Estate Planning Letter of Intent Can Help Your Family

Posted on: September 19th, 2018
Estate planning can do much more than focus on finances, it can also provide for care of those you leave behind. One aspect of estate planning that is often overlooked but can be quite useful is the letter of intent. This document is typically contained within an estate plan and includes instructions on how the estate and decedent’s executors should manage the estate’s assets and care for family and loved ones....

Digital Afterlife: An Estate Plan For Your Facebook Account

Posted on: September 12th, 2018
Did you ever wonder what happens to your digital footprint when you pass away?...

Legal Considerations When Getting Your New College Student Ready to Go

Posted on: September 5th, 2018
The last thing you may be thinking about is estate planning for your college-aged child. While your child may not have any assets (yet), once he or she turns 18, your child is considered an adult in the eyes of the law. Before your kids go away, have a frank conversation with them about how much information -- including grades, finances, health records -- you will be able to access....

What to Do with Your Beloved Collection

Posted on: August 29th, 2018
Whether your beloved collection consists of artwork, books, cars, music, or other significant items, you should not forget about this valuable asset when estate planning....

Finding the Right Fit: Questions For Prospective Wills and Trusts Attorneys

Posted on: August 22nd, 2018
It goes without saying that estate planning is incredibly important and is more than just having a will or a trust. Estate planning offers a sense of security for you and your loved ones that your wishes will be carried out. With such an important and personal endeavor, selecting the right Wills and Trusts Attorney is crucial....

The Biggest Threats to Successful Estate Planning

Posted on: August 15th, 2018
While having your estate planning documents prepared is the first hurdle to overcoming these types of disasters, there are several threats that lurk around the corner that might derail your wishes....

Steps For Starting the End-of-Life Conversation

Posted on: August 8th, 2018
No one wants to discuss death and dying. And yet, it’s a critical time in everyone’s life and one for which we know we need to prepare. While many people have the desire to share their wishes, something is preventing people from openly communicating with their families....

Joint Tenancy Pitfalls: The ‘Simple’ Fix that Can Leave Your Family Broke

Posted on: July 31st, 2018
As a way to simplify the transfer process and avoid probate, you may be tempted to add a child or other relative to the deed or bank account utilizing the ownership type of joint tenancy with right of survivorship (JTwROS). However, while this type of ownership delivers a lot of potential benefits, it may also be masking some dangerous pitfalls....

How many plans do I need?

Posted on: July 25th, 2018
Most folks have at least heard of an estate plan. But fewer realize that a simple will is not enough to prepare for your future. In fact, a combination of plans - financial, tax, legacy, and estate - are vital to your financial well-being and protection of your assets and family. All of these plans are closely linked, affecting one another but also serving different purposes....

How to Leave Your Life Insurance and Retirement Plan to Your Minor Children

Posted on: July 11th, 2018
Your children are your pride and joy. It is no surprise that at some point or another, every parent likely becomes concerned about who will care for a minor child or children if one or both parents die or are incapacitated....

Declare your Independence from Court Interference!

Posted on: July 4th, 2018
While the rest of the nation celebrates its independence on July 4th, you can rest assured that you too can declare independence for your family -- from court interference....

How to Fix 5 Common Estate Planning Problems

Posted on: June 27th, 2018
Five common estate planning mistakes and how to fix them so that you are fully protecting your family....

The One Thing Every New Grandparent MUST Do As Soon as Possible

Posted on: June 13th, 2018
One thing that every new grandparent must do as soon as possible that is often overlooked. Specifically, every new grandparent should immediately create (or revise) an estate plan so that it includes your family’s newest generation....

Beneficiary Designations and a Blended Family: Why You Need to Think Before You Sign

Posted on: June 6th, 2018
Whether you are in your first marriage or have remarried after a divorce, blended families are a common part of modern society. That being said, it is important to understand that blended families and subsequent marries create important and unique issues when it comes to estate planning....

Roth IRA Conversions After Tax Reform...Still a good idea? What are the implications for your family if you don’t spend all the money?

Posted on: May 30th, 2018
Twenty years ago, the Roth IRA first became available to investors as a financial tool for their estate planning needs. These accounts have maintained their popularity because unlike their traditional IRA counterpart, a Roth IRA provides account owners tax-free income during retirement....

Are Your Documents Following the Same Script? Basics of Beneficiary Forms and Estate Planning

Posted on: May 23rd, 2018
In the event of your untimely death, the manner in which your beneficiaries -- or those people who receive your assets from your estate -- are determined is highly dependent on how your property is titled....

Don’t Make These Common, Expensive Mistakes: How to Leave Assets to Minor Children

Posted on: May 9th, 2018
Most parents want 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 good friends sometimes want to leave gifts to beloved young children, too. Unfortunately, good intentions and poor planning often have unintended results....

How to Leave Assets to Adult Children

Posted on: May 2nd, 2018
Some parents worry about leaving too much money to their children. They want their children to have enough to do whatever they wish, but not so much that they will be lazy and unproductive. So, instead of giving everything to their children, some parents leave inheritances for grandchildren and future generations through a trust, and/or make a generous charitable contribution....

Small Business Owner? Know What Can Happen to Your Business If You Become Incapacitated or Pass Away

Posted on: April 25th, 2018
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Protecting Your Children’s Inheritance After Divorce

Posted on: April 18th, 2018
If you are divorced, it is essential to make sure your plan works precisely the way you want. Every situation is unique, but we are here to help design a plan that achieves your goals and works for your family. Give us a call today if you have any questions....

Why Not Just Go Online and Create Your Own Estate Planning Documents Cheaply?

Posted on: April 11th, 2018
There are many software programs, as well as websites, that sell do-it-yourself estate planning documents. These websites and form creation tools seem to offer a convenient and cost-effective alternative to consulting with an estate planning attorney. But will they really meet your needs and protect your family? Is online, do-it-yourself estate planning worth the perceived upfront savings?...

Estate Planning Mistakes Seniors (Including You or Your Parents) Can’t Afford to Make

Posted on: April 4th, 2018
Estate planning really should become a priority as soon as you acquire your first asset, have a child, or step into adulthood in any other truly meaningful way. And yet many of us put it off for far too long, leaving ourselves and our families at risk of getting stuck in the court system in the event of an unexpected accident, illness, or injury. I get it, planning for your incapacity and death can be scary. But it’s even more frightening to think of the potential tragedies that can arise if you and your family don’t have the right planning in place....

Succession Planning When Not All of Your Kids are in the Family Business

Posted on: March 28th, 2018
Owning your own business can be a great endeavor that takes a lot of passion and drive. Many small business owners focus on the day-to-day management and growth of the business, rather than thinking about a time when he or she may not be in the business....

Not Married? You’re not alone – but you still need a plan. Estate Planning for People Living Together, Bachelors, and Bachelorettes

Posted on: March 21st, 2018
Approximately half of America’s population over the age of 16 is unmarried. While much of the discussion involving estate planning focuses on married couples, this topic is just as important for a single person. In fact, many times it is even more important that a single person have a well-coordinated estate plan....

Five Surprisingly Common Planning Mistakes Baby Boomers are Making in Droves

Posted on: March 14th, 2018
Baby boomers - the first generation tasked with the responsibility of planning for and funding their golden years. This generation, which includes those born between 1946 and 1964, have entered and continue to enter into retirement. ...

How Estate Planning Can Help You Dream About Your Future

Posted on: March 12th, 2018
A dream without a plan is simply a wish. Estate planning is not just about death and taxes -- it puts you in the driver’s seat of your financial life, allowing you to set achievable goals....

What Happens to Your Student Loan Debt When You Die?

Posted on: March 7th, 2018
So what happens to your student loan debt when you die? Below are the different types of loans and what happens to the debt in the event the borrower passes away. Although it may not be a pleasant topic, it is imperative that you consider your debt as you work on your financial and estate plans....

Small Business Owner? Know What Can Happen to Your Business If You Become Incapacitated or Pass Away

Posted on: February 14th, 2018
Preparing your company for your incapacity or death is vital to the survival of the enterprise. Otherwise, your business will be disrupted, harming your customers, employees, vendors, and ultimately, your family....

Who should I pick to be successor trustee?

Posted on: February 8th, 2018
When you create a living trust, you usually need to choose who to name as your successor trustee. It is crucial that this decision is not taken lightly and that the right person is selected for the job....

What do successor trustees and executors do?

Posted on: February 6th, 2018
You have the option of having more than one trustee or executor. It is better to name a sequence of trustees or executors rather than joint ones....

Are Payable-On-Death Accounts Right For You?

Posted on: January 31st, 2018
POD sounds great because they are easy. But, there can be significant problems using this as the primary tool for passing along what you’ve worked to build....

Why Your Estate Planner Needs to Know If You've Lent Money to Family

Posted on: January 24th, 2018
What can you do to make sure your intra-family loans help — rather than hurt — your family?...

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

Posted on: January 17th, 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....

High Deductible Health Plan? How Your Health Savings Account (HSA) Works with Your Estate Plan

Posted on: January 10th, 2018
If you’re enrolled in a qualified high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you must consider how your health savings account (HSA) fits into your estate plan—especially to make sure that any hard-earned money left in your HSA when you die goes where you want it....

Why a Spendthrift Trust Can Be a Great Solution for Your Heirs

Posted on: January 8th, 2018
There are many tools that can be used when putting together your estate plan. One such tool is a trust....

There’s Never A Better Time Than Now To Get Your Affairs in Order

Posted on: January 3rd, 2018
The idea of getting your financial and legal house in order is likely the last thing on your mind. But, getting started is much easier than you think. Don’t hold this task off for later. Some careful thought and a little bit of work now can go a long way to help you feel 100% confident about moving forward in 2018....

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

Posted on: December 20th, 2017
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....

How to Share Family History and Heirlooms with Your Estate Plan

Posted on: December 6th, 2017
The best time to share your family history with loved ones is right now, before the memories are forgotten....

Do You Own Rental Property? How Proactive, Comprehensive Estate Planning Can Help

Posted on: November 22nd, 2017
If you own rental property, however, your estate plan will be more complicated because there are some unique considerations....

Can You Bequeath Your 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. ...

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. ...

Does My Estate Plan Need to Include My Vacation Property?

Posted on: October 25th, 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....

How Long Should You Keep Important Documents?

Posted on: October 18th, 2017
In a society dominated by paperwork, the question of how long to hold on to important documents has been baffling for most people....

IRAs, Annuities and Guardianship: Providing for Your Minor Children after You Die

Posted on: October 11th, 2017
Deciding on a guardian for your minor children may very well be the most vexing decision you’ll make regarding your estate planning. Not only must you trust the appointed guardian to raise your children as you’d want them raised, but you also need that person to be financially responsible with your children’s inheritance....

How Does an IRA Fit Into Your Estate Plan?

Posted on: October 4th, 2017
When you think of IRAs, you probably think of retirement. But what happens to your IRA money after you’re gone? ...

New Baby? Time to Create Your Estate Plan

Posted on: September 27th, 2017
Whatever the reason for not putting an estate plan together, it is important to understand that if you just had a baby - now is the time to meet with an estate planning attorney to implement a plan. ...

How A Living Trust Helps Your Family

Posted on: September 14th, 2017
There are several parts to an estate plan, one of them being a living trust. Common factors that prompt someone to create a trust include privacy, tax benefits, avoiding probate, and caring for family members with special needs. Estate planning also lets you dictate how your assets will pass on to future generations after your death....

Estate Planning For the Newly Married

Posted on: September 12th, 2017
Now is the perfect time to start working on an estate plan—because, as newlyweds, you may not have a list of your accounts, but you've effectively just done a working inventory of your possessions—as you've figured out how to consolidate two households into one. You've already been working on the new banking and shared responsibility of bills and taxes and so forth....

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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