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2015 Resolution: Estate Plan Checkup!

Posted on: December 15th, 2014
With 2015 right around the corner, it's time to start thinking about your new year's resolutions. 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....

The Wrong Successor Trustee Can Derail Your Final Wishe

Posted on: December 1st, 2014
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....

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

Posted on: November 15th, 2014
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:

Posted on: November 1st, 2014
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....

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

Posted on: October 15th, 2014
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....

4 Tips for Avoiding a Will or Trust Contest

Posted on: October 1st, 2014
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....

How to Stop Worrying About Running Out of Money in Retirement

Posted on: September 15th, 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. People are living longer and health care costs continue rising, especially long-term care which many seniors will need. In addition, the recent recession has given us setbacks in investments and record low interest rates. When combined, these issues can have a serious effect on retirement savings and projected income. But there are some things you can do now to help manage your shortfall risk and protect your assets....

How to Minimize Legal Fees After Death

Posted on: September 1st, 2014
Today, it is impossible to put together even a simple estate plan without the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. Why? Because estate planning laws vary greatly from state to state and these laws are extremely convoluted and constantly changing....

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Will: 3 Critical Mistakes

Posted on: August 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. He was only 46....

Should I Write My Own Will?

Posted on: August 1st, 2014
I'm sure you have heard this less than eloquent phrase before - 'Garbage in, garbage out.' The phrase is typically used in computer programming and scientific research. Unfortunately, it also applies to the law, legal documents, and writing your own Will....

Why Does Probate Take So Long?

Posted on: July 15th, 2014
Probate can be easily avoided, but most estates are dragged through the process. Why? Many people fail to create an estate plan, so probate is required. And - others plan with just a Will, so probate is required. As a result, assets end up at the mercy of a probate judge, open to public scrutiny, and delayed passing to beneficiaries....

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

Posted on: July 1st, 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....

Will Your Revocable Living Trust Avoid Probate? It Depends.

Posted on: June 15th, 2014
If you've set up a Revocable Living Trust, congratulations! You're definitely on the right track. But...you're only half way there. Many believe because they took the time to create a Trust, their estate will automatically avoid probate. Unfortunately, this is a false sense of security....

The Most Important Love Letters You'll Ever Write

Posted on: June 1st, 2014
Many Americans have the misperception that estate planning is simply preparing for one's death and is only necessary for the affluent. To the contrary, estate planning is as much about passing values to loved ones as it is about passing material possessions....

Paying for College - and Estate Planning

Posted on: May 15th, 2014
With higher education costs outpacing inflation by 5-6% per year, and the average cost of a four-year public school at nearly $20,000 per year (double that for private schools) it's no surprise that many parents and grandparents are deeply concerned about how they will pay for higher education. Many of these clients are similarly concerned about estate planning...

Who needs an Estate Plan?

Posted on: May 1st, 2014
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....

How to Get Organized to Meet With Your Estate Planning Attorney

Posted on: April 15th, 2014
OK, great! 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. Now that you've scheduled the first appointment, what's the next step?...

Newlyweds: How to be Prepared for the Unexpected

Posted on: April 1st, 2014
It's that time of year - the time for beautiful weddings, fun receptions, delicious cakes, special gifts, and romantic honeymoons. While this is a joyous time for everyone, it's also time for you and your new spouse to plan for your future - for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health....

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

Posted on: March 15th, 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....

Are You Wasting Money? Part 3

Posted on: March 1st, 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....
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