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5 Ways DIY Estate Plans Can Fail & Leave Your Family At Risk—Part 2

Do a Google search for “digital wills” or “online estate planning,” and you’ll find dozens of different websites offering low-cost, do-it-yourself (DIY) and sometimes even free estate planning documents, such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives.

From LegalZoom® and Rocket Lawyer® to TrustandWill.com and FreeWill.com, these DIY legal documents may seem like a cheap and easy way to finally cross estate planning off your to-do list—and do so without having to pay a lawyer big bucks to assist you. After all, you’ve been able to prepare and file your taxes online for years, is estate planning really that much different? And aren’t lawyers using the very same forms you find on these DIY document websites? 

An Inconvenient Truth
This kind of thinking is exactly what DIY and online estate planning services would like you to believe, but it’s far from true. In fact, relying on DIY or online estate...

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5 Ways DIY Estate Plans Can Fail & Leave Your Family At Risk—Part 1

Do a Google search for “digital wills” or “online estate planning,” and you’ll find dozens of different websites offering low-cost, do-it-yourself (DIY) and sometimes even free estate planning documents, such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives.

From LegalZoom® and Rocket Lawyer® to TrustandWill.com and FreeWill.com, these DIY legal documents may seem like a cheap and easy way to finally cross estate planning off your to-do list—and do so without having to pay a lawyer big bucks to assist you. After all, you’ve been able to prepare and file your taxes online for years, is estate planning really that much different? And aren’t lawyers using the very same forms you find on these DIY document websites? 


An Inconvenient Truth
This kind of thinking is exactly what DIY and online estate planning services would like you to believe, but it’s far from true. In fact, relying on DIY or online estate...

Continue Reading...

Updating Your Estate Plan For Divorce: 5 Changes To Make

Uncategorized Apr 13, 2022

 Even if the process is amicable, divorce can be one of life's most stressful events. With so many major changes taking place, it’s easy to forget to update your estate plan—or simply put it off until it's too late. After all, dealing with yet another lawyer is probably the last thing you want to do.

 

However, neglecting to update your estate plan for divorce can have potentially tragic consequences. And you shouldn’t wait until the divorce is final to rework your plan—you should update it as soon as you realize the split is inevitable.

Here’s why: Your marriage is legally still in full effect until your divorce is final, so if you die or become incapacitated while your divorce is ongoing and haven’t changed your estate plan, your soon-to-be ex spouse could wind up with complete control over you life and assets. Unless you want your ex to have that kind of power, you need to take action as soon as possible.

 

However, keep in mind...

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Protect Your Home, Family, & Assets From The Growing Threat Of Natural Disasters

Over just the last two years, we’ve seen historic levels of damage caused by natural disasters in the U.S. From blizzards in Texas and wildfires in California to hurricanes in Louisiana and tornados in the Midwest, few regions of the country are immune to such catastrophes. And based on the latest data from the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO), things are only going to get worse.

 

The WMO found that climate change has helped drive a five-fold increase in the number of weather-related disasters in the last 50 years, and these calamities are getting more severe each year. As a result of climate change, weather records are being broken all the time, turning previously impossible events into deadly realities.

 

Despite this threat, a majority of homeowners lack the insurance coverage needed to protect their property and possessions from such calamities. Roughly 64% of homeowners don’t have enough insurance, according to a 2020 report from...

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A Not-So-Happy Accident: Bob Ross's Estate Planning Failures Leave His Son With Next To Nothing - Part 2

 

As the host of the wildly popular The Joy of Painting TV series on PBS, Bob Ross became a pop-culture icon, who was equally famous for his giant head of hair, soothing baritone voice, and folksy demeanor as he was for his iconic landscape paintings. And like so many other artists, Bob’s artwork and image would become even more popular following Bob’s death in 1995.

Bob’s philosophy in both painting and life was that there “were no mistakes in life… just happy little accidents.” Sadly, as detailed in the recent Netflix documentary Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed, Bob’s failure to coordinate his business agreements with his estate plan was anything but happy, leaving his only son largely unable to benefit from his father’s fame and fortune.

Bob’s planning failures led to an ugly court battle between his former business partners and his family, who were fighting for control of the lucrative intellectual...

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A Not-So-Happy Accident: Bob Ross's Estate Planning Failures Leave His Son With Next To Nothing - Part 1

 As the host of the wildly popular The Joy of Painting TV series on PBS, Bob Ross became a pop-culture icon, who was equally famous for his giant head of hair, soothing baritone voice, and folksy demeanor as he was for his iconic landscape paintings. And like so many other artists, Bob’s artwork and image would become even more popular following Bob’s death in 1995.

Bob’s philosophy in both painting and life was that there “were no mistakes in life… just happy little accidents.” Sadly, as detailed in the recent Netflix documentary Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed, Bob’s failure to coordinate his business agreements with his estate plan was anything but happy, leaving his only son largely unable to benefit from his father’s fame and fortune.

As we’ll discuss in this series, Bob’s planning failures have led to an ugly court battle between his former business partners and his family, who were fighting for...

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Estate Planning For A Child With Special Needs: What Parents Need To Know

Estate planning is an obvious concern for all parents, but if you have a child with special needs, it’s crucial that you are aware of the unique considerations that go into planning for a child who may be dependent on you at some level for their lifetime. If your child has special needs, you must understand exactly what’s necessary to provide for the emotional, physical, and financial needs of your child, in the event of your own eventual death or potential incapacity.

When creating your estate plan, there are two major considerations for you to focus on: 1) Who would care for your child if and when you cannot (also known as guardianship), and 2) How will your child’s financial needs be met when you are not there to meet them.

Naming Legal Guardians for a Lifetime of Care

The first and most critical step in ensuring the future well-being of your child with special needs is to name both short and long-term legal guardians to take custody of and care for your child...

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Don’t Leave Your Children With The Babysitter Until You Read This

As we head into the third year of the pandemic, we are coming to terms with just how fragile our lives and health really are. If you haven’t gotten sick yourself, it’s almost certain you know someone who has, and many of us even know of one or more individuals who have died in the past two years. 

 

Although serious illness and death are something we are always at risk for—and should plan for—the pandemic has forced many of us to face our own mortality like no other event in recent memory. Some of those worst-case scenarios we thought would never happen now seem much more likely, and for some people, those unthinkable situations have even become reality.


Understanding The Risks

Yet even if you manage to avoid becoming sick right now, the fact remains that we are all vulnerable to serious illness or injury, regardless of how young or healthy you are. And if you are a parent, one of the most frightening aspects of that reality is knowing that should...

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What To Expect From Your Initial Meeting With Us Your Personal Family Lawyer®

Whether you’ve met with an estate planning lawyer before or it’s your first time, it’s important to understand how working with us, your Personal Family Lawyer® is different from meeting with a traditional lawyer. 

Here we will explain what’s involved with our process, in hopes that it will inspire you to meet with us, your Personal Family Lawyer® and get clear on what your family needs you to have in place, so you don’t leave behind a mess if you become incapacitated or when you die. We promise to help you make the wisest, most affordable, most effective, time-saving plan for yourself and the people you love. 

 

Meeting With A Traditional Lawyer

Given the unique approach of Personal Family Lawyer® firms, an initial consultation with our firm is quite different from an initial consultation with a typical estate planning attorney. A typical “initial consultation” would be a meet-and-greet-type of meeting, in which...

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Purchasing Life Insurance For Your Family: What You Need To Know

Life insurance is a key component of your family’s estate plan, offering those who depend on you for their financial security a safety net in the event of your death. Whether those dependents include your spouse, children, aging parents, business associates, or all of the above, investing in life insurance is a way to say “I love you” and make certain that when you pass away, the people you love will have a reliable source of financial support to count on.

 

Although purchasing life insurance may seem fairly straightforward, it can actually be quite complex, especially given all of the different types of coverage available. Plus, because insurance agents often earn hefty commissions on the policies they sell, it can be challenging to determine exactly how much coverage (and what type of insurance) you actually need—and who you can trust to give you objective and accurate advice about that coverage.

 

With this in mind, we’ll break down the...

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