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4 Essential Strategies For Protecting Your Family's Assets

 

You might think that only the super wealthy need to worry about asset protection planning. But the truth is that if you don’t have millions, you may be at even greater risk. For instance, if you are a multi-millionaire, a $50,000 judgment against you might not be that big of a deal. But for a family with a modest income, savings, and home, it could be devastating.

 

Furthermore, asset protection planning isn’t something you can put off until something happens. Once you are under threat of a lawsuit, it’s likely too late to protect your assets. Like all types of planning, to be effective, you must have your asset protection strategies in place well before something happens. And your asset protection plan isn’t a one-and-done deal: it must be regularly updated to accommodate changes to your assets, family dynamics, and the law.

 

While you should meet with us at The Legal Mama to determine the asset protection strategies that are best suited...

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How Estate Planning Can Reduce The High Cost Of Dying—Part 2

Despite the fact that it happens to every single one of us and is as every bit as natural as birth, very few among us are properly prepared for death—whether our own death or the death of a loved one. 

 

Yet the pandemic might be changing this.

 

According to Census figures, the pandemic caused the U.S. death rate to spike by nearly 20% between 2019 and 2020, the largest increase in American mortality in 100 years. More than two years and 1 million deaths later, it's more clear than ever that death is not only ever-present, but a central and inevitable part of all our lives.  

Yet, some in the end-of-life industry believe the pandemic’s massive loss of life has also created an opportunity to transform the way we face death, grief, and all of the other issues that arise when we lose someone we love dearly. In fact, this sentiment is the mission of the new startup Empathy, an AI-based platform designed to help families navigate the logistical and...

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Estate Planning FAQs For LGBTQ+ Couples

As we are about to wrap up another Pride Month, the LGBTQ+ community faces an increasingly uncertain legal landscape. In the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, ending the recognition of a constitutional right to abortion, many are worried that other rights, especially for same-gender couples, who might also be under threat. 

 

In fact, with Roe overturned, legal experts warn that the Supreme Court’s new Republican majority may come for landmark LGBTQ-rights decisions next, including marriage equality established by Obergefell v. Hodges. In light of this potential challenge, it’s critical that same-gender couples ensure their estate plans are carefully reviewed and updated by an estate planning lawyer who understands the special needs of LGBTQ+ planning to address any such developments.  


Although we will have to wait and see whether the Supreme Court ultimately decides to rule on marriage equality, same gender couples can act right now...

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10 Common Estate Planning Mistakes Your Family Can’t Afford to Make—Part 2

 Because estate planning involves actively thinking about and planning for frightening topics like death, old age, and disability, many people put it off or simply ignore it all together until it’s too late. Sadly, this unwillingness to face reality often creates serious hardship, expense, and trauma for those loved ones you leave behind. 

To complicate matters, the recent proliferation of online estate planning document services, such as LegalZoom®, Rocket Lawyer®, and Trustandwill.com, may have misled you into thinking that estate planning is a do-it-yourself (DIY) affair, which involves nothing more than filling out the right legal forms. However, proper estate planning entails far more than filling out legal forms. 

In fact, without a thorough understanding of how the legal process works upon your death or incapacity, along with knowing how it applies specifically to your family dynamics and the nature of your assets, you’ll likely make serious...

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10 Common Estate Planning Mistakes Your Family Can’t Afford to Make—Part 1

 

Because estate planning involves actively thinking about and planning for frightening topics like death, old age, and chronic disability, many people put it off or simply ignore it all together until it’s too late. Sadly, this unwillingness to face reality often creates serious hardship, expense, and trauma for those loved ones you leave behind. 

To complicate matters, the recent proliferation of online estate planning document services, such as LegalZoom®, Rocket Lawyer®, and Trustandwill.com, may have misled you into thinking that estate planning is a do-it-yourself (DIY) affair, which involves nothing more than filling out the right legal forms. However, proper estate planning entails far more than filling out legal forms. 

In fact, without a thorough understanding of how the legal process works upon your death or incapacity and applies specifically to your family dynamics and the nature of your assets, you’ll likely make serious mistakes when...

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Protect Your Children’s Inheritance With A Lifetime Asset Protection Trust

 

As a parent, you’re likely hoping to leave your children an inheritance. In fact, doing so may be one of the primary factors motivating your life’s work. But without taking the proper precautions, the wealth you pass on is at serious risk of being accidentally lost or squandered due to common life events, such as divorce, serious debt, devastating illness, and unfortunate accidents. 

 

In some cases, a sudden inheritance windfall can even wind up doing your kids more harm than good.

 

Creating a will or a revocable living trust offers some protection for your kid’s inheritance, but in most cases, you’ll be guided to distribute assets through your will or trust to your children at specific ages and stages, such as one-third at age 25, half the balance at 30, and the rest at 35.

 

If you’ve created an estate plan, check to see if this is how your will or trust leaves assets to your children. If so, you may not have been told...

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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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Are You Clear About How Your Parents Estate Plan Will Impact You?

Do your parents have an estate plan? Is it up to date? No matter how much you think you and your parents do or don't have, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to be asking these and several other questions. When your parents become incapacitated or die, their affairs will become your responsibility, and it will be impossible to ask them to clarify anything. So, if you don't know whether or not they have estate planning in place that will help you best support them, let us help you figure it out! 

The Best-Case Scenario 

In a best-case scenario, your parents have an updated estate plan, and they’ve walked you through it. They have provided an inventory of their assets that’s easy for you to find listing out everything they own, how it’s titled, and who it should go to and how. Ideally, it also includes directions on how to handle their non-monetary assets, and an audio recording or written stories that pass on their values,...

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2021 Estate Planning Checkup: Is Your Estate Plan Up to Date?

Even if you put a totally solid estate plan in place, it can turn out to be worthless for the people you love if it’s not regularly updated.

Estate planning is not a one-and-done type of deal—your plan should continuously evolve along with your life circumstances and other changing conditions, such as your assets and the law.

No matter who you are, your life will inevitably change: families change, laws change, assets change, and goals change. In the absence of any major life events, we recommend reviewing your estate plan annually to make sure it continues to work best for you and your family. 

Additionally, there are several common life events that make updating your plan more important than ever to ensure you keep your loved ones out of court and out of conflict. Here's a quick guide to know when it's time to call and update your planning. 

1) You get married: Marriage not only changes your relationship status; it changes your legal status. Regardless of...

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