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...
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.
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...
The pandemic is causing us to consider a lot of things that we may not have before, even if maybe we should have. Especially as it continues to linger and worsen and spike.
It brings to mind something a colleague of mine shared a while back. One unremarkable weekend, she left her small children with a babysitter and headed out to enjoy dinner at a restaurant with her husband. But as she sat there, a thought crept into her head that she couldn’t let go.
What would happen to her kids, she thought, if she and her husband got into a car accident on the way home? If you have talked with me for any length of time, I have probably shared this story with you. It was a conversation with this particular colleague that changed my entire perspective on my estate planning practice. It also made me feel I had failed to truly plan for my own kids.
And even though my colleague is an estate planning lawyer herself, and she had a will at home naming guardians for...
In the first part of this series, we discussed one of the most frequent causes for dispute over your estate plan. Here, we’ll look at another leading cause for dispute and tell you how to avoid it!
Let's be honest, most families have disagreements, disputes, or just plain drama even in the best of times. When considering what will happen to your estate when you die or if you become incapacitated, why leave it up to chance? This quick read can help you avoid uncomfortable family dynamics even if you're not around to play peacemaker.
No one wants to believe their family would ever end up battling one another in court over inheritance issues or a loved one’s life-saving medical treatment, but we see it all the time. This is especially true for those who rely on do-it-yourself estate planning documents found online. The good news is you can dramatically reduce the odds of such conflict by enlisting my support...
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...