Three Tips for Protecting Your Important Legal Paperwork in a Natural Disaster

The past few years have been no stranger to natural disasters. From multiple earthquakes, back-to-back hurricanes, and raging wildfires, the United States and abroad have suffered serious natural disasters. These acts of nature can devastate your life and your family. Who knows what the coming years will bring?

In addition to creating a disaster preparedness plan for your family, be sure to protect your legal documents during these events. Below are several tips to follow so that you can ensure your important paperwork is safe if your home is damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster. Read More

Wondering Whether You Need to Update Your Estate Plan? Yes, You Do, and Here’s Why

Please allow us to be candid. It’s unrealistic to think that a piece of paper you draft, reflecting your life at a certain time, will work when your life has completely changed some years later. We’ll use the Campbell family as an example.

Meet Robert and Terri Campbell. They got their first estate plan in place when their daughter, Jamie, was born 28 years ago. They updated it when their son Samuel came along 4 years later. About 10 years ago, they got a fantastic trust-based plan in place, protecting themselves, their children, their grandchildren, and their dog, Maddie.

Unfortunately,  life got busy and, as you might guess, the Campbells put their documents in their safe and never scheduled a review or update of their documents.

Here’s what’s changed in their lives in the last 10 years. Read More

3 Liability Planning Tips for Physicians

You probably know that the practice of medicine is a profession fraught with the risk of liability.  It’s not just medical malpractice claims either (although those are certainly scary enough). It’s the entire scope of risk from being in business, including employment-related issues, careless business partners and employees, and contractual obligations, as well as personal liabilities.  Unfortunately, in our litigious society, these liability risks are not unique to physicians, although physicians are a frequent target. 

Below are three liability planning tips for physicians to protect their hard-earned money. Read More

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

Many children and grandchildren are skipping the traditional bank and obtaining loans from parents or grandparents.  Unfortunately, we have all heard stories of families torn apart because of disagreements over money. So, what can you do to make sure your intra-family loans help — rather than hurt — your family?

As far as estate planning is concerned, money you lend to others is legally an asset. If you have lent money to a family member the presence of these assets in your estate can be problematic for your surviving family members. This is because your executor and successor trustee are under a legal requirement, known as fiduciary care, to collect the outstanding obligation, even if the other party is a family member. Read More

The Perils of Joint Property

People often set up bank accounts or real estate so that they own it jointly with a spouse or other family member. The appeal of joint tenancy is that when one owner dies, the other will automatically inherit the property without it having to go through probate. However, joint ownership can also cause unintended consequences and complications. Read More

One Call You Must Make After You Buy a Home That You’ve Probably Forgotten

Now that you have finalized the purchase of your new home, there is one more expert you need to call: your estate planning attorney. Your attorney can help you review the new documents associated with your home purchase in conjunction with your existing estate plan to ensure that everything aligns and works towards your overall estate planning objectives. Read More