Do I Really Need a Will?

A will puts you in charge of directing others on your wishes and distribution of assets upon your death. Without a will or other estate plan – referred to as intestacy – you have no control and your state’s rules determine who gets what after your death. Even if you have a trust, jointly owned property, or have named beneficiaries on your insurance, a will is important, even as just a “backup” plan. Read More

5 Essential Legal Documents You Need in Case You Become Incapacitated

Comprehensive estate planning is more than your legacy after death, avoiding probate, and saving on taxes. Good estate planning includes a plan in place to manage your affairs if you become incapacitated during your life and can no longer make decisions for yourself. Without a comprehensive incapacity plan in place, your family will have to go to court to get a judge to appoint a guardian or conservator to take control of your assets and health care decisions. Read More

Joint Property Perils

People often set up bank accounts and 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 automatically inherits the property by right of survivorship, without the property having to go through probate. Joint ownership of property is perceived to be easy because bank accounts can be opened as joint accounts and when buying real estate, title can simply be taken as joint tenants. Read More

Tools to Help You Leave Words of Wisdom to the Next Generation

Your estate plan leaves your physical assets to your beneficiaries, and you can also use your estate plan to leave them some of the hard-won wisdom you’ve accumulated over your life. You can let your family and friends learn from your mistakes, and profit from your successes. There are many tools and options available to you to convey your property and words of wisdom to your heirs during your lifetime and after death. Read More

Why Should I Avoid Probate?

There are several reasons why you should avoid probate; however, in this post we will address the top 3 reasons. Many people mistakenly think that having a will avoids probate. Unfortunately, a will does not avoid probate, rather, it lets the family of the decedent inform the probate court of the decedent’s wishes. Here are 3 key reasons why you want to avoid probate if at all possible. Read More

How to Avoid Conservatorship and Guardianship

When a person becomes incapacitated and is unable to manage their daily affairs, documents in their estate plan can eliminate the need for conservatorship or guardianship court proceedings.

To avoid the government’s interference in a family’s business and personal affairs,  documents in their estate plan can direct a trusted person to carry out that individual’s wishes for the situation. Read More