Declare your Independence from Court Interference!

While the rest of the nation celebrates its independence on July 4th, you can rest assured that you too can declare independence for your family — from court interference. Life can be unpredictable. Whether it is a financial issue, the birth or adoption of a child, sickness or incapacity, it is important to be prepared with proper estate planning. In fact, failure to put together a comprehensive estate plan can leave you and your loved ones at the mercy of the court when it comes to distributing assets or caring for a minor or sick family member.

Estate Planning Basics:
Simply put, estate planning addresses how to manage your property in the event of your death or incapacity. Some estate planning tools you have likely heard of before including last will and testaments, living wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directive. Estate planning is a great method not only to plan your family’s financial security but to use tools to keep your family’s personal business outside of the courtroom. Read More

Beneficiary Designations and a Blended Family: Why You Need to Think Before You Sign

Whether you are in your first marriage or have remarried after a divorce, blended families are a common part of modern society. That being said, it is important to understand that blended families and subsequent marries create important and unique issues when it comes to estate planning. You may need to account for a prior spouse who is still caring for minor or disabled children, and also possibly make sure your current spouse and any children you had together – and any stepchildren – are also taken care of after you pass away. The good news is that estate planning can take all of these factors into account. This is true whether you are putting together your estate plan for the very first time or if you need to update your current estate plan due to a change in your circumstances. Read More

Are Your Documents Following the Same Script? Basics of Beneficiary Forms and Estate Planning

In the event of your untimely death, the manner in which your beneficiaries — or those people who receive your assets from your estate — are determined is highly dependent on how your property is titled.

Generally, property with title includes vehicles, boats, airplanes, real estate, bank accounts, savings bonds, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and stock certificates. If you die without a will or a trust and haven’t used any beneficiary or transfer on death options, state law will determine who inherits property with a title. On the other hand, property without a title, such as jewelry, antiques, art, and even your digital assets are usually provided for in your will or trust, and if you don’t have one typically goes to your heirs at law. As you can see, who you have listed as a beneficiary — and not having a beneficiary designation at all — can have serious implications for your family after you have passed away. Read More