Although leaving your hard-earned assets outright to your children, grandchildren, or other beneficiaries after you die may seem like the easiest and most desired form of distribution, this scheme will make their inheritance easy prey for creditors, predators, and divorcing spouses. Instead, consider using discretionary trusts for the benefit of each of your beneficiaries. Read More
Three Tips for Talking About Your Estate Plan During the Holidays
The holidays are right around the corner, bringing the joyous season of gathering with family and loved ones into full swing. It is the time to slow down, get caught up with loved ones, and enjoy the family and experience quality time around the dinner table. It is also a great idea to take this opportunity to review your estate plan and talk about the topic with your loved ones.
Do Not Be Indifferent. While the entire topic of estate planning can be a touchy subject, covering your eyes about the issue is not good for you or your family. According to a Caring.com survey from 2017, as many as six in 10 Americans do not have an estate planning document put together – like a will or a trust. This is particularly alarming when it is estimated that $30 trillion in wealth is set to transfer between baby boomers and their heirs in the next few years. Read More
Stress Test Your Estate Plan
So you have done the hard work of establishing an estate plan. Good for you! However, you still have serious work to do to ensure that the strategy you have selected will maximize your peace of mind and protect your legacy.
Estate plans should be like living, breathing creations that reflect the changes in your life. Your life can and will change due to new births, children getting older, and other shifts in the family; changes to your investment portfolio, career and business; and changes to your health, where you live, and your core values. Likewise, external events, such as new tax legislation passed in your state or the development of a novel financial instrument, can throw your plan off track or open the door to new opportunities. Read More
Three Legal Things to Do After a Scary Health Diagnosis
A scary health diagnosis can be emotionally and logistically challenging for many reasons. For instance, how can you take care of your family if you’re physically incapacitated? In addition to working closely with your medical providers, consider these three legal tips: Read More
Is Your Estate Plan as Stale as Last Week’s Ham Sandwich? 5 Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan
Estate plans are almost magical: They allow you to maintain control of your assets, yet protect you should you become incapacitated. They take care of your family and pets. And, if carefully crafted, they reduce fees, taxes, stress, and time delays. Estate plans can even keep your family and financial affairs private. But one thing estate plans can’t do is update themselves.
Estate plans are written to reflect your situation at a specific point in time. While they have some flexibility, the bottom line is that our lives continually change and unfold in ways we might not have ever anticipated. Your plan needs to reflect those changes. If not, it will be as stale as last week’s ham sandwich and may fail miserably when needed the most. Read More
What do successor trustees and executors do?
An executor, sometimes called a personal representative, is the person who is named in a will, appointed by the court, and responsible for probating the will and settling the estate. Depending on the state, an executor may work under court supervision or may use so-called “independent” administration for an unsupervised probate. A trustee, on the other hand, is an individual or trust company named in a trust document and is in charge of the assets that are held in a trust. Assets held in a living trust avoid probate, which means that court supervision is typically not required. In most revocable living trusts, you act as the trustee.