Not Married? You are not alone-but you still need a plan.

Estate Planning for People Living Together, Bachelors, and Bachelorettes I feel strange as I write this article. In two days (as long as I do not screw it up between now and then) I will celebrate 32nd years of marriage to my bride. But here I am discussing estate planning challenges of friends, clients, and hopefully, soon to be clients, who are not yet married, or are no longer married. Maybe it stems from a conversation over a game of dominoes this weekend with couple group of single people asking why it seemed like all I addressed were married couples. While they were not completely accurate, there was some reality to their perception. Traditional estate planning does tend to focus on th

The Biggest Threats to Successful Estate Planning

Poor estate planning is a recipe for disaster. Look no further than Dickens’ Bleak House—or a telenovela (a.k.a., soap opera)—to witness the tragedy and melodrama inadequate estate planning can cause. While having your estate planning documents prepared is the first hurdle to overcoming these types of disasters, there are several threats that lurk around the corner that might derail your wishes. Family Conflict According to a recent survey of over 100 estate planning professionals, family conflict is the number one risk to a peaceful inheritance. If children are treated differently under the estate plan, there is often an assumption that a mistake was made in drafting the documents or that s

The Brady Bunch: Beneficiary Designations and a Blended Family

Remember the Brady Bunch? Everything in their life always seemed to work out just fine in the end. But, what would have happened if one of Mike's designs was faulty, a bunch of people died, the pressure was too much for his caring heart and he died of a sudden heart attack? Well, Mike, who was prepared and loved Carol with all his heart and soul, had a will and substantial insurance policies. In the will, he left everything to Carol and he also named he the sole beneficiary of his insurance policies, pension, retirement accounts, etc. His beloved surviving spouse now OWNED his entire estate. Now remember, half of those six children (i.e., the boys) were not Carol's. Any chance this episode m

KEEPING THE PEACE

Planning With an Aim Towards Building Unity Battles over the validity or terms of will or trust wreak havoc on families (I represent a couple of clients in the middle of these battles right now! It pains me to witness the destruction). These conflicts may result in irreparable resentment and loss of familial communication. Old rivalries and disputes can resurface during the trying time that occurs after the death of a loved one, especially a parent. Sad but true, if you are lucky, you will not be here to witness it. What if you are only incapacitated? Unfortunately, while you may still able to bear witness to what is happening to your family and friends you may be unable to do anything about

Beyond Wills & Trusts: 3 Documents Everyone Needs

When it comes to estate planning, you probably think of wills and trusts. But there are three other estate planning documents you should think about to make your plan complete: A Living Will A Healthcare Directive, also called an Advance Directive, Medical or Healthcare Power of Attorney, or Designation of Healthcare Surrogate A Financial Power of Attorney Planning for Medical Emergencies with a Living Will and Healthcare Directive Having the right legal documents in place in case of a medical emergency is essential to providing a family member or trusted friend with guidance and decision-making authority during a difficult time. A Living Will allows you to state your wishes about the type o

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