The Do-it-Yourself Will or Trust

There has been a recent proliferation of Do-it-Yourself (DIY) estate planning products. Whether it’s online document assistants, assorted box software packages, or self-help books, the DIY forms that these sources provide may seem attractive to individuals given they cost a fraction of what estate planning attorneys typically charge, but is it worth it in the end? Although a do-it-yourself Will or Trust may be cheap and easy, the likelihood that a DIY Will or Trust will effectively accomplish exactly what … Continued

A Common Asset Protection Strategy for Business Owners Gone Wrong

We’ve seen it far too often. Business owners, particularly those who are chiropractors, dentists, physicians and other professionals in typically high-risk professions – follow an asset protection strategy that never truly goes as planned. What’s this strategy? Many business owners transfer their assets to their spouse for asset protection purposes. Let’s consider the following scenario to see why this is a terrible idea. Brian is a successful orthodontist. He has been married to Anne for eight years. Brian decides to … Continued

Estate Planning Debacles Part 3: The Fallout of Not Planning for Incapacity

In recognition of National Estate Planning Awareness Week (Oct. 16-22), this is a third article in a series on estate planning debacles. It describes lessons learned from not planning for incapacity. Incapacity is defined as the inability to make reasonable decisions regarding financial and personal affairs. When incapacity occurs, it can have severe consequences for families, particularly if not planned for in advance. Often loved ones are left scrambling to pay medical bills, make health care and other important decisions. … Continued

Estate Planning Debacles Part 2: Too Little, Too Late

In recognition of National Estate Planning Awareness Week (Oct. 16-22), this is a second article in a series on estate planning debacles. If you want to keep control of your assets (a.k.a., your estate) and of decisions about your children when something happens to you, it’s important to plan now. Could this estate planning mistake happen to you? Your Children Are Put in a Situation You Wouldn’t Have Wanted Michael and Sara have been married for 16 years and live … Continued

Estate Planning Debacles: Unintentionally Disinheriting Children

National Estate Planning Awareness Week (Oct. 16-22, 2017) is intended to raise public awareness about the importance of estate planning. In recognition of National Estate Planning Awareness Week, this is the first article in a series on estate planning debacles and their consequences. The lack of advanced planning can lead to hardship, financial or otherwise, for both you and your loves ones. Could this estate planning debacle happen to you? Unintentionally Disinheriting Children Marla (age 48) and Tom (age 52) … Continued

National Estate Planning Awareness Week

Congress has designated the third week in October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week (October 16-22, 2017). Adopted in 2008, National Estate Planning Awareness Week exists to help the public understand what estate planning is and why it is such a vital component of financial wellness. Estate planning is one of the most overlooked areas of personal financial management. It is estimated that nearly 70% of Americans do not have an estate plan. Many mistakenly believe that estate planning is … Continued

2 Top Reasons Why Parents with Young Children Need an Estate Plan

There is no better reason to have a comprehensive estate plan in place than for the well-being and protection of your kids. Even so, 69% of parents today do not even have a simple Will in place. It’s not hard to understand why. You may think you are too young. You may not think you have enough assets to warrant it. Or, you may just not want to think about something bad happening to you or your spouse. Regardless of … Continued

5 Reasons Why a Living Trust May Be Ideal for You

In its most simple terms, a Living Trust is a legal set of instructions that details: (1) how you want your assets handled for you and your loved ones during your lifetime; and (2) how you want your ultimate estate to be distributed after your death. A Living Trust is also known as a Revocable Trust, and as the name implies, enables you to alter, change, modify, or revoke it if your circumstances or estate planning goals change. How do … Continued