Latest Blog Posts

5 Reasons to Embrace the Emotional Nature of Estate Planning

Posted on: September 15th, 2017
The emotional nature of estate planning can bring up aversion in people, but here are five reasons why the degree of emotion involved is actually a reason to embrace the process with enthusiasm....

How You Can Build an Estate Plan that Includes Asset Protection

Posted on: August 15th, 2017
The best way to take full advantage of asset protection estate planning is to prepare proactively long before potential hardships like bankruptcy, divorce, or judgment ever come to pass....

Safeguarding Your Estate Plan Against Three Worst-Case Scenarios

Posted on: July 14th, 2017
The following tips can protect your estate plan against several worst-case scenarios....

Which life events require an immediate estate plan update?

Posted on: June 12th, 2017
You also need to consider how to leave your property and assets while considering your family’s circumstances and needs. ...

A Powerful Exercise to Surface the Values You Want to Pass on to the Next Generation

Posted on: May 1st, 2017
Successful estate planning is about far more than simply passing your wealth to the next generation— it’s also about passing on your values. No matter which financial or legal structures you choose to contain and manage your assets, these instruments only preserve your wealth until it reaches the hands of your beneficiaries. What happens then? ...

Got Stuff? George Carlin Says You Need An Estate Plan!

Posted on: April 12th, 2017
George Carlin would have been a great pitchman for estate planning. You may remember his stand-up routine on "stuff." We all have stuff, and we're pretty particular about our stuff....

The Value of Having a “Life Plan” in Estate Planning

Posted on: March 1st, 2017
All too often, estate planning is viewed as a transaction; just sign here, here, and here on a document: will, a living trust, and powers of attorney - then be off. But the best planning happens when an estate planning attorney can ...

The Real Life Perils of Online and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Estate Planning

Posted on: February 1st, 2017
With the number of online and do-it-yourself (DIY) legal providers continuing to grow and advertise heavily, you may be wondering if you could do your estate planning with the help of these forms. Attorneys just charge for forms, right?...

Posted on: February 1st, 2017
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Is a Financial Plan Enough? Why Experts Say You Need an Estate Plan, too

Posted on: January 24th, 2017
If you want to leave a robust financial legacy for your family, a financial plan alone is like trying to guide a boat with just one oar. It’s only part of the big picture for your overall monetary health. A well-informed financial plan is worth your time for several reasons...

How Can I Care For My Parents In My Estate Plan?

Posted on: October 18th, 2013
If you are part of the baby boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964), you may also find that you are a member of the sandwich generation, with responsibilities to both your parents (now or in the future) and your children. This should change the way you think about estate planning--instead of the traditional approach of how to leave assets to your children and future generations, you may also need to include providing for the previous generation (your parents)....

What Is The Best Way To Leave An Inheritance For My Young Children?

Posted on: June 3rd, 2013
Every parent wants to make sure their children are provided for in the event something happens to them while the children are still minors. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives often want to leave some of their assets to young children, too. But good intentions and poor planning often have unintended results....

How Can I Incorporate My Faith Into My Estate Plan?

Posted on: February 13th, 2013
For many, passing along religious beliefs and values to the next generation is just as important as passing along financial wealth and tangible assets. Estate planning creates many opportunities to do this....

We Have A Young Family, Do We Need Estate Planning?

Posted on: January 14th, 2013
Many young families put off estate planning because they are young and healthy, or because they don’t think they can afford it. But even a healthy, young adult can be taken suddenly by an accident or illness......

I Have An Inherited IRA, What Do I Do With It?

Posted on: January 7th, 2013
A surviving spouse who inherits an IRA from his/her spouse can roll it into a new IRA or merge it with his/her own IRA. In either case, the account can continue to grow tax-deferred and the surviving spouse can continue to make contributions until he/she ...

What Do The New Tax Laws Mean For Me?

Posted on: January 7th, 2013
Here is a good summary of the recent estate and gift tax changes voted into law last week. ...

How Do I Get My Financial Affairs In Order?

Posted on: January 7th, 2013
Clients often tell me they are wanting to “get their affiars in order” so their spouse or children do not have to worry about it later....

We Have a Blended Family, What Do We Need To Consider When It Comes To Estate Planning?

Posted on: November 26th, 2012
Blended families face some interesting challenges when it comes to estate planning. Often, the parents have a hard time deciding to how to provide for their “new” family while still providing for their own children. This week, I want to show some common scenarios that blended families often face....

What to do with Inherited IRAs

Posted on: November 15th, 2012
RAs are among the largest assets inherited by heirs and beneficiaries. These accounts have been able to grow to such large amounts because income taxes are deferred until the owner begins...

How Do I Make Sure My Business Entity Protects Me?

Posted on: July 23rd, 2012
Often when someone decides to start their own business one of their most important decisions is whether or not to create a business entity such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Corporation, or Limited Partnership (LP). ...

I Am A Business Owner, How Do I Transfer My Business To My Descendants?

Posted on: July 16th, 2012
For those of you who own a business, have you given any thought to how that business will be transferred to others in the future? How will you ’pass the baton’ to those who will carry it on after you retire?...

My Spouse (or Parent) Seems To Have Periods of Forgetfulness or Dementia, What Do I Need To Do?

Posted on: July 5th, 2012
Due to our aging population, more and more people are suffering from some level of forgetfulness or dementia. Often, there is not an actual diagnosis by a physician, but the spouse or child of the person begins to notice that their loved one may at times seem confused, or forget something that was once well known....

Can I Include Charitable Giving In My Estate Plan?

Posted on: June 27th, 2012
For many people, charitable giving is an important element of their overall estate plan and there are several different ways you can structure your plan to include charitable gifts....

I Own A Small Business, How Does That Impact My Estate Planning?

Posted on: June 25th, 2012
If you are a business owner then this valuable asset must be considered when it comes to your estate planning. Today we will take a look at Robert Client who is the sole owner of a business and help him determine what he needs to think about when it comes to his estate planning....

What Happens To My Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter Accounts When I Pass Away?

Posted on: June 8th, 2012
Ten years ago, I bet you never wondered, “What happens to my social media presence and online accounts when I pass away?” But today, that is, or should be, a consideration....

Estate Planning For Families With Young Children – Part 2 of 2

Posted on: May 26th, 2012
In my previous post I discussed the need and issues involved in naming guardians to care for your young children in case both mom and dad are incapacitated or pass away. In this post we will continue that discussion but focus on naming one or more guardians of the child’s estate....

Why Is Estate Planning Important?

Posted on: May 25th, 2012
25 reasons estate planning could be important to you....

Estate Planning For Families With Young Children – Part 1 of 2

Posted on: May 23rd, 2012
For those families with minor children, estate planning should be a top priority. Unfortunately, for many families that is not the case....

What Is Probate And How Does It Work?

Posted on: May 20th, 2012
Probate is the legal process of transferring title of the Decedent’s (the one who passed away) assets from the Decedent, to the heirs or beneficiaries. Probate is necessary because in order to transfer assets a signature is ordinarily required. However, when someone has passed away they are no longer able to sign. Therefore, the court appoints an executor (a person chose by the Decedent) or an Administrator (a person chosen by the Court) to provide that signature and “stand in the shoes” of the Decedent....

How Will My Assets and Estate Pass To My Spouse, Children, and Beneficiaries?

Posted on: May 19th, 2012
There are two basic ways to leave gifts to your heirs or beneficiaries: outright or in trust....

Can I Use The Internet To Create My Own Estate Planning Documents?

Posted on: May 17th, 2012
In short, “yes, you can.” Perhaps a better question is, “Should I create my own estate planning documents?” ...

Should I Update My Estate Plan?

Posted on: May 12th, 2012
Yes, absolutely. No question about it. I could make this one of the shortest and easiest to read posts, but allow me to elaborate on my answer....

How Can I Avoid Probate?

Posted on: May 12th, 2012
Probate in Texas is normally not that difficult. However, it is kind of like elective surgery; it is not absolutely necessary and it costs money. In addition, Probate is a public process....

How Do I Fill Out The Beneficiary Designation Form For My IRA or 401(k)?

Posted on: May 9th, 2012
Beneficiary Designation forms are the instructions for the custodian of the IRA or life insurance company that tell them what to do with the funds in the accounts when it is time to distribute them. Life Insurance, IRAs and other Qualified Plans, and Annuities pass by beneficiary designation form....

Naming A Trust As The Beneficiary Of An IRA: Is It A Good Idea?

Posted on: May 6th, 2012
On Friday, April 29, 2011, the IRS issued Private Letter Ruling (“PLR”) 201117042. An ancillary issue in this PLR was whether an IRA could be titled in the name of a revocable trust during a Grantor’s lifetime. The IRS said that an IRA could not be held in the name of a Trust....

What Is A Declaration Of Guardian, And How Does It Work?

Posted on: April 28th, 2012
A Declaration of Guardian is a legal document where you tell the court who you want to serve as your guardian if there is ever a guardianship proceeding for you. There are two types of guardians: Guardian of your estate, and guardian of your person....

What is an Advance Directive, or a Living Will, and How Do They Work?

Posted on: April 27th, 2012
An Advance Directive (also known as a Living Will) is a legal document that communicates your desires about future medical treatments, or the lack thereof, when you are unable to communicate on your behalf. Ordinarily, this document outlines your desires about whether you do or do not want life support in the event that is the only method that will sustain your life....

What Is A Healthcare Power of Attorney And How Is It Used In Estate Planning?

Posted on: April 21st, 2012
Like a Power of Attorney for financial matters, a Power of Attorney for Healthcare allows the “Principle” to name someone to act as their “Agent” when healthcare situations arise...

What Is A Power Of Attorney For Financial Matters?

Posted on: April 18th, 2012
A Power of Attorney is a legal document where you the “Principle” name another person as your “Agent” to speak on your behalf with third parties....

What Is A Life Insurance Trust And Do I Need One?

Posted on: April 16th, 2012
It is not unusual for clients to forget about their life insurance policies. I think this happens for a few reasons: the policy may be very old (I have seen some purchased over 80 years ago); the policy is offered through an employer; the value may be very small; or the client thinks that the value is not included in their estate since they (the insured) is still living and therefore the policy has not paid out yet. Whatever the reason, it is very important to remember that a life insurance policy is included in the owner’s total estate as long as they have the ability to change or cancel the policy, change the beneficiary(ies), borrow against the policy, or hold other “incidents of ownership” of the policy....

What Are The Differences Between A Will And A Revocable Living Trust? Which One Should I Use?

Posted on: April 13th, 2012
This is a question that I hear often from my clients. Some believe that a Revocable Living Trust (“RLT” or “Living Trust”) is something that is only used by the rich and famous and a Will is best for everyone else. That is not necessarily true. In fact, I believe an RLT is a better choice over a Will for the following reasons. ...

What is a Revocable Living Trust and Should I Consider Having One?

Posted on: April 8th, 2012
The short answer is that a Revocable Living Trust (“RLT” or “Living Trust”) is another tool that can transfer your assets upon your death. If a client has a Will as the centerpiece of their estate plan I describe that as a “Will based” plan. If they use an RLT as the centerpiece, I describe that as a “Trust based” plan. ...

What Is a Last Will and Testament and Do I Need One?

Posted on: March 31st, 2012
A Last Will and Testament, or Will, is a legal document that outlines how the assets in your estate will pass to your surviving spouse, children, or other beneficiaries upon your death. In my opinion, everyone needs a Will. For some the Will may be the only asset transfer document they have; for others, they may have a Will in conjunction with a Revocable Living Trust. ...

Estate Planning – what is it?

Posted on: February 5th, 2012
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