Peace of Mind

When a will won’t work

Yahoo Finance discusses what a will cannot do:

A will can’t avoid probate, the legal process that typically follows death. In probate, your will becomes a public record and the court supervises the distribution of your estate.

A common way to bypass probate is to create a revocable living trust and then transfer ownership of your real estate, accounts and other property into the trust. You retain control, but upon your death, the person you name as your successor trustee can distribute your property without a court’s involvement, says Matt Palmer, associate product counsel at online legal site LegalZoom.

By |2022-10-11T15:44:58-07:00November 1st, 2021|

Do You Need a Trust?

Charles Schwab asked three of their own professionals important questions regarding the differences between wills and trusts.

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that specifies how your assets are to be distributed, usually without the involvement of a probate court. They can be structured to take effect before death, after death, or in case of incapacitation. In contrast, wills take effect only upon death and typically need to be authenticated by a probate court, which can take time and involve additional costs.

Trusts can be arranged to accomplish a variety of different goals. For example, you can use a trust to transfer property, help minimize estate taxes, preserve assets for minors until they are adults, or benefit a charity.

By |2021-11-05T15:21:20-07:00October 6th, 2021|

How to Set Up a Trust Fund if You’re Not Rich

Investopedia discusses how to set up a trust fund if you’re not rich:

Trust funds are designed to allow a person’s money to continue to be used in specific ways after they pass away, and to avoid their estate going through probate court (a time-consuming and expensive legal process). But trusts aren’t only useful for ultra-high-net-worth individuals, the middle-class can use trust funds as well, where setting one up isn’t out of financial reach.

By |2021-11-05T14:54:43-07:00December 22nd, 2020|

Are wills, medical directives and other end-of-life documents needed?

Richmond Times discusses the answer to this imperative question in a recent article regarding attorneys experiencing a surge in requests for wills and other estate planning matters as a result of COVID-19.

Legal professionals say definitely yes to make sure your wishes are honored for how your money is distributed or whether you want to be placed on a ventilator.

Wills spell out in detail who gets your property and other assets. Sometimes for young adults with minor children, wills might dictate who would serve as a guardian or how the children’s finances would be handled.

If someone dies without a will, generally that person’s property will go to the closest relative, starting with a spouse and then children. If single, the property and other assets could go to siblings or other relatives.

Advance medical directives or a health care power of attorney allow you to appoint someone to follow your decision on medical issues.

By |2021-11-05T13:09:23-07:00April 25th, 2020|

Estate planning gives peace of mind by making decisions you’ve been avoiding

St George News discusses the peace of mind that comes from having planned your future. The common elements of an estate plan include:

  • Revocable trust – Otherwise known as a “living trust.” While not appropriate for all situations, it keeps the estate private, protects against incapacity and helps to avoid probate. You also get to see how it works while still alive. For people that own a home, Brande said it is really crucial.
  • Pour-over will – A will can nominate guardians, appoint executors, include burial instructions and ensure that everything in the estate will go into a trust at the time of death to be dealt with according to documents.
  • Durable power of attorney – Used in the event of incapacity, this allows an agent to take necessary steps to place assets in a trust that may have been excluded.
  • Health care directive – This grants an agent the authority to act on your behalf and make medical decisions. Without this directive, physicians will consult the spouse or next of kin, and that can make any situation more complicated, Brande said, especially when there are many loved ones who all feel like they know what is best. In end-of-life situations, it will also direct providers when you want life-sustaining care to be withheld.
By |2021-11-05T15:05:46-07:00April 21st, 2020|

Last Will And Testament, Power Of Attorney, And Healthcare Proxy

Above the Law discusses the importance of having a Last Will And Testament, Power Of Attorney, And Healthcare Proxy:

Like an annual physical exam or dental cleaning, we know we must, but we often delay. Fear, anxiety, cost, and time are all factors in delaying that which all adults, regardless of familial structure and net worth, should accomplish. Executing estate planning documents, specifically a last will and testament, power of attorney and healthcare proxy, need not be a tremendous production, especially in the precarious times in which we live. At a minimum, we should all execute three basic documents, thus mitigating any future drama.

By |2021-11-05T13:10:37-07:00April 21st, 2020|

Interest in Estate Planning Picks up with Pandemic

This article in the Herald Mail Media states:

“the most important document people should be getting right now is the equivalent of a medical power-of-attorney. The document’s name depends on the state. . . . First, appoint an agent or decision-maker for healthcare decisions in case you are unable to make or communicate an informed choice yourself . . . . Second, the document should express your wishes in case you end up in a terminal condition or persistent vegetative state. Do you want interventions or not?”

By |2022-10-11T15:45:05-07:00April 9th, 2020|

Estate Planning Is More Important Than You Think

This article in Kiplinger starts with “Smart Insights from Professional Advisors” then says:

“An estate plan is a necessary tool that allows you to protect, maintain and manage your property if you become ill or pass away. But more than that, it can also help people make sure their minor children are protected in the event of an emergency or minimize taxes paid on assets by beneficiaries. . . . So, why do so many hardworking people fail to take the time and effort to build an estate plan and preserve their hard-earned assets? . . . a common misconception most people have is that estate planning is for those who are older or possess substantial wealth. Many people also assume that the process will be complex, time intensive and pricey. But some — if not all — of the problems mentioned aren’t true the majority of the time.”

By |2022-10-11T15:45:13-07:00April 7th, 2020|

Estate Planning: Do it Early and Avoid Grief

Ron Wynn writes in Culver City News:

“People often try to put certain things that are not so pleasant on the back burner and say, “I will get to it.” If that is you, you are no different than anyone else. One of the things that people often put aside is estate planning. We all think that we have plenty of time to do that, and that is not our biggest priority.

And then of course, when people get unfortunately ill, it becomes a scramble. Set everything up early in advance when it comes to how you want your estate handled. It’s not a pleasant thing, but it’s something that has to be done and the sooner you do it, the better off you are.

The first thing you want to do, assuming you have assets, is to contact an estate planning attorney and listen to his/her advice. The likelihood is if you own property and other sizable assets, they will suggest you create a family trust. They will explain the kind of family trusts there are, including a revocable trust and an irrevocable trust, and they will also explain to you what the benefits of each are and how they work.

By |2020-04-05T08:08:39-07:00April 5th, 2020|

Financial Planner People Make Same 4 Estate-planning Mistakes Over and Over

Very informative article in Business Insider says, “I’ve worked with more than 1,200 families as a Certified Financial Planner, and I see people make the same estate-planning mistakes over and over again.  Not having a will is a major problem. After that, though, you also need guardianship documents for minor children, updated beneficiaries, and a properly funded trust.”

By |2020-03-30T16:50:59-07:00March 30th, 2020|

The One Document Americans Need Now: Power of Attorney

MSN‘s article states the message my son and I have been trying to convey for years, but even more so now.  The article starts, “If you live in the United States and really want to be prepared for coronavirus, experts say you need a fully executed power of attorney, which designates a trusted person to take over your finances should you become incapacitated. . . . A financial power of attorney is the most useful document because of the possibility that you could be put out of commission for weeks if you fall ill and are unable to take care of your financial affairs. It is followed closely by healthcare directives, which express your wishes about medical care and who gets to make decisions for you, and a will, which distributes your assets after you die.

Arizona residents can get these important documents by purchasing our Peace of Mind bundle or our Gold estate plan.

By |2020-03-28T17:05:54-07:00March 28th, 2020|

Wills and Trusts Don’t Require a Trip to a Lawyer

Wall St. Journal’s article says “The search term ‘getting a will’ has risen sharply since March 8, according to Google Trends. . . . Many young families have nothing in place to protect their assets if they die. Approximately 60% of Americans don’t have a will, according to a study commissioned last year by Brookdale Senior Living . . . But for young parents and healthy people with simple estates, the ease of online estate planning can be beneficial.”

We offer online estate planning.  See the contents of our three estate plans.

By |2020-03-27T06:43:00-07:00March 27th, 2020|

Coronavirus Causes Americans to Make Online Wills

CNBC’s article says, “Over the last two weeks, online will companies have seen an explosion in users. . . .  you can go through the entire process at home . . . . as online wills grow in popularity, a chorus of lawyers increasingly caution against using them. A quick Google search will bring up articles on the dangers of do-it-yourself wills or stories of online wills that were thrown out in court. . . . However, as online wills grow in popularity, a chorus of lawyers increasingly caution against using them. A quick Google search will bring up articles on the dangers of do-it-yourself wills or stories of online wills that were thrown out in court.”

FYI:  See the contents and prices of our three estate planning packages, including the Peace of Mind bundle.  All three plans allow you to sign the documents in your home.

By |2020-03-25T08:44:23-07:00March 25th, 2020|

The Coronavirus Should Have You Thinking About These 4 Things

Interesting article in the Motley Fool that says the four things you need to have are:

  1. a will or revocable trust
  2. Beneficiary designations on financial accounts
  3. Healthcare durable power of attorney
  4. Financial durable power of attorney

Read the article for more about each of these important documents.

P.S.  Items 1, 3 & 4 are included in our comprehensive estate plan with a trust and our Peach of Mind Bundle.  See the contents of the two estate plan packages.

By |2020-03-22T13:57:43-07:00March 23rd, 2020|

Coronavirus Has Americans Scrambling to Set Their Estate Plans

In an article in Barrons on Daisy Maxey wrote:

“Here Are Some Key Things to Know.  Financial advisors and estate attorneys say they are seeing a flurry of inquiries from people seeking to update or draft wills and take other estate-planning measures amid the coronavirus crisis.

‘Seeing in the news that so many people are passing away worldwide and here in the U.S., people are getting a little scared,’ says Alain Roman, an estate-planning attorney in Miami, who is now working with clients mostly over the telephone and online. ‘It’s getting them thinking about having a plan in place in case something happens to them.’ . . .

Jamison Taylor, managing attorney at RISM LLC, a law firm in Washington, D.C., recommends that everyone have at least these three basics: a will, a power of attorney, and a medical directive of some sort. These documents will allow for the distribution of assets according to one’s wishes, the ability to make financial decisions on one’s behalf, and guidance for medical professionals on treatment and care.

By |2020-03-22T13:42:48-07:00March 22nd, 2020|

Coronavirus: Living Wills And Health Proxies – What Steps Should You Take Now?

Martin Shenkman wrote an excellent article in Forbes dated March 19, 2020, that starts:

“It is important that every adult have in place a living will, health proxy and HIPAA release. What key steps should you take now? Why might your existing documents be dangerously wrong and how can you fix them? How has the current environment changed how these documents will be used? How might you update your documents to address these new conditions? What other practical steps can you easily take to protect yourself, and your loved ones?

Think of Others: If you have elderly parents or other loved ones, these may be vital steps for them to take. . . .

Be Sure Your Documents are Current: You should make sure that you, and elderly or ill loved ones, have current legal documents: living wills, healthcare proxies, HIPAA releases, powers of attorney and wills”

By |2020-03-22T14:08:57-07:00March 21st, 2020|

Coronavirus Legal Advice: Get Your Business and Estate in Order Now

Attorney H. Dennis Beaver’s timely article in the Kipliner magazine starts “Estate planning attorneys are getting mobbed with questions.  So, here is some timely advice from three attorneys on what families and business owners should be doing to prepare in case the unimaginable happens.”

The article affirms what we as estate planning attorneys believe, which is that these uncertain times make it imperative that people sign estate plan documents that protect their most valuable assets, their loved ones.

By |2022-10-11T15:45:19-07:00March 21st, 2020|
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