What to Expect During Your First Meeting with an Estate Planning Attorney

What to Expect During Your First Meeting with an Estate Planning Attorney

Statistics tell us that while the vast majority of people understand how important it is to have an estate plan, fewer than half of all Americans actually have one in place. Those who have yet to create an estate plan provide numerous reasons for their procrastination. One of the more common explanations centers on the…

Estate Tax Targeted In Budget Proposal

Estate Tax Targeted In Budget Proposal

Throughout 2012 people within the estate planning community were faced with a grey area concerning the federal estate tax. It’s challenging to plan ahead effectively when crucial information is unavailable. To explain, at the end of 2010 a legislative measure that has come to be known as the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job…

Don't Make These Estate Planning Mistakes

Don't Make These Estate Planning Mistakes

While probate records can be accessed by the general public, when everyday people pass away there generally isn’t much interest in their estate planning efforts. However, things are entirely different when high-profile celebrities die. When you see other people make certain types of mistakes it can get your attention and you can resolve to avoid…

Estate Planning and the Market

Estate Planning and the Market

The market determines what your home, your investments, and your savings are worth now…why wouldn’t it be just as important in the future? The answer is simple – it will be. People often forget this when they create an estate plan, operating under the assumption that assets will retain their current value or will continue…

The Estate Planning Lessons to be Learned From Cinderella

The Estate Planning Lessons to be Learned From Cinderella

One of the most loved children’s fairy tales of all times is the classic “Cinderella.” We all remember Cinderella because, in the end, she lives happily ever after with the handsome prince. Her road to her fairy tale ending, however, is a bit bumpy. Cinderella loses her mother when she is very young. He father…

Estate Planning and Informed Charitable Giving

Estate Planning and Informed Charitable Giving

When you are  involved in the process of estate planning you may decide that you would like to spread some of your assets around to worthy charitable causes. This is a good way to foster a philanthropic legacy, and some people can do this quite efficiently as they reduce their tax exposure. There are various…

Estate Planning Implications of Minnesota Same-Sex Marriage Law

Estate Planning Implications of Minnesota Same-Sex Marriage Law

Minnesota recently joined the eleven other states that recognize same-sex marriages. This can seem like a huge win for those who would like to take advantage of certain estate planning benefits that are afforded to married couples. Clearly, when you are legally married in a particular state you gain certain benefits that are not afforded…

Estate Planning Applications of Roth IRAs

Estate Planning Applications of Roth IRAs

When you hear about individual retirement accounts or IRAs you are invariably going to envision a nest egg that you can tap into during your retirement years. Indeed, that’s what these accounts are usually used for, but a certain type of individual retirement account also has estate planning applications. First let’s take a look at…

Changes to Your Estate Plan – Precipitating Events

Changes to Your Estate Plan – Precipitating Events

Millions of Americans have yet to sit down and create a thorough estate plan. If you are not among this group, then you are ahead of many. Don’t make the mistake, however, of stopping there. Once your estate plan has been created, it should be reviewed and updated every three to five years. In addition,…

Illinois Man Leaves Substantial Estate to Actors

Illinois Man Leaves Substantial Estate to Actors

Your Last Will and Testament is your opportunity to decide what you want to happen to your estate assets when you die. Only you can decide who will receive your assets. Sometimes the choice of beneficiaries is baffling to others as was the case when a 71 year old Illinois resident died recently. Ray Fulk,…

Why "Do-It-Yourself" Estate Planning Often Backfires

Why "Do-It-Yourself" Estate Planning Often Backfires

In the age of electronics, people often turn first to their computers for information and only look to a professional if they cannot find what they are looking for online. Estate planning is no exception to this trend. Along with other types of legal documents, people are often tempted to download estate planning forms or…

Who Will Decide What Happens to My Remains When I Die?

Who Will Decide What Happens to My Remains When I Die?

Unfortunately, conflict over a deceased can begin as early as the moment after death. Before a probate is even opened to deal with the division of estate assets, family members could begin arguing over what will happen to your remains. Did you want to be cremated or buried? What happens is a spouse insists on…

Consumer Reports Evaluates DIY Estate Planning

Consumer Reports Evaluates DIY Estate Planning

Estate planning attorneys want to assist clients. For this reason, some people may be skeptical when legal professionals advise against the utilization of do-it-yourself estate planning documents. The reason why experienced estate planning attorneys, who have knowledge about the subject, don’t recommend going it alone is because they understand some of the hazards. The above…

Conflicts in Your Estate Plan – Which Document Wins?

Conflicts in Your Estate Plan – Which Document Wins?

Even a simple estate plan usually includes more than just a Last Will and Testament. If you have a life insurance policy, a bank account, or even own a home, all of those documents are ultimately part of your estate plan whether you realize it or not. Because people often do not think of these…

Common Estate Planning Mistakes That Can Easily Be Avoided

Common Estate Planning Mistakes That Can Easily Be Avoided

The decisions you make in your estate plan will affect you and your loved ones for years to come. Creating your estate plan should be done with the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that it is done properly. When you sit down to create your estate plan, consider the following common…

How Comfortable Are You With Your Estate Planning Attorney?

How Comfortable Are You With Your Estate Planning Attorney?

Most people do not spend much time thinking about the relationship they have with their attorney from a personal standpoint. When it comes to your estate planning attorney, however, your level of comfort and ability to communicate with him or her is much more important than you may realize. Of course you should choose an…

Charitable Gifting Through Your IRA Under the Agreement Reached by Congress

Charitable Gifting Through Your IRA Under the Agreement Reached by Congress

Many people feel that charitable gifting is an important part of their daily life. As such, they make a point of making charitable gifts to worthy causes each year. If you are one of these people, provisions in the agreement reached by Congress regarding the “fiscal cliff” may apply to you if you are also…

Benefits and Drawbacks of a Personal Property Memorandum

Benefits and Drawbacks of a Personal Property Memorandum

The assets that make up your estate are likely as unique as you are. For some people, their estate consists mainly of real property and investment accounts. For other people, their personal, tangible property has great emotional or monetary value. If you are one of these people, you may wish to consider including a personal…

Beneficiary Designations – Often Forgotten Once Named

Beneficiary Designations – Often Forgotten Once Named

Throughout your lifetime, you will likely be required to designate beneficiaries for a number of reasons. Often, once the initial designation is made, they are forgotten. Designated beneficiaries, however, play a key role in your estate planning. For this reason, you should make a point of remembering who you have designated and for what purpose….

How Can You Avoid Probate?

How Can You Avoid Probate?

Why Most People Want to Avoid Probate Most people want to avoid probate for a variety of reasons: Time/hassle (9-12 months average) Legal/court costs (2-3% of the estate) Loss of privacy Loss of control A Will Never Avoids Probate Myth: You can avoid probate by having a will. Truth: A will does nothing to avoid…

Assets Uncovered After The Close of Probate

Assets Uncovered After The Close of Probate

What should you do when you uncover assets owned by a person who passed after their probate has closed? This article explains what to consider. Probate is the legal process by which a decedent’s assets are inventoried, valued and eventually passed to beneficiaries after death. As part of the probate process, personal representative must locate all estate…

Too Many Americans Without Advance Directives

Too Many Americans Without Advance Directives

Making plans for the future distribution of your financial assets to your loved ones after you pass away is obviously part of what estate planning is all about. However, in addition to executing a will and/or a trust you should also have the appropriate advance directives for health care in place. It is not uncommon…

Can I Afford An Estate Plan?

Can I Afford An Estate Plan?

For estate planning attorneys, this is one of the most frequently asked questions. In today’s tough economic times, people are even more concerned about spending money. While this is certainly understandable, it is crucial to take into account the cost of dying without an estate plan in place or the costs of becoming incapacitated without…

Supplemental Needs Trust

Supplemental Needs Trust

Helping Disabled Loved Ones without Disqualifying them from Government Benefits The cost of caring for a special needs individual can take its toll on even a relatively affluent family. For the average family, the cost of caring for a special needs loved one over a lifetime is simply out of reach. Thankfully, there are numerous…