Browse Our Estate Planning Articles Some of these articles have been written by our law firm and other articles are written by the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys and compliments of our law firm. Any feedback or questions about the articles can be addressed by contacting our office.
Funding is Critical to Estate Planning
When Ted and Emily set up their Revocable Living Trust, they thought they were done. But when Ted passed away, Emily found out how wrong they were - the Trust they had created had not been funded. Some assets passed as joint tenancy, some by beneficiary designation and other assets had to go through probate. Learn how a properly funded trust could have avoided the distribution problems Emily encountered and achieved the results they had set out initially to accomplish.
Keeping Your Vacation Home in the Family
Vacation homes hold a special place in our hearts with fond memories of special times shared with family. However, most people do not realize that leaving the family's vacation home to their children without proper planning can be devastating to their ongoing relationships and can tear the family apart. This article discusses the estate planning options available to preserve family relationships and keep the vacation home in the family through the use of special shared use agreements and separate funds that will pay for any expenses.
What Keeps a New Mom Up at Night Besides the Baby?
The birth of a new baby is a wondrous and joyous event. As a new mom you look forward to caring for your baby and watching your precious bundle of joy grow and develop from infancy to being a toddler, and then school-age to young adult. However, if something unexpected should happen to you, who would look after your child's physical and financial well being? This article reveals how you can provide a secure future for your new baby, with a comprehensive estate plan, should the unexpected happen.
Pet Planning - Not Just for the Rich and Eccentric
When people think of someone setting up a Trust for their pet, they might imagine Leona Helmsley's pet Maltese named Trouble drinking Perrier from a crystal bowl in a lavish Manhattan penthouse. However, you don't have to be rich and eccentric to set up a Pet Trust to care for their beloved pet(s). Pet Trusts are most commonly set up by caring individuals who just want to make sure that their non-human family member is taken care of in the event of their own death or disability. This article discusses the 3 easy steps necessary to set up a Pet Trust for your furry and feathered family members. Remember, without you planning for them in advance, they may face the same awful fate that awaits so many other orphaned pets. You will sleep better knowing that they will continue purring or wagging their tail even if you're no longer able to care for them.
Let Your Voice Be Heard
The article examines the case of Terri Schiavo and how a clear expression of her wishes could have avoided problems.
Your Grandkids Could Retire as Millionaires
You can set up an irrevocable trust for grandkids and with relatively small contributions make them millionaires by retirement.
New Privacy Regulations: How to Protect Yourself
The federal government often passes legislation that is designed to protect us. However, all too often, that legislation can have unintended consequences. Recent federal laws and regulations have created new privacy protections for medical information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and regulations to implement it, known as "HIPAA," recently came into effect. Now all "covered entities" must comply with strict rules or face fines and potential criminal penalties. "Covered entities" include your physicians and hospitals. Penalties for mistakes run from a $100 fine for an innocent error up to a $250,000 fine and 10 years in prison for malicious misconduct.
If You Really Love Me, Don't Leave Me Anything!
This sounds like an odd statement, but it may be very accurate. Leaving assets directly to children or other beneficiaries may cause them problems which could be easily avoided or reduced by leaving them the assets in trust rather than outright. Even if the child is a very capable adult, it is often better to leave the assets in trust. The child can receive the assets in trust and could be trustee of that trust. As trustee, the child could invest the assets as desired, could purchase a home with trust assets and live in it, and could even start a small business. All of this can be done while leaving the assets in the trust. Further, as trustee, the child could make distributions needed for his or her health, education, maintenance and support, or that of his or her own children. Finally, the child can be given a power to determine who should get any remaining assets at his or her own death.