estate issues

5 Reasons to Embrace the Emotional Side of Estate Planning

When you hear the phrase “estate plan,” you might first think about paperwork. Or your mind might land on some of the uncomfortable topics that estate planning confronts head-on: end-of-life decisions, incapacity, and your family’s legacy from generation to generation. Those subjects hit home for everyone. But while that could feel like a reason to avoid

How to Build Freedom From Court Interference Into Your Estate Plan

It’s clear why you might want to avoid court involvement in your estate for financial reasons, knowing that probate can quickly get costly and time consuming for those involved. But there is an emotional component to it as well. Your assets are just that: yours. And the idea of them being discussed and deliberated on in

Do It Now: Name a Guardian for Your Minor Child(ren)

We know it’s hard. Thinking about someone else raising your children stops us all in our tracks. It feels crushing and too horrific to consider. But you must. If you don’t, a stranger will determine who raises your children if something happens to you - your child’s guardian could be a relative you despise or even

Tax Reform and Estate Planning in 2018

The new tax legislation raises the federal estate tax exemption to $11.2 million for individuals and $22.4 million for couples. The increase means that an exceedingly small number of estates (only about 1,800, nationally) will have to worry about federal estate taxes in 2018, according to estimates from the nonpartisan congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. So,

Are Payable-On-Death Accounts Right For You?

A payable-on-death account, also called a POD account, is a common way to keep bank and investment accounts out of probate, the court-supervised process that oversees distributing a deceased person’s property. Most people want to avoid their estate going through probate because their heirs will receive the inheritance faster, privately, and at lower cost. Is a

What do successor trustees and executors do?

Executor’s Duties An executor, sometimes called a personal representative, is the person who is named in a will, appointed by the court, and responsible for probating the will and settling the estate. Depending on the state, an executor may work under court supervision or may use so-called “independent” administration for an unsupervised probate. Typically, a petition

Does a Dynasty Trust Make Sense for Your Family?

In 2017, NBA team owner Gail Miller made headlines when she announced that she was effectively no longer the owner of the Utah Jazz or the Vivint Smart Home Arena. These assets, she said, were being placed into a family trust, therefore raising interest in an estate planning tool previously known only to the very wealthy­–the

How Estate Planning Can Help You Dream About Your Future

A dream without a plan is simply a wish. Estate planning is not just about death and taxes -- it puts you in the driver’s seat of your financial life, allowing you to set achievable goals. It is a great opportunity to focus on the legacy you want to leave behind for loved ones, help you

Have you been named as an executor? How to avoid common pitfalls and possibly getting sued

One of the issues that I spend the most time discussing with my estate planning clients is who to choose as a successor (e.g. back-up) trustee. Most clients go with close friends or family members, although those with more complicated estates or those who have had difficult trustee experiences themselves often see the benefits of working

7 Tips From Philip Seymour Hoffman, Gandolfini, & Other Celeb Estates

What do Philip Seymour Hoffman, James Gandolfini, Heath Ledger, and Amy Winehouse have in common? Unfortunately, two things: an unexpected and early demise and the other -- problematic estate issues. This Forbes article from earlier this year provides some key lessons to take away from these celebrities’ untimely passings. There are numerous stories about families having