Monthly Archives:: August 2022

What Your Last Will & Testament Will (And Will Not) Do – Part 2

Like most court proceedings, probate can be time-consuming, costly, and open to the public. Moreover, during probate, there’s also the chance that one of your family members might contest your will, especially if you have disinherited someone or plan to leave significantly more money to one relative than the others. Even if those contests don’t succeed, such court fights will only increase the time, expense, and strife your family has to endure. 

Bottom line: If your estate plan consists of a will alone, you are guaranteeing your family will have to go to court if you become incapacitated or when you die. Fortunately, it’s easy to ensure your loved ones can avoid probate using different types of trusts, so meet with us, your attorney, to spare your family this unnecessary ordeal. READ MORE

What To Do if Your Trustee Is Unresponsive

First things first, if your trustee has not responded to you, try examining your contact method. How have you tried to contact them? If you have left them a phone message, try sending them an email instead. If a text message has received no response, try sending a letter through the mail. And it should be obvious, but if you are argumentative or hostile, it is not surprising that the trustee is not responding, even if they have a duty to do so.

If you cannot speak in a civil manner to the trustee, try keeping all of your communication in writing, be clear about your questions and requests, and do so without accusations or threats. If you have tried multiple methods of communication with your trustee in a civilized manner and still have not received any response, then it is probably time to take it to the next level of involving the attorney. READ MORE

What Your Last Will & Testament Will (And Will Not) Do – Part 1

August is “National Make-A-Will Month,” and if you have already prepared your will, congratulations – too few Americans have taken this key first step in the estate planning process. In fact, only 33% of Americans have created their will, according to’s 2022 Wills and Estate Planning Study. 

Yet, while having a will is important, and all adults over age 18 should have this document in place for all but a few people, creating a will is just one small part of an effective estate plan that works to keep your loved ones out of court and out of conflict. With this in mind, here we look at exactly what having a will in place will and will not – do for you and your loved ones in terms of estate planning. READ MORE

How to Keep Your Child’s Inheritance Out of Your In-Law’s Hands

During a marriage, the lines between what each partner owns can blur. Generally, whatever is acquired during the marriage by either partner becomes a marital property that is subject to division in the event of a divorce, but there are exceptions.

One exception is a bank account that is kept separate during the marriage. Inheritance money that you leave to your child or monetary gifts that you give to your child during your lifetime can theoretically go into a separate account. However, in practice, it can be difficult for spouses to avoid commingling bank accounts. Even something as simple as depositing marital money into the account or using it to pay bills during the marriage could make the account marital property. READ MORE

3 Critical Considerations For How To Save For Your Child’s (or Grandchild’s) College Education – Part 2

As we noted in part one, one alternative way to save for your offspring’s higher education is by using an irrevocable trust. Although there isn’t any income tax deferral on income earned by the assets held by these trusts, it is possible to structure a trust, so your beneficiaries could qualify for financial aid that they may otherwise be ineligible for with a 529 plan. Depending on your situation, qualifying for financial aid may prove even more valuable than savings on the income taxes owed on income earned by the trust.

Here in part two, we’ll further discuss how these trusts work and why they may be an attractive alternative to 529 plans if you are looking to save for your loved ones’ education – whether that education is college or some other form of learning. READ MORE

Questions You Should Ask Your Estate Planning Attorney

Creating an estate plan is a personal and often emotional undertaking, making the selection of your estate planning attorney of the utmost importance. Here are some questions you should ask your estate planning attorney to determine if they are the right person for the job.

At its core, estate planning is a personal endeavor. Many estate planning attorneys have personal experiences that influenced their decision to specialize in this area. Asking this question can help you get to know your attorney and their reasons for practicing the way they do. These attorneys are passionate about their work and happy to share their background and the experiences that brought them to choose estate planning as their practice area. If the attorney you are considering has no particular reason for choosing estate planning, then perhaps you should keep looking. READ MORE

3 Critical Considerations For How To Save For Your Child’s (or Grandchild’s) College Education – Part 1

Since the pandemic’s start, college enrollments have declined by over one million students over the past two years. With college tuition getting more and more expensive, many students are considering alternatives to the traditional higher education path.

Gap years, travel, trade programs, and online training are replacing the traditional college education path for many. If you want that to be an option for your children or grandchildren, you should be aware that the traditional college savings plans may not be the right fit for your family. READ MORE

Three Steps You Can Take Now to Protect Your Artistic Legacy

The first step is to catalog your artwork, including pieces that you have sold. Make sure to specify to whom they were sold and for how much. This information can be helpful in valuing artwork that has not sold and providing a list of potential buyers for when you pass away. You should also include any pieces of artwork that you have lent. This knowledge will be helpful for your loved ones to determine who has the artwork and under what circumstances it will need to be returned. Your list should also include any pieces that have been licensed to someone else. It will be important for your loved ones to know about this stream of income, which could continue after your death. Also, consider including a list of pieces that you have gifted to individuals or donated to charities. Be sure to include any pieces that you have kept for yourself.

After you have compiled a list of your artwork, it will then be important to determine the value of any piece that has not already been appraised, and that is still considered yours (having been neither donated nor sold). This process can help you understand the value of everything you own (an important step in the estate planning process) and determine if you have adequate insurance to cover your artwork’s value. Just like other pieces of tangible personal property, your artwork can be susceptible to theft and destruction and needs to be protected. READ MORE

4 Essential Strategies For Protecting Your Family’s Assets

Insurance is always the first line of defense when it comes to asset protection. Anyone can file a lawsuit against you at any time – and basically for any reason. And whether you are ultimately found at fault or not, defending yourself in court can be extremely costly.

The insurance coverage you purchase should not only pay damages if a lawsuit against you is successful, the policy should also cover the cost of hiring a lawyer to defend you in court, whether you win or lose your case. And because a large judgment could exceed your policies’ coverage limits, you should also seriously consider buying umbrella insurance. READ MORE