Posts Categorized: Wills

What if I Cannot Find a Beneficiary?

As an executor or trustee, ensuring assets reach their intended beneficiaries is crucial. But what happens when a beneficiary is missing? Here’s a glimpse into the steps and considerations involved in locating beneficiaries, including the use of heir search services and the importance of legal guidance. Stay informed to navigate these complexities effectively and protect your fiduciary responsibilities. READ MORE

Celebrity Estate Plans Series Part 1 of 4: Michael Jackson 

In our exploration of Michael Jackson’s estate plan, we uncover valuable lessons applicable to everyone, regardless of fame or fortune. Despite his global influence, Jackson’s oversight in estate planning, relying solely on a Will instead of a trust, led to prolonged legal battles and public scrutiny for his family. This highlights the critical importance of comprehensive estate planning and the role of a successor trustee in safeguarding assets and family harmony. Learn from his story to ensure your loved ones are protected with a well-thought-out estate plan. READ MORE

The Importance of a Successor Trustee

A successor trustee is more than a legal designation; they are a cornerstone of your estate plan’s effectiveness and your peace of mind. Responsible for managing trust assets in times of incapacity and after your passing, this trusted individual ensures your directives are upheld without the complexities of probate. Their fiduciary duties underscore their commitment to acting in the best interests of your beneficiaries, making regular updates to your estate plan and clear communication with your successor trustee crucial steps in securing your legacy for the future. READ MORE

Value Freedom? Here’s Why an Estate Plan Is Your Declaration of Independence

As you celebrate the Fourth of July, embrace the ultimate American liberty: the right to decide your own affairs, even after death or in the event of incapacity. Learn how a Life & Legacy Plan empowers you to preserve self-determination, protect your family, grow your wealth, and define your legacy. This comprehensive estate planning approach ensures your wishes are honored, evolves with you, and minimizes stress for your loved ones. Make your own declaration of freedom and secure your legacy with a Life & Legacy Plan today. READ MORE

Severing Joint Ownership of Property

Joint tenancy with rights of survivorship (JTWROS) is a common form of property ownership in the United States, offering an undivided right to enjoy the property and a seamless transfer to the surviving joint tenant upon death. While this method is attractive for its simplicity and low cost, it can lead to unintended legal consequences. Explore the benefits and potential pitfalls of JTWROS, and learn about the various methods for severing joint tenancy when necessary. Ensure your estate planning aligns with your wishes by consulting an experienced attorney. READ MORE

The Surprising Connection Between Men’s Health and Estate Planning

Did you know that your physical health can have a profound impact on your estate planning? As we mark Men’s Health Month, let’s explore how good health extends beyond just longevity and quality of life—it’s also crucial for setting up a robust estate plan. A strong estate plan ensures your wishes are respected throughout your life and even after, making it as important as your physical well-being. READ MORE

How to Talk to Mom and Dad about Creating an Estate Plan

Conversations about death and dying can be uncomfortable, but they’re essential for ensuring your parents’ wishes are honored. This blog explores the importance of discussing estate planning with your parents, offering practical tips on how to approach the topic. Learn how to navigate these sensitive conversations, involve all necessary parties, and review existing plans to build a solid foundation for your family’s future. Don’t wait – take steps now to secure your parents’ legacy and provide peace of mind for everyone involved. READ MORE

They’re Not Kids Anymore! Navigating Your Child’s Transition Into Adulthood

When your child turns 18, they’re legally considered an adult, even though they still have a lot more growing to do (though they might not think so!). Just like any other adult, their health and financial information is protected by privacy laws. But you can still step in and help them if you and your child plan ahead. In our latest blog, we share three essential strategies to help you and your child navigate this important transition: education, communication, and legal planning. Learn how to support your newly-minted adult through this critical phase and ensure you’re able to step in if needed. READ MORE

What If No One Wants My Stuff?

When creating an estate plan, a critical question arises: Who will get your belongings when you pass on? While major assets like homes and retirement accounts often get attention, personal items such as jewelry, clothing, and sports equipment can be overlooked. What happens if your loved ones don’t want these items? This article explores how to handle personal property in your estate plan, covering wills, trusts, and various methods to distribute or dispose of unwanted items, ensuring your wishes are honored and your loved ones are spared unnecessary burdens. Discover practical solutions and the importance of a comprehensive estate plan to protect your legacy. READ MORE

Father Knows Best: Avoiding Common Estate Planning Pitfalls

As a father, you’ve always strived to provide the best for your family, ensuring their well-being and securing their future. From the moment you first held your child, you committed to protecting them, guiding them, and supporting their growth and happiness. Your dedication is unwavering, and your love knows no bounds.

However, even the most well-intentioned plans can falter if you overlook the complexities of estate planning. It’s not just about having a will or a few financial arrangements in place; it’s about understanding the intricate details and potential challenges that can arise. Without a thorough and well-thought-out estate plan, your assets might not be distributed according to your wishes, and your family could face unnecessary legal battles and financial hardships. READ MORE

My Loved One Has Died: As an Heir or Beneficiary, Do I Need an Attorney?

You just found out that your favorite aunt has died. In the midst of your grief and sadness, you receive a notice from the attorney handling your aunt’s affairs stating that you are a beneficiary. Your best friend advises you to get an attorney. What should you do? Will your aunt’s attorney help you? After all, the attorney has been helping your family for years. Since this attorney knows your aunt and the family affairs, shouldn’t her attorney be able to help you as well? READ MORE

Protecting Your LGBTQIA+ Family: A Pride Month Guide to Estate Planning for Non-Biological Parents

This Pride Month, take the time to safeguard your family’s future by putting the proper legal protections in place for yourself and the people you love. You worked hard to build this life – don’t let lack of planning put it all at risk. In this article, I’ll address some key actions to take so you’re empowered to advocate for your rights as an LGBTQIA+ non-biological parent.  READ MORE

Including Noncitizens in Your Estate Planning

With our society becoming increasingly mobile and international travel becoming more affordable than ever before, families and family-like relationships have steadily grown far more diverse in terms of citizenship. It is no longer uncommon for spouses from different countries to retain citizenship in their native countries. Many couples split their time between the United States and another country to be near their families and enjoy the many benefits of such a lifestyle. In addition, it is not uncommon for a couple’s children or other loved ones to move away from their country of origin and take up permanent residence abroad, or even renounce their home country citizenship, depending on their choices of careers or domestic partners or other considerations. READ MORE

Memorial Day Reflections: Crafting Your Lasting Legacy With Estate Planning 

Memorial Day brings with it an opportunity to reflect on the concepts of mortality, remembrance, and legacy. As we remember the brave men and women who lost their lives serving in the military, may this day also inspire you to think about the legacy you wish to leave behind.

But, first, what is a legacy, really? “Legacy” is often misunderstood and so is estate planning. Legacy and estate planning are often perceived as “only for the wealthy” and/or “philanthropic”. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.  READ MORE

Can a Beneficiary Also Be a Trustee of a Trust?

Clients often naturally choose their children to be beneficiaries of their revocable living trusts. Many clients also wish to name one or more of their children as the trustee of that trust, but are not sure if that is allowed by the law. The short answer is yes, a beneficiary can also be a trustee of the same trust – but it may not always be wise, and certain guidelines must be followed. 

There are good reasons for naming a trust beneficiary as trustee. For one, it is convenient. A trust’s beneficiaries are usually known, loved, and trusted by the trustmaker, so it makes sense to select one of the beneficiaries as trustee. Also, a trustee-beneficiary has a vested interest in ensuring that the trust is administered in accordance with the trustmaker’s intentions because it benefits them, though this might be less true if the beneficiary is unhappy with their portion of the trust proceeds.  READ MORE