With Tax Laws in Flux: What Should You Do Now?

Last week in our blog titled “House Democrats Propose Sweeping New Changes to Tax Laws That Stand To Have Major Impact on Estate Planning – Part 1,” we discussed the new bill’s proposed changes to tax rates and estate planning vehicles, including several different types of trusts.

Here, in part two, we’ll focus on what you should do now, given that the tax law is in flux and we may not have clear answers until close to the end of the year. READ MORE

House Democrats Propose Sweeping New Changes To Tax Laws That Stand To Have Major Impact On Business Taxation and Estate Planning—Part 1

On September 13, 2021, Democrats in the House of Representatives released a new $3.5 trillion proposed spending plan that includes a wide array of changes to federal tax laws. Specifically, the Democrats have proposed a number of significant tax increases and other changes to fund the plan, including increases to personal income tax rates and READ MORE

House Democrats Propose Sweeping New Changes To Tax Laws That Stand To Have Major Impact On Estate Planning – Part 1

On September 13, 2021, Democrats in the House of Representatives released a new $3.5 trillion proposed spending plan that includes a wide array of changes to federal tax laws. Specifically, the Democrats have proposed a number of significant tax increases and other changes to fund the plan, including increases to personal income tax rates and the capital gains tax rate, along with a major reduction to the federal estate and gift tax exclusion and new restrictions on Grantor Trusts that would basically eliminate such trust’s ability to be used as planning vehicles.

While the proposed legislation is still under consideration and far from being finalized, given the broad-reaching impact these changes stand to have, we strongly encourage you to take action now if you would be affected by the proposed legislation if it does pass. With the exception of capital gains rate increase, which could go into effect on transactions that occur on or after Sept. 13, 2021, most of the proposed changes would be effective after December 31, 2021, meaning that you have time to plan now.

That said, due to the time it takes to plan and execute some of the financial and estate planning actions we’d need to support you with, we suggest you start strategizing now. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to take the appropriate action before the end of the year. With that in mind, here we’ll outline how the proposed tax law changes stand to affect your financial, tax, and estate planning, so you can contact us if you would be impacted if the new bill does pass. READ MORE

3 Pitfalls To Avoid When Buying An Existing Business

Whether it’s your very first or your fifth company, if you’re looking to start a new business venture, you have two options: 1) build your own from scratch or 2) buy an existing one. And while many entrepreneurs dream of building their own company from the ground up, the reality is, launching a brand-new business can be incredibly difficult.

Building a business from scratch can involve years of working long hours for little to no financial reward. In fact, whether your company is ever able to generate a profit or not, starting your own business can consume your life like few other activities. What’s more, no matter how much you sacrifice, there’s no guarantee the venture still won’t fail miserably.

On the other hand, buying an existing business and successfully making it your own can be somewhat less stressful. After all, you’re buying an operation that has already proven successful, with an existing customer base, brand recognition, and cash flow. READ MORE

A Not-So-Happy Accident: Bob Ross’s Estate Planning Failures Leave His Son With Next to Nothing – Part 2

Bob Ross’ planning failures led to an ugly court battle between his former business partners and his family, who were fighting for control of the lucrative intellectual property rights to the Bob Ross brand.

Unfortunately, Bob’s son Steve ultimately lost his fight to benefit from the business empire built on his father’s persona and painting skills. Here in Part Two, we’ll explain the steps you can take to ensure that your loved ones don’t suffer the same fate and are able to fully benefit from all of your business assets following your death.

When it comes to the ownership of business assets, the legal agreements governing the ownership rights of a business are what determines who owns the business and its assets upon the death of an owner, regardless of what your estate plan says. This is why it’s essential that you make certain that any business agreements you enter into are in coordination with your estate plan. We can help you do this as long as we know about all of your business holdings, including your intellectual property and business entities when we handle your estate planning with you. READ MORE

The Big-Time Benefits Of Hiring Your Kids

One of the biggest benefits of running a family business is being able to employ your minor children. By hiring your kids, you have the opportunity to teach them the value of hard work, give them experience managing money, and support them to save for their future. READ MORE

A Not-So-Happy Accident: Bob Ross’s Estate Planning Failures Leave His Son With Next to Nothing – Part 1

As the host of the wildly popular The Joy of Painting TV series on PBS, Bob Ross became a pop-culture icon, who was equally famous for his giant head of hair, soothing baritone voice, and folksy demeanor as he was for his iconic landscape paintings. And like so many other artists, Bob’s artwork and image would become even more popular following Bob’s death in 1995.

Bob’s philosophy in both painting and life was that there “were no mistakes in life… just happy little accidents.” Sadly, as detailed in the recent Netflix documentary Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed, Bob’s failure to coordinate his business agreements with his estate plan was anything but happy, leaving his only son largely unable to benefit from his father’s fame and fortune.

As we’ll discuss in this series, Bob’s planning failures have led to an ugly court battle between his former business partners and his family, who were fighting for control of the lucrative intellectual property rights to the Bob Ross brand. READ MORE

Estate Planning Must-Haves For Single Parents

Having an estate plan that covers the care of your children in case you should be in a severe accident, fall ill, or die welcomes peace of mind for the single parent knowing everything and everyone they love is taken care of.  Here are the must-haves that can protect your children if something were to ever happen to you: READ MORE

Legendary Rapper DMX Dies With No Will, Millions in Debt, and 15 Children – Part 2

As we reported last week in part one, Legendary hip hop artist DMX born Earl Simmons passed away on April 9 at age 50 after suffering a massive heart attack a week earlier at his home in White Plains, New York. The heart attack was reportedly triggered by a cocaine overdose on April 2, which left the rapper hospitalized in a coma. After a week of lingering in a vegetative state, his family made the decision to remove him from life support.

Although DMX was wildly successful in both music and movies, the rap icon experienced serious legal and financial problems, along with frequent issues with drug addiction throughout his career. Having fathered 15 children with nine different women, DMX’s money issues largely stemmed from unpaid child support, but he also failed to pay income taxes, and both of these issues would land the rapper in prison and rehab on more than one occasion.

The saddest part of this whole situation is that virtually all of the conflict, expense, and trauma that DMX’s loved ones are likely to endure could have been easily prevented with straightforward estate planning. Using revocable living trusts, for example, DMX could have ensured that his children and fiancée would have immediate access to his assets upon his death or incapacity, avoiding the need for court involvement altogether and keeping the contents and terms of his estate totally private. READ MORE

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Investing In Business Insurance

Business insurance is your first line of defense in protecting your company from a wide variety of different potential threats. Without the right insurance or with too little of the insurance you do need you could be at great risk from the costs of a lawsuit, judgment, or in the event of an unforeseen emergency or disaster. READ MORE

Legendary Rapper DMX Dies With No Will, Millions in Debt, and 15 Children – Part 1

Legendary hip hop artist DMX, born Earl Simmons, passed away on April 9 at age 50 after suffering a massive heart attack a week earlier at his home in White Plains, New York. The heart attack was reportedly triggered by a cocaine overdose on April 2, which left the rapper hospitalized in a coma. After a week of lingering in a vegetative state, his family made the decision to remove him from life support.

DMX and Desiree, who were engaged in 2019, had been together for seven years, and she gave birth to his 15th child, a boy named Exodus Simmons, in 2016. However, because the two were never married and DMX did not create any estate planning providing for her, Desiree will likely inherit nothing from her late fiance’s fortune.

Don’t let what happened to DMX’s family happen to your loved ones. Whether you have no estate plan at all or have a plan that needs review, even one created by another lawyer, contact us, as your Family Lawyer, today. With our support and guidance, we can ensure that your loved ones will always be provided for and stay out of court and out of conflict no matter what happens to you. READ MORE

4 Factors To Consider When Choosing a Business Entity – Part 2

When starting a business, you have to make a ton of different decisions. From deciding what to name your company to hire employees, getting your business off the ground comes with a nearly endless number of decisions.

Last week in part one, we discussed the first two of four leading factors to consider when selecting your entity, and here, we cover the final two.

Properly selecting, setting up, and maintaining your business entity is far too important of a task for you to try to handle all on your own. We offer you trusted advice on the most advantageous entity for your particular business and then help ensure that your entity is properly set up. We can also provide you with sound business systems to make your business more efficient and establish a clear separation between your business and personal finances, which is a crucial part of maintaining your entity’s liability protection. READ MORE

Don’t Forget To Protect Your Furry Family: Estate Planning For Your Pets

Humane Society estimates that between 100,00 to 500,000 pets are placed in shelters each year for exactly this reason, and a large number of these animals are ultimately euthanized.

Unfortunately, the law considers pets to be nothing more than personal property just like cars, furniture, and electronic devices. So unless you take the proper steps to include your pet in your estate plan, your beloved companion could end up in a shelter or worse following your death or incapacity. READ MORE

4 Factors To Consider When Choosing a Business Entity – Part 1

When starting a business, you have to make a ton of decisions. Deciding what to name your company and hiring employees, what kind of products or services you should sell, and how to fund your operation, getting your business off the ground comes with a nearly endless number of decisions.

all these decisions, perhaps none is more important or has a more significant impact on your success (or failure) than your choice of business entity structure. Indeed, the entity you choose for your business will affect everything from the amount of taxes you pay and what kind of records you are required to keep to how vulnerable your assets are to lawsuits incurred by your company. READ MORE

Everything You Need to Know About Including Digital Assets In Your Estate Plan – Part 2

Last week in part one, we discussed some of the most common types of digital assets and the current legal landscape governing what happens to those assets upon your death or incapacity. Here, we offer some practical tips to ensure all of your digital assets are properly included in your estate plan, so these assets can provide the most benefit for your loved ones for generations to come. READ MORE

Preserving Your Money and Property Beyond the Third Generation

Whether you have inherited your wealth or have built it yourself, you likely want to share this wealth with the next generation and beyond. Providing for multiple generations through your financial and estate plans is a significant legacy to leave your family. As previously mentioned, ensuring that it is done properly requires careful planning with experienced professionals. To take the next step in your planning, consider the following steps (if you have not already done so): READ MORE

Benefits of Having Your Business Donate to Charity

Giving money to charity might seem counterintuitive to those running a for-profit company. However, it is important to keep in mind that charitable giving can not only make a big difference to the recipients of your generosity, but it can also provide a net gain to your business. In addition to the potential tax advantages of charitable giving, donations have been shown to boost employee morale and productivity, improve a company’s brand image, and build customer relationships. READ MORE

The Difference Between a Prenuptial Agreement and a Will or Trust

Having a will or a trust is something responsible people do, but despite the more common use of these tools today, a certain percentage of the general population still misunderstands the difference between the reasons for creating a will or a trust and the reasons for entering into a prenuptial agreement. What do these different legal documents do? And when should you use them? READ MORE

What You Need to Know about Hiring Seasonal Employees

A lot has changed since last summer, but the same federal and state laws still apply to employers that hire seasonal employees. If your business is considering bringing on summer help to handle an increased workload, you may need a refresher on navigating benefits, taxes, overtime, pay, and employment of teenage workers. READ MORE

Britney Spears’ Nightmare Conservatorship Underscores The Vital Importance Of Incapacity Planning – Part 1

Since the age of 16, when she burst onto the charts with her debut single, “…Hit Me Baby One More Time,” Britney Spears has been one of the world’s most famous and beloved pop stars. Yet despite her massive fame and fortune, Britney, who is now 39, has never truly had full control over her own life. READ MORE

How to Maximize Your Startup Cost Deductions

Coming up with a solid concept for a new business and working to get your operation off the ground can be an expensive undertaking. But the good news is that you can write off a number of the expenses involved with the startup process. READ MORE

My Loved One Has Died – What Do I Do Now?

When a family member or other loved one dies, grief and shock can sometimes be overwhelming. The last thing most people want to think about is making phone calls or funeral arrangements. Some things do not need to be done immediately, but there are some steps that should be taken soon after the loss of your loved one. We hope the following guide will help facilitate this process during a stressful and emotional time. READ MORE

Just Married? 6 Estate Planning Essentials for Newlyweds – Part 2

Indeed, once your marriage is official, your relationship becomes entirely different from both a legal and financial perspective. With this in mind, last week in part one, we discussed the first three of six essential items you need to address in your plan, and here we cover the final three. READ MORE

The Perfect Father’s Day Gift for Every Father

We may go to great lengths to protect and pass on our family’s financial wealth. Still, very few of us take the time to even document, much less preserve, our family’s legacy. The stories, values, insights, and life lessons of our parents, grandparents, and those who came before them— are typically lost forever when a beloved father figure passes away. READ MORE

Why Is My Trust So Long?

When you met with an attorney a few weeks ago, perhaps all you expected was a simple will. Maybe you thought that, with your situation, the work should be easy and the documents should be few. But now that you have finished working with the attorney, your parting gift is a large binder filled with hundreds of pages. You may be wondering, “Why is my trust so long?” READ MORE

What is Long-Term Care and Who Provides It?

Most long-term care involves assisting with basic personal needs rather than providing medical care. You are usually determined to need long-term care if you need help with two or more “activities of daily living” (such as bathing, dressing, eating, and going to the bathroom). Family members usually provide long-term care to start, but as an illness escalates paid care may become necessary. READ MORE

Selling a Deceased Loved One’s Real Estate: Things You Need to Know

After the death of a loved one, such as a parent, there are a variety of tasks that must be handled to wrap up your loved one’s final affairs. Selling your deceased loved one’s real estate is one of the more daunting ones. But before you call a real estate agent, you should take some time to get familiar with and consider a few of the key issues as you work through this process. READ MORE

What Are the Rights of a Child Born Outside of Marriage?

If you are a nonmarital child or have a nonmarital child, it is essential to understand how rights to inherit are formed and defined. Failure to adequately provide estate planning for a nonmarital child could be problematic for children and families attempting to assert their rights following the nonmarital father’s death. READ MORE

Don’t Let Diminished Financial Capacity Put Your Elderly Loved Ones At Risk – Part 1

Coinciding with the boom in the elderly population, the number of Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is expected to increase substantially as well. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease will double by 2060, when it’s expected to reach 14 million—more than 3% of the total population. READ MORE

Simultaneous Deaths: What If My Spouse and I Die at the Same Time?

The chances of a married couple dying in a common accident or within a very short time of one another are probably quite slim. However, it does happen. And it happens frequently enough that most states have laws to address the issue and the problems that can arise from simultaneous deaths. What are these laws, why do we need them, and can we work around them if we need to? READ MORE

Do I Have to Leave Anything to My Children?

One common storyline in Hollywood movies is the rich father disinheriting the family outcast. The story usually traces the child’s attempts to win the father over and be considered a part of the family again. But can fiction imitate reality? Can you actually disinherit a child? READ MORE

What Happens to Your Pets When You Die?

If you have pets, my guess is that you love them as much as you do your children, but I’m also guessing that you have not provided any written or, better yet, legally documented instructions about what should happen to them, if you become incapacitated or when you die. If you have, read this article with an eye to ensuring you’ve checked all the right boxes for the beings you love. If you haven’t, read on because it’s time to take action, and we can make it easy for you to do the right thing by the pets you love. READ MORE

What If No One Wants My Property?

A critical question to ask yourself when creating an estate plan is who will get your stuff when you pass on? While most people think about who they would like to receive the major items, such as homes, retirement accounts, savings; however, personal property, such as jewelry, clothing, sports equipment, vehicles, and other possessions are often overlooked. READ MORE

Four Common Myths about Estate Planning

Almost everyone will benefit from estate planning, which addresses non-wealth aspects of your legacy along with the financial aspects. Estate planning can ensure someone you trust will care for your children and pets after your death, and make sure treasured family heirlooms end up where you want them to go. Estate planning also can help you pass along your values. READ MORE

Does Your Estate Plan Protect Your Intellectual Property?

Even if you’ve worked with a lawyer to set up your business entity or a CPA to file your taxes, those advisors may not be thinking about or helping you plan for what happens to your intangible business assets upon your death. Similarly, most lawyers who focus on estate planning don’t really understand the value of intellectual property and how to protect it. READ MORE

Reviewing Your Estate Plan after the Death of a Loved One

Although your estate plan primarily focuses on what will happen if you become incapacitated (unable to make or communicate your wishes) or die, the death of a loved one can have a major impact on your planning. If you have an estate plan, one of the first items you need to do when a loved one dies is to review the documents with the following questions in mind: READ MORE

Moving To A New State? Remember to Update Your Estate Plan

Although you likely won’t need to have an entirely new estate plan prepared for you, upon relocating to another state, you should definitely have your existing plan reviewed by an estate planning lawyer who is familiar with your new home state’s laws. Each state has its own laws governing estate planning, and those laws can differ significantly from one location to another. READ MORE

5 Questions To Ask Before Hiring An Estate Planning Lawyer – Part 2

Although hiring the right estate planning lawyer may not seem like a really important decision, it’s actually one of the most critical choices you can make for both yourself and your family. After all, this is the individual you are trusting to serve on your behalf to protect and provide for your loved ones in the event of life’s most traumatic experiences.

Should you choose the wrong person for the job, your family could potentially face all manner of unnecessary conflicts, expenses, and legal entanglements during a time when they are at their most vulnerable. In the end, estate planning is about far more than having a lawyer create a set of documents for you, and then never seeing you again, or only seeing you when something goes wrong. READ MORE

5 Questions To Ask Before Hiring An Estate Planning Lawyer – Part 1

Since you’ll be discussing topics like death, incapacity, and other frightening life events, hiring an estate planning lawyer may feel intimidating or morbid. But it definitely doesn’t have to be that way.

Instead, it can be the most empowering decision you ever make for yourself and your loved ones. The key to transforming the experience of hiring a lawyer from one that you dread into one that empowers you is to educate yourself first. This is the person who is going to be there for your family when you can’t be, so you want to really understand who the lawyer is as a human, not just an attorney. Of course, you’ll also want to find out the kind of services your potential lawyer offers and how they run their business. READ MORE

Third-Party Supplemental Needs Trusts

If you want to provide for a loved one who is disabled or has special needs when you are no longer here, care must be taken to ensure that the inheritance you leave will help rather than harm your loved one. An inheritance received outright could negatively impact your loved one if he or she is currently receiving government aid or benefits or will need to apply for aid in the future. READ MORE

Things You Need to Know as Successor Trustee

Accepting the role of successor trustee can seem a little intimidating when you look at the job description. However, you are not alone. Your advisor team (trust administration attorney, certified public accountant (CPA), financial advisor, and insurance agent) can guide you through the various steps of the administration process. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you may want to consider delegating trust administration tasks to another person with comparable, more advanced, or specialized skills such as an attorney, CPA, or financial advisor. Also note, services completed on behalf of the trust can be charged to the trust, not to you personally. READ MORE

How to Choose a Trustee

When you establish a trust, you name someone to be the trustee. A trustee does what you do right now with your financial affairs – collect income, pay bills and taxes, save and invest for the future, buy and sell property, provide for your loved ones, keep accurate records, and generally keep things organized and in good order. READ MORE

The Recipe for a Satisfying Estate Plan

Misconceptions about who needs an estate plan abound. Most people believe that estate planning is only for extremely wealthy business moguls or celebrities. But that could not be further from the truth. Estate planning is the process of making decisions about what happens to you, your money, and your property when you pass away or can no longer make decisions for yourself. Thus, estate planning should be standard practice for every adult age eighteen or older.

To learn more about Cheever Law, APC and estate planning, please register for our FREE educational Life & Legacy Planning Webinar. We look forward to serving you! READ MORE

4 Tips for Talking About Estate Planning with Your Family Over the Holidays

With COVID-19 still raging, your 2020 holiday season may not feature the big family get-togethers of years past, but you’ll still likely be visiting with loved ones in some fashion, whether via video chat or in smaller groups. And though the holidays are always a good time to bring up estate planning, given the ongoing pandemic, talking about these issues is particularly urgent this time around. READ MORE

Remarrying In Midlife? Avoid Accidently Disinheriting Your Loved Ones

Today, we’re seeing more and more people getting divorced in middle age and beyond. Indeed, the trend of couples getting divorced after age 50 has grown so common, it’s even garnered its own nickname: “gray divorce.”

With divorce coming so late in life, the financial fallout can be quite devastating. Indeed, Bloomberg.com found that the standard of living for women who divorce after age 50 drops by some 45%, while it falls roughly 21% for men. Given the significant decrease in income and the fact people are living longer than ever, it’s no surprise that many of these folks also choose to get remarried.

And those who do get remarried frequently bring one or more children from previous marriages into the new union, which gives rise to an increasing number of blended families. Regardless of age or marital status, all adults over age 18 should have some basic estate planning in place, but for those with blended families, estate planning is particularly vital. READ MORE

Getting Divorced? Don’t Overlook These 4 Updates to Your Estate Plan – Part 2

Going through divorce can be an overwhelming experience that impacts nearly every facet of your life, including estate planning. Yet, with so much to deal with during the divorce process, many people forget to update their plan or put it off until it’s too late.

Last week in part one, we discussed the first two changes you should make to your plan: updating your beneficiary designations and power of attorney documents. Here in part two, we’ll cover the final updates to consider. READ MORE

Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Dies Without A Will – Part 2

Last week in part one, we discussed a few potential explanations for this apparent blind spot in Boseman’s estate plan, and how the young actor might have prevented the situation by creating a pour-over will to be used as a backup to any trusts he had put in place. Here in part two, we’ll focus on another critical component of Boseman’s estate plan – incapacity planning.

Regardless of his age or health condition, Boseman, like all adults over 18 years old, should have three essential planning documents in place to protect against potential incapacity from illness or injury. These include a medical power of attorney, living will, and durable financial power of attorney. READ MORE

Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Dies Without A Will – Part 1

On October 15th, nearly two months after the death of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, his wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, filed documents with the Los Angeles probate court seeking to be named administrator of his estate. Earlier this year, Boseman and Ledward were married, and the marriage gives Ledward the right to any assets held in Boseman’s name at his death.

What makes Boseman’s story somewhat unique from the others is that it seems likely the young actor put some estate planning tools in place, but it’s possible he didn’t quite finish the job. Based on the number of hit films he starred in and how much he earned for those films, several sources have noted that Boseman’s assets at the time of his death should have been worth far more than the approximately $939,000 listed in probate court documents. READ MORE

Questions & Answers On COVID-19 Tax Changes for 2020—Part 2

Last week in part one, we answered questions about tax changes offered by the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC). Here in part two, we’ll wrap up this series by answering questions about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and four additional tax breaks offered by the CARES Act that could save your business even more on your 2020 taxes. READ MORE

Questions & Answers On COVID-19 Tax Changes for 2020—Part 1

Throughout 2020, Congress passed multiple pieces of legislation—most notably the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act—offering numerous forms of tax relief to help businesses like yours deal with the economic fallout of COVID-19.

That said, these new laws have also created a tangled web of new tax and accounting changes that can be quite challenging to keep track of. To help you sort through all of the new programs and ensure your business takes advantage of the full range of tax breaks available, in this two-part series, we’ll provide answers to some commonly asked questions about the coronavirus-related tax changes for 2020. READ MORE

Once Your Kids Are 18, Make Sure They Sign These Documents

While estate planning is probably one of the last things your teenage kids are thinking about, given the dire threat coronavirus represents, when they turn 18, it should be their (and your) number-one priority. Here’s why: At 18, they become legal adults in the eyes of the law, so you no longer have the authority to make decisions regarding their healthcare, nor will you have access to their financial accounts if something happens to them. READ MORE

COVID-19 Highlights Critical Need for Advance Healthcare Directives—Part 2

With new cases of COVID-19 currently surging in dozens of states, doctors across the country are joining lawyers in urging Americans to create the proper estate planning documents, so medical providers can better coordinate their treatment and care should they become hospitalized with the virus.

The most crucial planning tools for this purpose are medical power of attorney and a living will, advance healthcare directives that work together to help describe your wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life care should you become unable to express your own wishes. While all adults over age 18 should put these documents in place as soon as possible, if you are over age 60 or have a chronic underlying health condition, the urgency is paramount. READ MORE

COVID-19 Highlights Critical Need for Advance Healthcare Directives—Part 1

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the country, doctors across the nation are joining lawyers in urging Americans to create the proper estate planning documents, so medical providers can better coordinate their care should they become hospitalized with the virus.

The most critical planning tools for this purpose are medical power of attorney and a living will, advance healthcare directives that work together to help describe your wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life care in the event you’re unable to express your own wishes. In light of COVID-19, even those who have already created these documents should revisit them to ensure they are up-to-date and address specific scenarios related to the coronavirus. READ MORE

Avoiding Financial Grief: How to Protect Your Significant Other from Frozen Accounts

The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. Nothing can truly prepare a person for such a loss. However, dealing with the financial stress of frozen bank accounts can exacerbate the stress. Without proper planning, your significant other could struggle to gain access to your accounts. The frustration is especially distressing if the frozen account was the primary source for paying joint or household expenses. READ MORE

How to Avoid the Need For a Prenuptial Agreement – Part 1

If you’re counting down the days to your wedding, divorce is probably the last thing you and your fiancé want to be thinking about, and yet you might be rightfully concerned about what would happen to your assets in the event of a divorce – or your death. In this two-part series, I’ll first discuss the pros and cons of prenuptial agreements, and then in part two, provide estate-planning alternatives you may want to consider. READ MORE

Is It Time to Go Solo(preneur)?

There’s nothing like a major change in the economic climate to make you rethink your day job. “Business as usual” currently means a large element of uncertainty about what the future holds for your working life. Whether you’ve lost your job, had your hours cut, or have seen these things happen to people you know, your feeling of security has likely taken a hit. And, maybe that can be a good thing, something that calls you to start taking action. READ MORE

Learning to Flourish, Even in a Financial Crisis

A financial crisis doesn’t have to be a crisis for you or your family. In fact, this could be the perfect time to access the wealth of resources currently available to fund your next level of growth. It’s a time to invest in yourself, and to learn to use your gifts, skills, and talents to serve others in a big way. That way, you won’t have to depend on anyone else, including your job, corporations, or the government, to sustain you. READ MORE

The Basics of Disability Insurance and How It Can Help During COVID

The Americans with Disabilities Act has detailed specifics on what a disability is, but the most basic definition is that an individual has “A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual.” That can apply to a car-accident or other injury, or a debilitating illness documented by a doctor, including mental illness. READ MORE

3 Unique Ways to Handle the Guilt Inherent to Being a Parent

If you are like most parents, you were probably struggling with guilt even before the virus. You simply can’t make it to every award ceremony or recital, and you might not have as much time to play with your kids or help them with their homework as you’d like. Those feelings of guilt may now be compounded by all the additional responsibilities you’ve had to take on in a short space of time. READ MORE

Online Wills? When You Should, When You Shouldn’t and Where to Do It

With all of the media about “digital wills” and “online estate planning” it could be tempting to think you can do your estate planning yourself, online. And, maybe you can. But, if you do, you need to know the potential pitfalls. Online estate planning could be a big trap for the unwary and actually leave your family worse off than if you had done nothing at all. READ MORE

How To Get Access to Your COVID Stimulus Money

On March 27, President Trump signed a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill into law that will hopefully provide some relief for many, perhaps including you. The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) sends money directly to Americans, expands unemployment coverage, and funds loans and grants for small businesses. So let’s look at how you can access these funds. READ MORE

The Most Important Legal and Financial Actions To Take Right Now

As you already know, the COVID-19 pandemic means nothing is business as usual.

In this time of stress and chaos, your parents may be resistant to talking about estate planning. Perhaps you have not completed your own planning and are hesitant to get started. It may feel too pessimistic to plan for the worst in the midst of a scary situation. However, that’s exactly why it’s the most important time to do so. Plus, since hopefully you are staying inside, you may actually have the time to dedicate to getting these tasks taken care of. READ MORE

How To Talk To Your Parents and Get Them To Stay Home

There’s no doubt that your parents have survived frightening world events, whether that was World War II, the war in Vietnam, nuclear threat, illness, poverty, civil unrest, or all of the above. However, the use of the word “unprecedented” regarding what’s happening now is not an exaggeration. And they may not understand it all or what they should do, not because they aren’t wise, but because the news has been confusing to interpret. Here are some tips to help you speak with your parents about staying home. READ MORE

Are You Clear About How Your Parents Estate Plan Will Impact You?

It is my hope that your family is safe and healthy during this COVID-19 pandemic. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, I invite you to ask several important questions, such as: Do your parents have an estate plan? Is it up to date? These times provide us with a reminder that estate planning is critical for all of us. READ MORE

Unprecedented Times: Time to Get Prepared

In light of these unprecedented times and the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines for all of us to follow in order to protect yourself and to protect others. Large gatherings are cancelled and we are encouraged to limit physical contact and take extra precautions to take care of ourselves and our families, not out of fear, but out of concern and care for those around us and to stop the spread. In order to minimize exposure and the spread of the virus, take extra steps to protect yourself and your family by actively supporting your immune system, practice proper personal hygiene, which includes proper hand-washing, and limit physical contact with others. Additionally, ensure you are prepared and have food, supplies and resources for 30 days at home. Please visit the CDC for a complete list of the Guidelines if you haven’t done so already.

Your health and safety is important to me and the extra precautions include implementation of virtual meeting options by partnering with Zoom, a video conferencing technology solution. Utilizing technology, my office can continue to serve and support you while staying connected and minimizing physical contact. These are the times where it is more important than ever to ensure you are prepared, which includes having your estate planning in place. READ MORE

CORONAVIRUS: Impact to Your Wealth, Health and Happiness

While it’s still hard to tell how the Coronavirus will impact us in the long term, it’s become a subject that’s impossible to ignore. Here are some resources to stay up to date on the virus and to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy. READ MORE

4 Things Trusts Can Do That Wills Can’t

Both wills and trusts are estate planning documents that can be used to pass your wealth and property to your loved ones upon your death. However, trusts come with some distinct advantages over wills that you should consider when creating your plan.

That said, when comparing the two planning tools, you won’t necessarily be choosing between one or the other—most plans include both. Indeed, a will is a foundational part of every person’s estate plan, but you may want to combine your will with a living trust to avoid the blind spots inherent in plans that rely solely on a will. READ MORE

Kobe Bryant’s Untimely Death Highlights the Vital Need for Estate Planning at All Ages

The death of Kobe, his daughter, and the others is overwhelmingly tragic and heartbreaking. The entire matter is terribly painful. It highlights our mortality and that our tomorrows are not promised. We cover these issues in hopes that it will inspire you to remember that life is not guaranteed, death can come at any moment, and your loved ones are counting on you to do the right thing for them now. READ MORE

The SECURE Act’s Impact On Estate and Retirement Planning—Part 1

The changes ushered in by the SECURE Act have dramatic implications for both your retirement and estate planning strategies—and not all of them are positive. While the law includes a number of taxpayer-friendly measures to boost your ability to save for retirement, it also contains provisions that could have disastrous effects on planning strategies families have used for years to protect and pass on assets contained in retirement accounts. READ MORE

The SECURE Act: How Does It Affect Your Retirement Accounts?

On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act), which became effective on January 1, 2020. The Act is the most impactful legislation affecting retirement accounts in decades. It will have a positive impact for many older Americans but could have negative tax consequences for many beneficiaries of their retirement accounts. READ MORE

Productivity Tips for the New Year

Are you feeling bogged down in a swamp of clutter, deadlines, and incomplete tasks? As we draw closer to the end of the year, make it your goal to do a few simple things over the course of a day or two that will result in increased productivity and peace of mind for 2020. READ MORE

4 Tips For Discussing Estate Planning With Your Family This Holiday Season

The holidays offer an opportunity to visit with loved ones you rarely see and get caught up on what’s been happening in everyone’s life. And though it might not seem like it, the holidays can also be a good time to discuss estate planning. In fact, with everyone you love, from the youngest to the oldest, gathered together under one roof, the holidays provide the ideal opportunity to talk about planning. READ MORE

Buyer Beware: The Hidden Dangers of DIY Estate Planning—Part 2

Online planning documents may appear to save you time and money, but keep in mind, just because you created “legal” documents doesn’t mean they will actually work when you (or most importantly, the people you love) need them. Without a thorough understanding of how the legal process works and impacts family dynamics upon your death or incapacity, you’ll likely make serious mistakes when creating a DIY plan. READ MORE

Buyer Beware: The Hidden Dangers of DIY Estate Planning – Part 1

In this way, relying on DIY planning documents is one of the most dangerous choices you can make. In the end, such generic forms could end up costing your family even more money and heartache than if you’d never gotten around to doing any planning at all. At least with no plan at all, planning would likely remain at the front of your mind, where it rightfully belongs, until it’s handled properly. READ MORE