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Estate Planning

Unfortunately this article is not about skydiving, visiting the Alamo, or riding a bull for the first time.  Check out the Tim McGraw song or the Morgan Freeman movie if that’s what you were looking for.  No, this is a more practical look at preparing for the inevitable.  It’s easy to want to avoid discussing it, but it’s just as much a part of life as dream vacations and bull riding.  Why wouldn’t you plan for it just like your retirement, your career, […]

A recent USA Today article noted that fewer older Americans have estate plans than ever before.  This troubling trend should sound alarm bells throughout the land, but for a majority of Americans this is not news at all.  In fact, it’s estimated that only about one third of adults have an estate plan.  Of the two-thirds that don’t have any advanced planning in place, almost three-quarters are women. The statistics are downright worrisome, but why are so many of us foregoing this valuable […]

For purposes of estate planning, a blended family is one where married couples have children from previous relationships or marriages.  These families can include step children, half siblings, or even extended family members who live in the same household. It is very important to revisit your estate plan after a divorce or remarriage, especially when children are involved.  The only way to make sure your children are protected in these situations is to have an estate plan in place that reflects your wishes.  […]

I admit, it’s tempting.  The lure of the instant solution, avoiding a stodgy lawyer’s office, saving money, and a easy way to check that project off your to-do list.  I’m speaking of course about the myriad of online options for creating your own will or trust.  It seems like they’re all over the internet these days.  But like so many other things on the internet, you should be careful where you tread.  Sometimes because you can doesn’t mean you should. Not that you’re […]

Okay, we have to own up to something.  Officially, October 16-22, 2023 is National Estate Planning Awareness Week, but we are so passionate about providing peace of mind to our clients that we extended this important week into a whole month.  It’s tough to convey all the value an estate plan brings you and your family in just one week, so we’ve decided to use the entire month of October to remind everyone of the importance of creating or maintaining an estate plan. […]

When you had your will drafted years ago, you might have thought it could sit in your file cabinet until that fateful day when it was needed and everything would work out just fine. That might be true, but the reality is that things change, and the estate plan you set up in your 30s might not be what you need in your 50s or beyond. So maybe it’s time to blow the dust off and take a look at your documents to […]

There are many reasons why people donate to charity. While tax benefits may be important to some, altruism is far and away the leading impetus for giving away one’s assets. Donors may have a personal connection to a certain cause or simply want to be part of something meaningful, but the feeling they get from their benevolence is likely the driver of their generosity. Luckily for such kind-hearted people, there are estate planning techniques that make fulfilling their charitable intent both tax-efficient and […]

Let’s face it. Our pets are not just loyal companions, they’re members of our family. We have them groomed, we make sure they have their favorite chew toys when we leave for work, we hire pet-sitters when we go out of town. We even buy pet insurance to cover their medical expenses. We love them like children. And just like our kids, they are dependent on us for their care. So what would happen if you were unexpectedly missing from their life? Well, […]

It could happen at any time. You are unexpectedly struck by an illness or injury that leaves you unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate. Your doctors are unaware of your wishes regarding life-saving measures, and they can’t rely on your loved ones for medical decisions because federal law prevents them disclosing details about your condition. Or perhaps your incapacity is prolonged, your mortgage and other bills are due, and your loved one don’t have access to your bank account to make payments. These […]

Estate planning is about much more than just a will or living trust. While many of your assets can pass to your loved ones through those documents, there are plenty more assets that cannot. These “non-probate” assets are ones that require you to name a beneficiary that will receive the assets when you pass, and include life insurance policies, annuities, 401k plans, IRAs, pension plans, stock options, and government benefit plans. Choosing who you name as a beneficiary might seem like an easy […]

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