In this infographic, learn how Family Estate Planning Law Group will work with your family to create plan that not only addresses your goals and concerns, now, but one that will take care of your family when it matters most. Click the image to view the full infographic:
Perhaps because of Hollywood or other fictional portrayals—Knives Out being a recent (and fun) cinematic example—wills and inheritances seem to not bring out the best in people. Most people don’t want to think about the potential for a family fight when it comes to planning their estate.
But, as the old saying goes, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail.’ It’s not just planning for animosity or sibling rivalry—what if your wishes aren’t clear? What if your estate goes through probate and causes misunderstandings opening the family to a stressful and public process? Probate is something you can avoid with the right planning, but you have to take care of now to prevent probate from happening through smart planning and communication.
According to an AARP survey, about 90 percent of American seniors want to live in their own homes as long as possible. Known as “aging in place,” it’s no surprise that most seniors would much prefer living in their own homes as opposed to facility care. Unfortunately, physical or cognitive issues can often make this a difficult option.
Family members who fully understand the benefits associated with aging in place—a sense of independence, better health outcomes, and the comfort that only “home” can provide—may consider an in-home caregiver for their elderly loved one.
Your loved one might benefit from an in-home caregiver for medical needs as well as with assistance in light housekeeping, routine errands, and other daily living activities. Once you have made the decision to hire a caregiver, it is important that you understand how to choose the best in-home caregiver for your elderly loved one. [Read more…]
Today we’re going to wrap up our series on the mistakes we often see in estate planning. While we’re all about planning here at Family Estate Planning Law Group (it’s even in our name), we know that some plans work better than others. Here are our last three reasons why:
Mistake #8: My Estate Planning Attorney Does Not Need to Know My Other Advisors
Many people come to this conclusion because they know that if their estate planning attorney spends an hour talking to their financial planner, they are going to get billed for it. Perhaps you have learned this the hard way. While financial planners, CPAs, insurance professionals, and attorneys practicing in other areas all concentrate on different things, they often overlap, particularly when it comes to your estate plan. Doesn’t it make sense for your team of professionals to start talking to each other now, instead of having to try to figure it out once you are not around to make decisions to clarify things anymore?
The solution to this problem is both simple and challenging. The simple part is to get your team of professionals talking to each other now. The challenging part is to find professionals who won’t charge you by the hour. Working with an estate planning attorney with an ongoing care program allows you to feel confident that they are coordinating with the people they need to in order to make sure your plan is going to work without always having to worry about what the bill is going to be at the end. [Read more…]
This is Part 2 of the Top Ten Mistakes blog series. Click here to catch up on Part 1.
In our last blog, we discussed the first four mistakes you can make: Procrastination, assuming wills or trusts avoid probate, leaving assets to a child or special needs beneficiary (directly), and assuming trusts take away beneficiary control. Today we’ll look at the next three.
Mistake #5: Not Organizing Your Information During the Pandemic
Have you organized all your financial records, deeds, tax information, insurance information, and estate planning documents in one secure place or central location? Does your family know where that is? Do they know what medications you take or who your doctors are? How about your lawyers, accountants, or financial planners? These are all things you might want to consider at any time, but they are especially critical now during this pandemic when things can change quickly.
If your financial information and records are not organized before death or disability (by you, the person who knows where everything is), your loved ones can be left with a morbid scavenger hunt trying to find and recreate financial information and records during an emotionally difficult time. This may keep them from being able to make timely, important financial decisions. Your family will not be able to handle your affairs, take care of you, or advocate on your behalf during the pandemic if they can’t find your information or do not have legal authority to do so.
The solution to this mistake is to work with an estate planning attorney who has an ongoing care program. Here at Family Estate Planning Law Group, our initial intake process helps you to identify all your assets as well as the team of professionals that you work with. We then track any changes because it doesn’t matter what you own today; it matters what you own when you die or become incapacitated.
In addition to working with an attorney with a client care program, we also suggest having a Family Care MeetingTM where you invite your caregivers (children) and your professionals (financial planners, CPAs, etc.) to discuss your plan so everyone understands how it will work.
Finally, we love the “Grab and Go” Kit suggested by Healthassist which you can check out here. It’s a list of things you might want to have readily available in case you get suddenly ill and have to go to the hospital during this pandemic. [Read more…]
We’ve been talking a lot recently about the mistakes we see in estate planning because now, more than ever, we are finding that people feel uncertain, and they want to know their loved ones are secure. Despite the best of intentions, sometimes estate plans just don’t work because they were not set up or maintained properly (or you never had one to begin with). While we all want to feel good about our planning, we also want to make sure it is not a false sense of security. The next few blogs will address the mistakes we often see, and how you can make sure that you don’t fall prey to them!
Mistake #1: Procrastination
One of the biggest and most common mistakes that we see in estate planning is procrastination. For many, creating an estate plan (or updating the one they did 15 years ago) is something they are always meaning to get to but never actually do. The biggest mistake you can make is not having an estate plan, because the probate court has one for you. And for those who do have a plan, their biggest mistake may be not having looked at it in years. Changes in the law, changes in what you own, family changes, job changes, changing your residence, and changing your wishes can all keep an old plan from being effective if it is not updated. In our experience, most estate plans fail because they do not reflect what you want to have happen now.
The solution to this mistake is simple: create an estate plan or update your existing estate plan. Even if you are not quite sure who you want involved or the exact details you want to be included in your plan, someone who specializes in estate or elder law planning will be able to help you with that. Additionally, if you work with a firm that has an ongoing care program, you can always update your plan if you change your mind or if your situation changes. [Read more…]
Although most of us probably cannot even imagine a scenario where we would refuse an inheritance, there are actually situations where it would make sense. Some of these situations include:
- The property left to you could require significant upkeep, therefore significant financial outlay. A property could have extremely high property taxes or insurance, or an older home could require so much upkeep that it is simply not financially feasible to accept the gift.
- Accepting the inheritance could potentially interfere with your eligibility for a necessary government assistance program.
- The inheritance may generate a level of tax obligation that you are simply not able to pay.
- You might want the property left for you to go to another person.
- You could be contemplating filing for bankruptcy and do not want the property to be sold to pay your creditors or have it otherwise interfere with your bankruptcy proceedings.
- You could be thinking about divorce and do not want to take the chance that the inheritance could be subject to the marital property division laws in your state.
- You simply may not like the item left to you or want the inheritance.
You may have wondered at some point in your life what would happen to your assets if you were to unexpectedly die. If you are like most of us, you quickly pushed those thoughts to the back of your mind, vowing to deal with them “later.” While few of us want to sit down and think about our eventual death, most adults recognize it is a topic that should be addressed. Many who have taken the step to have an estate plan drawn up may still find it awkward or uncomfortable to talk to family members about the estate plan.
It is extremely important to talk about your long-term care plans with your adult children or others who would be left to deal with your estate in the event of your death or incapacitation. Just remember, it is much better to have these conversations now than to wait until it is too late. Family Estate Planning Law Group’s Family Care Meeting™ is a great way to begin talks with your family about your estate plan. By bringing together your team, which can include your loved ones, our attorney team, a financial advisor, accountant, or any other professional you want to be included, the Family Care Meeting™ opens up communication, facilitating the conversation and answering questions from all those involved. [Read more…]
During these unique and unprecedented times, we at Family Estate Planning Law Group are still working hard to help our families create estate plans and update their estate plans efficiently while also focusing on keeping everyone safe through social distancing practices. With the new stay at home order extended to May 18th, we have come up with several options to help our clients efficiently and safely review and execute their estate planning documents until it is safe for us to start in-person meetings again. [Read more…]
It can be difficult to plan for the unthinkable, but if you have minor children, not only is choosing a guardian a “must-do,” it can also afford you peace of mind. You may find choosing a guardian to be challenging, but it does not need to be overwhelming. Sit down and consider the people you would be comfortable with raising your children. Once you have a shortlist, ask yourself the following questions about each potential guardian:
- Where does the person live? It is unrealistic to expect a guardian who lives a significant distance from you—and has their own life—to suddenly move into your home with your children. It is more likely the children will move into the guardian’s home, so think about whether the proposed guardian has a home large enough to accommodate your children—and if you are okay with your children being raised there. You may also want to consider how a move could affect your children, particularly if it takes them away from their current school or it puts them a significant distance from their friends.
- Do you know what the person’s religious, political, and moral beliefs are—and are you comfortable having your children’s views shaped by those beliefs? Obviously, you will never find a guardian who holds 100 percent of your personal beliefs, but you want to try for at least similar beliefs.
- Does the person have his or her own children? If so, are you comfortable with their views on child discipline, education, sports, etc.? If the person does not have children, have they spent time with yours?
- How old is the person? While an older guardian is likely in a better financial position and may have more time to spend with your children, he or she could also have little understanding of today’s kids, and current trends. On the flip side, younger guardians may be heavily involved in getting their career off the ground, having little time for children.
- Not only is age a factor, health is a factor as well. While you could never anticipate all eventualities, it is probably not a good idea to choose a guardian who currently has health issues.
- Is the person married? If so, you have to be equally comfortable with his or her spouse and have to determine how stable the marriage appears to be. If the person is single, are you confident in his or her ability to choose a partner you would approve of to help raise your children?
- Is the person financially stable? If not, will you be able to leave enough money to cover expenses for your children? Like it or not, the financial situation of a potential guardian can have a significant impact on your children.
- Perhaps most importantly, is the person you are considering willing to be guardian to your children? It is essential that you have an honest conversation with the proposed guardian to ensure he or she really understands what being a guardian entails and is willing to take on the responsibility.
The things that matter the most to you in regard to your children are as different and unique as you and your family. While you certainly want to name a guardian that will love and care for your children in much the same way as you would, you also want a guardian who is responsible. It is important that you always choose an alternate guardian just in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to step in. Finally, consider splitting the tasks of caring for your children by asking one person or team to handle finances and the inheritance of the children (be the trustees on the trust you leave for your children) while another serves as guardian and does the actual parenting.
Finally, do not let intimidation over choosing the perfect guardian keep you from choosing one at all or doing any estate planning. Remember, any guardian you choose is better than not having a guardian at all (and the state choosing for you). And if you are part of our ongoing client care program, you can always change your mind and update your guardians without us billing you for it.
How Family Estate Planning Law Group Can Help
Whether you need help choosing a guardian for your children or need assistance with other estate planning concerns, we at Family Estate Planning Law Group are here for you. We want to help you address your family’s unique concerns in all areas related to estate planning in today’s world. We understand that children grow, situations change, and you should have an estate plan that grows and changes with you and your family. We do this through our ongoing client care program, as well as our Family Care Meeting™, which encourages our clients to include trusted advisors and family members in the planning process. Together, We Plan for Life® Explore our blog, and schedule your complimentary consultation today.