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.
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. In a recent blog post, we went over some aspects to consider when choosing a guardian and we’ve also compiled them into an infographic for you.
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…]
Picking a guardian for your child whether you are expecting or already have young children can be an emotional process. Trying to pick a family member from one person’s side or the other can cause tension or make you feel like you’re “picking sides”. Having a new baby and having children is a joyful yet challenging time. Naming the guardian(s) of your children shouldn’t be something you feel guilt over. Most assume that they must pick a family member, but you can actually name whomever you feel will be the best fit. In a Business Insider article, former financial advisor and mom, Katie Oelker, shares how she and her husband made the decision to pick guardians for their daughter and later daughters, before each child was born, and how they ultimately picked friends instead of family.
If you have given some thought to who should have guardianship over your child you’ve probably realized what a tough decision it is. Picking a person that both you and your spouse can agree on is no easy matter. Here are some tips from Savvy-Parents in their article, “Six Tips for Choosing a Guardian for Your Child”:
If there is one thing in life you can be sure of it is that you don’t know what is going to happen. As a parent making sure you have taken precautions that will take care of your family if you are not able to do so is critical. An article from Savvy-Parents, “Who Is Authorized to Pick Up Your Child in an Emergency?”, discusses the importance of ensuring you have filled about proper documentation like a Standby Guardianship Designation so that your children will have a legal guardian in the event you are unavailable.
Have you thought about who is authorized to pick your child up from school aside from yourself? What about daycare or other extracurricular activities? Your spouse/partner should not be your only answer. Organizations are not legally allowed to release your child to anyone who does not have documented authorization to do so. If both you and your spouse/partner were in an accident, your child would not be allowed to be released to another adult even if it were their grandparent. The police or child protective services might be called, something you would not want your child to go through on top of their parents being injured.
While we all see estate planning as a long-term strategy, which it is, it also can be for short-term items as well. It is easy to focus all your energy on the aspects of your estate plan that are far reaching, like retirements savings and what will happen to your assets after your passing. Yet, what about in those moments before your strategy for the longevity of your assets kicks in? Or more importantly, if you have minor children, what will happen to them in the first few days after your passing? An article from Forbes, “What Is Micro Estate Planning And Do You Need It?” emphasizes the need to consider the short-term plan for your children.
Let’s be real, we all hold onto things we think would be nice to pass onto our kids. We started this tradition even at a young age with toys that we were attached to but had outgrown. Yet, as you set out to plan who gets what in the will, there are 10 things your kids likely do not want. They may be too kind to say as much, so you might want to consider an alternative for those items you have been saving. An article from NextAvenue “Your Top 10 Objects Your Kids Don’t Want” by Elizabeth Stewart, author of ‘No Thanks Mom’, outlines the objects your kids do not want and what you can do with them. [Read more…]