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Beneficiary Designations

Wills set out the disposition desires for an individual's probate assets.  An important part of many people's estates, however, are non-probate assets.  Life insurance and retirement accounts are two of the most commons non-probate assets.  These … [Continue reading]

When should I review my estate planning documents?

For most people, reviewing their estate planning documents is something that should be done every 3-5 years.  However, if a significant life event occurs in the middle of one of these periods, it is probably wortwhile to take a look at your documents … [Continue reading]

American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012

Congress avoided the fiscal cliff with the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), but what effect will the the new law have on estate planning for those with and without estate planning documents?  The good news is that ATRA kept … [Continue reading]

Advance Directives

I've previously written about the importance of having a comprehensive estate plan; one that includes a will or will substitute, durable power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney and an advance directive or living will.  The importance of … [Continue reading]

Annual Gifts

Year end is fast approaching.  For some people, these last few weeks can be a very advantageous time to consider making a gift of cash or other property.  Each individual has the ability to gift an annual amount to an unlimited number of recipients … [Continue reading]

What should be in your Will?

Your will is often the starting point of an estate plan. Depending on where you are in life, your will can address who will receive the property in your estate, who will care for your minor children, and who should be responsible for administering … [Continue reading]

What is a Durable Power of Attorney? Do I need one?

Trusts can often be the companion piece to a will in your estate plan, but since the topic of trusts can be so broad, there will be comments posted on them at a later time. Today, I want to talk about durable powers of attorney. In its simplest form, … [Continue reading]

YOUR parents are going to raise our kids?

“My parents can raise the kids; no your parents; no my parents…” Estate planning issues are faced by people in all walks of life. Even those with more than adequate resources may have issues when crafting their plan. In recent years, the deaths of … [Continue reading]

Should I have a Healthcare Power of Attorney or Living Will?

Healthcare powers of attorney and advance directives are created by statute. Similar to durable powers of attorney, a healthcare power of attorney is a document in which you (the principal) designate an agent (the healthcare attorney-in-fact) to make … [Continue reading]

Trusts for Your Estate Plan

Trusts. It used to be trusts were used only by the extremely wealthy. We’ve probably all used the term ‘trust-fund baby’ in some way, shape or form to describe that person who seemed to have it all, no worries, no need to work, always with a … [Continue reading]