Monthly Archives: September 2021

Not Keeping Estate Plans Current Can Destroy Your Planning Goals

Nearly half of Americans who are over the age of 55 do not have a will. Only 18% of people in this age range have the recommended legacy planning elements, which include advanced health care directives and powers of attorney. While it remains uncertain how many people fail to update their estate plan routinely, this is likely also a large number. Estate planners often must invest a great deal of energy to establish estate and wealth plans that fit a person’s needs and make sure that their estate goals work together. As clients’ situations change, however, they often fail to inform estate planning lawyers so that adequate changes can be made to the corresponding documents.  Life Changes Warrant Updating Your Estate Plan After the births of new family members, deaths of close loved ones, and even after a divorce, the best practice is to update your estate plan. Over time, parents’ relationships with their children will change. Children can also encounter various problems throughout life that alter the way that a parent wants assets to be distributed. Changes in a child’s life can also end up influencing that child’s ability to act as an agent or trustee of a parent’s [...]

2021-10-01T19:49:44+00:00Tags: |

What We Learn From Celebrities Who Have Failed to Estate Plan

At the time that he passed away, the award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman had a limited estate plan. He only had a will that mentioned establishing a trust for his eldest son. Desiring his children to never become spoiled by large trust funds, however, Seymour Hoffman left the remainder of his estate to his girlfriend. Hoffman is far from the only celebrity who has made estate planning mistakes in recent history. Over the last few years, countless stories have emerged of actors, athletes, musicians, and other celebrities passing away without estate plans. Because estate planning laws must be followed by everyone — even famous people — intestate estates are ultimately distributed in a way that the deceased individual did not intend.  While you may not be a celebrity, there are some notable lessons to be learned from them about why you must make sure to adequately document your assets and establish an estate plan.  Crisis Planning It is a good idea to obtain the assistance of family members to help you navigate a crisis. Estate planning addresses what will happen if you are temporarily or permanently incapacitated as well as what will happen after you pass away. If you are [...]

2021-09-09T15:17:45+00:00Tags: , |

Ways to Reduce the Risk of Family Disputes Over Estate Planning Issues

Losing a loved one is often a painful time that unites families and friends. Each family is different, however, and sometimes fights can arise regarding how the deceased individual’s estate is handled. While it can certainly be difficult and uncomfortable to think about the best ways to avoid family fights over an estate while a person is still alive, taking the time to do this can avoid unpleasant situations as well as reduce costs for friends and loved ones. The following are the most common fights that arise among families during the estate planning process. Someone Exerted “Undue” Control Over the Estate Owner In a legal sense, undue influence, occurs when someone coerces an individual into making decisions that are against their wishes but in the wishes of the person who is doing the coercing. Whether it is manipulation, influence, or any other type of abuse, it is not uncommon for people to exercise this type of power over others in order to profit financially. One of the best ways that you can avoid being a victim of such coercion is to place measures in your estate planning documents to protect both you and your assets from another individual who [...]

2021-08-26T20:36:42+00:00Tags: , |

Common Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

Estate planning is one of the most difficult aspects of navigating the financial planning process. Among other complexities, no one likes to face the possibility that they will one day no longer be alive. Estate planning, however, is a critical process if you want to make sure that your assets are divided in the manner that you desire. MISTAKE: Not Estate Planning at All One of the most widespread problems with estate planning is that some people fail to engage in the process at all. There are various reasons why people decide not to engage in estate planning, such as the process’s complexity, a desire to avoid confronting mortality, and assuming that estate planning is unnecessary. In reality, most people can benefit from at least some type of estate planning.  MISTAKE: Believing You Do Not Have Enough Assets Many people fall into the trap of thinking that estate planning is only for people with a large number of assets. While it is true that some estate planning strategies should only be utilized by those with the largest estates, mostly all people can benefit from creating an estate plan. If a person does nothing else, writing a will is one method [...]

2021-08-26T20:35:43+00:00Tags: |