Do You Really Need A Lawyer for Estate Planning?

We live in a time when doing it yourself is extremely popular. Entire television channels have cropped up around it. My wife comes up with all sorts of ideas from something called Pinterest. I have personally gone to YouTube for tutorials on clothes dryer and car repairs (I even sort of did them right!). And … Read more

Always Have a Backup: Planning for Contingencies In Your Estate Plan

If you have a backup of your hard drive or a portable generator for emergencies, you know the value of a backup. Most of the time, Plan A works just fine. However, sometimes Plan A fails, and when that happens, a backup is important. In your estate plan, this same thing is true. I recommend … Read more

Talking to Your Spouse About Estate Planning

I see a lot of married couples in my practice, and I’ve noticed that usually one of the spouses is more interested in the process than the other. That’s okay–I don’t expect both spouses to be fascinated by estate planning–but I think that the process works best when both spouses participate. If you’re interested in … Read more

Asset Protection Using a Spendthrift Trust or Discretionary Trust

For many people, an important part of estate planning is protecting the assets of the estate for the estate’s beneficiaries. If your beneficiaries have creditors, or if they could wind up with creditors down the road, asset protection should be of some concern. Odds are, you probably know someone who has a lot of debt. The … Read more

Estate Planning to Minimize Family Conflicts

Last month, LearnVest author Kristin Appenbrink wrote about estate planning and family friction in For the Love of Family: 6 Tales of Estate Planning Gone Wrong. It’s a good read, and it brings up the question of how we can plan estates to help minimize family tensions when a family member dies. Of course, we can’t … Read more

Should You Avoid Leaving Your IRA to Beneficiaries Who Are Considering Bankruptcy?

The short answer: possibly, depending on where your beneficiaries are located. Over the summer, the U.S. Supreme Court took on the question of whether or not an inherited IRA is exempt from a debtor’s bankruptcy estate in Clark v. Rameker. The Supreme Court held–unanimously–that an inherited IRA is not exempt from a debtor’s bankruptcy estate, … Read more

Estate Planning and Pets: Are Pet Trusts Right for Your Pet?

Usually, we outlive our pets, unless you happen to have a giant tortoise. Sometimes, however, we don’t, and that can lead to situations where animals don’t get care after their owners die (link has an automatically-playing video, sorry) or some other event separates us from our pets. One solution to that problem is creating a … Read more