Your Estate Planning Playbook

Posted by on Oct 24, 2018 in Legal News |

Football season is the most exciting sports season (to some, that is). Football is a fall American tradition, and the weekends are a great time to tailgate or just stay at home on the couch, eat snacks, and watch the game. Everyone has a favorite team, and, if you’re a fan, you probably know all the stats about your team, including the chances of winning, names of your favorite players, and, if your team isn’t that good, how they need to improve—in your opinion. Post-game talk show analysts pore over the game after it’s done, figuring out what went wrong and what went right. You need to know the game to play the game, and that doesn’t just apply to football. 

Understanding how to plan for your future is of the utmost importance, and, by consulting with an estate planner, you can ensure that you’re totally prepared for anything. While your favorite team might not be able to ensure a win, you can if you plan thoroughly. 

Take Cover!

In football, the offensive line’s job is to cover the quarterback and make sure nobody sacks him. Much in the same way that the O-Line covers the quarterback, your estate plan will cover you and prevent you and your family from a lot of headaches down the road. Your estate plan will protect your family in particular from probate court, which is a time consuming, expensive process that usually leaves everyone pretty unhappy with the way in which the assets are divided. Judges don’t know your family and what you want, so give your family some cover from probate and create an estate plan with the right tools to avoid it.

Who is estate planning for? 

Estate planning is for everyone! Even minors benefit from estate planning through third-party means, as parents often designate guardians for their minor children in the event that something happens to them. College-age kids benefit from estate planning because they are able to designate their parent as power of attorney and lay out any healthcare directives they may have for their medical care. And, of course, older adults benefit from estate planning because it provides a way to make sure your assets are divided the way you want them to be after you pass on. While the documents may differ from person to person, and the benefits may not be the same from person to person, estate planning is still a tool for everyone. 

Different Plays 

Much like how a successful football team has tons of different plays, you should have a lot of tools in your estate planning toolkit. There are documents for just about anything, including assets, your family, guardianship, your medical decisions, and more. Provide coverage for the various areas of your life and livelihood by securing each in the event of your incapacitation or death. 

Make Sure to Keep Your Playbook Updated 

Don’t forget to update and review your estate planning materials every three to five years. Families change. There are marriages, new babies, divorces, deaths, and more that may change your estate plan and give you a new person to add in or someone to take out. You could have all the estate planning safeguards in the world, but if you don’t have it updated to reflect your current family situation, you won’t be happy with the results.

A successful estate planning playbook ensures a win for you, and an estate planning consultation is a great way to prepare for the future. To win the game, you have to know the game, and the different tools that estate planning provides will help you secure your future and your family’s future.

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Breast Cancer Awareness: Take Care of Your Future and Focus on Your Health

Posted by on Oct 12, 2018 in Legal News |

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Bringing attention to this disease is crucial, as it affects millions of women. One in eight women will develop an invasive form of breast cancer at some point in their lives, and a smaller percentage (though still significant) will experience non-invasive breast cancer. This disease affects not just women, but men as well, and the families and friends of those suffering. One of the most important things to do during such a tough time is to keep stress low and focus on your health.

A way to do that is to plan for the future. Psychological research indicates that when you’re stressed or anxious, planning is more difficult. The ability to plan things out is disrupted by the parts of your brain experiencing the stress. The future can seem daunting. However, there is a way to put things in motion now that will greatly ease your mind: estate planning. 

Protecting Your Family 

In order to protect your family, you will want to keep them out of probate court. Your kids and grandkids will not want to go through the experience of probate court, which is time consuming and stressful. Probate court is the process by which a judge divides up your assets after you pass away, focusing first on repaying your creditors and then giving what’s left to your loved ones. Rarely does probate actually divide things up the exact way you would have wanted. In order to protect your family from this arduous process, estate planning tools such as a living trust (a three-party relationship where you transfer title to a trustee who holds it for your beneficiary) and others are available. 

Thinking About Your Kids 

If you have kids, you should definitely consider arranging a guardianship plan for them, just in case. Everyone should have this, whether they’re sick or healthy, as it never hurts to be prepared. Guardianship papers designate a guardian for your kids in the event you are unable to care for them. Choose a guardian for your kids who you feel will take care of their physical and emotional needs while providing a structured day-to-day lifestyle. This intensely personal decision is totally up to you, and you should, of course, think it through carefully and talk to your proposed guardian before executing the papers. 

Power of Attorney Considerations 

A power of attorney is an individual that you trust to make financial or healthcare decisions for you in the event that you cannot make them yourself. This person ensures that your wishes are carried out, and he or she makes sure you’re treated well and not taken advantage of. The power of attorney for finances takes care of your financial decisions while you’re incapacitated, whether it’s deciding what to do with your house, how to pay for medical care, how to pay for your kids’ school, or anything else. The power of attorney for healthcare is also a decision-maker, just with regards to medical decisions. 

Healthcare Directives 

Healthcare directives allow you to tell the hospital what you want ahead of time. You can lay out your specific wishes for doctors and nurses to follow. That way, you get the medical care you need even when you’re unable to communicate. These directives are something you can make while you’re with it and feeling well, which means that they will reflect major decisions that are made when completely aware. 

With estate planning, there are a lot of tools that will help you prepare for the future and whatever it might entail. You don’t have to feel anxious and nervous about where your assets will go if something happens, and this is a good, productive way to ease the stress that you’re carrying so that you can focus on your health. 

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What Assets Should You Protect First? 

Posted by on Oct 3, 2018 in Legal News |

When planning your estate, you’re probably going to feel a little overwhelmed at some point (and that’s why your estate planner is there—to help you!) Sure, in general terms, you might have considered what is and isn’t in your estate, but when you get down to it, you might realize you have way more stuff than you thought you did. This in turn leads to the question of what you should protect first. What assets are so important that they should be the first things you start with in your estate plan? 

Ideally, you want to protect everything, because everything is important in its own way. But you have to start somewhere. Here is a suggested list of what you should start with, in no particular order. Note that some of these aren’t necessarily assets in the traditional sense (i.e. tangible items), but they do deserve a mention. 

Your Home 

First and most obvious, you need to think about your home, if you own one. Think about what you want to have done with your house after you pass on. Do you want it sold? Do you want it to be granted to your relatives? Owning a house is a big responsibility, and it can be expensive. If you want to have your home liquidated, that could be the best option if you’re unsure whether your relatives could financially support home ownership.

Your Business 

This can apply to a business you own or just your assets that you have from work (equipment, stocks, etc.). If you have equipment or a business that you want to keep in the family, you should protect that in your estate plan. You can also include other plans for what you might want done with it, such as sale, transfer of ownership, or something else. 

Family Items 

Everyone has family heirlooms and items that they don’t want to see leave the family. These items are important to your heritage and help future generations understand your origins. Include these valuables in your estate plan and make sure you grant them to someone you know will keep them safe and pass them along, ensuring that the heirlooms are kept in the family. 

Intangible Assets 

You may have stocks and investments that you count among your assets. When you pass away, think about what you want done with them and whether you think it will be more profitable to sell or transfer them. Make sure you grant these intangibles to someone that you know will be able to manage them, particularly if you’re giving away cryptocurrency, which is volatile and, although very popular, hard to handle. 


When creating an estate plan, you want to make sure that your own needs are met in the form of a healthcare directive and power of attorney. These documents ensure that your financial and medical needs will be taken care of according to your specifications should something happen to you to prevent you from making those decisions yourself. 

Your Kids 

If you have minor children, even teenagers, you will want to have some type of plan laid out for guardianship in case something happens to you. Make sure that you select guardians who not only have your overall values, but who will also keep your kids’ day to day life stable and secure. This a big decision, so don’t be afraid to take a lot of time to think about who you would want to raise your kids. 

This quick list of things to think about when estate planning will help you get some idea of what, out of your giant pile of stuff, is important and should stand out. Talk to your estate planner if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need help, as they can assist you in picking out what you absolutely shouldn’t forget to cover, whether you’re writing a living trust, gifting property, or writing a will.


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