With the start of a new year, we often take time to reflect on the past, look forward to the future, and generally set goals to get our houses in order—whether our physical houses, our fitness houses, or our financial houses. One of those areas in your financial house to look at includes reviewing your beneficiaries. Life insurance policies and your retirement plans—401Ks, IRAs, and annuities—should list beneficiaries. But several questions arise here. Do you have the proper life insurance that you need? (If not, I would be happy to put you in touch with folks who can help!) Do you have a plan for retirement? (Again, if not, I know people and would be pleased to provide you with a few to choose from among.) And if you do have those things, who are your beneficiaries? Are they current? Has your life situation changed? Do you know the effectRead more
The Chicago Tribune carried a great piece in December 2015 about the ability to choose national parks as a final resting place. Many parks allow the scattering of cremation remains, but each park’s rules are different. The National Park Service has a list of the offices that manage each park, and you can find out more about each park’s rules by contacting its office. (The Bureau of Land Management also has a list of frequently-asked questions about scattering ashes on its site, linked above.) Talking to your family about your preferences regarding burial or cremation is important. If you choose cremation, it can also help to talk to family about what to do with your ashes afterwards.
In 2015, NPR aired a segment on issues facing women in retirement. One of the points made is the lack of saving by many women combined with a longer life expectancy. Added to that is a complication of our mobile society: although years ago the children often took care of their parents, the more we all move about in the country, the harder that is to make a reality. Some adult children make up that gap and provide financial support for their parents, supplementing the parents’ lack of income or savings. A trust can often best protect that support. Children supporting their parents is nothing new. But as our society continues to live longer and longer, that support might need to stretch for more time. Careful consideration should be given regarding how to continue that support in the event of the untimely death of the child before the parent. When Children Die FirstRead more
Beginning October 1, Florida parents now are able to designate a person to make health care decisions for their minor children in case the parent is unable to be reached. Additionally, the traditional health care surrogate designation for adults can be amended to allow for decisions to be made without a declaration of incapacity. These updates provide greater flexibility in planning—protecting children and ourselves from needless delays when medical treatment is needed. New Health Care Surrogate Law The new law that affects minors, Section 765.2035 for the Florida Statutes, allows the parents or the legal guardian to name another adult to make medical decisions for the minor. Prior to October 1, 2015, the law specified who was allowed to make decisions for a minor in the absence of the parent, legal guardian, or a power of attorney. Now parents have been given greater leeway in choosing whom they prefer toRead more
Some people say to me, “But I don’t need a will; I don’t have anything.” For a few people, this might apply; those persons might not now have anything in their estates that needs to be handled with a formal plan. One concern, though, is that we cannot foresee how we will die or whether that might have an impact on our estate. Estate planning is just that—planning, which involves not only for the known, but also for the possibilities. A wrongful death accident is one of those unknown possibilities. Paul Walker’s Wrongful Death Action One of the lead news stories this morning shared with the world a private lawsuit: Paul Walker’s sixteen-year-old daughter is pursuing a wrongful death action against Porsche. According to CNN, the suit alleges a lack of safety features on the car that caused or contributed to Walker’s death. Walker, a film star known especially for hisRead more
Estate planning doesn’t involve only things that happen after one’s death. A large part of a solid estate plan involves planning too for incapacity and medical illness. This part of the planning happens with making choices about your medical power of attorney designations or choosing a healthcare surrogate—the person who makes your medical decisions when you cannot. Another aspect of this part of your plan involves choosing, in advance, the type of medical care and intervention you want—or don’t want—if you’re faced with a terminal or end-stage medical condition for end of life care. How to Talk about Incapacity and End of Life Decisions Not only is the planning important, but the conversations surrounding that planning, although uncomfortable for many, are likewise important. If the time comes toward the end of your life when someone else needs to make medical decisions for you due to your incapacity, having had theRead more
It seems like such a simple question, asking how much a will costs, but the truth is, the subject is anything but simple. When someone asks me the question, my answer sounds like the familiar lawyer-speak answer: it depends. But what I should say, and what I want to share here, is that the answer is so because rarely is a will “simple.” More particularly, I don’t consider my work to be about documents but about people. And I think we can all agree that people are anything but simple. The Right Will Depends on Individual Circumstances Okay, so yes, I can provide an answer: my estate planning services, including drafting a will, can run from $500 to over $4,000. Of course, that hardly answers that individual’s question of, “How much?” Such a range is not what someone wants to hear in asking that question. So I revert back toRead more
However you found this site, welcome. Perhaps you follow my site on Facebook or some other social media. Perhaps you’re searching the web for information about estate planning or wills or for insight behind something in the media these days. Perhaps you’re just wandering around my office’s website, trying to get to know me. Whatever brought you here, I’m glad you are here. And I hope to provide some useful information through this forum. About These Pages This webpage is another medium for me to share with you information about estate planning, wills, trusts, and related areas. Sometimes I’ll answer frequent questions about the process of creating an estate plan. Sometimes I’ll opine about the various parts of a plan. Sometimes I’ll link to current media coverage of related topics and share thoughts on that. Sometimes, I hope too to provide some insight into the whys and hows of thisRead more