Estate Planning Blog

Monday, August 29, 2016

Important Questions to Ask Your Estate Planning Attorney

Hiring an estate planning attorney is often the first opportunity an individual has had to hire an attorney to assist them.  The process can seem overwhelming if one does not know what questions to ask.  Asking the right questions can help you determine if you are hiring the right estate planning attorney for you.  Here are my top five suggestions for questions you should ask:

1.  What proportion of your practice is related to estate planning and estate planning related services?

You may have heard the figure of speech “jack of all trades, master of none” to describe someone who knows a little bit about a lot of different things.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Charitable Giving with Retirement Assets

Frequently clients are interested in making a gift to one or more charities they supported during their lifetime, such as their college, church or synagogue, or a charitable organization where they volunteered their time.  Properly funding the gift is an important parts of a well-developed estate plan.

For clients with retirement benefits, charitable planning also involves discussions about the income tax benefits to using retirement benefits to fund the charitable gift(s).  Using qualified retirement plans and/or individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to fund charitable gifts provide income tax benefits to the donor, while maximizing the other assets available for non-charitable beneficiaries.

If a donor leaves a retirement account to a non-charitable beneficiary, the beneficiary will be responsible for federal income taxes on the distribution (up to the maximum income tax rate).
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Are your Children Heading Off to College?

If you are like most parents with college-bound children, the last thing on your mind is estate planning.  You may be sad to see your baby leave for college, or you may be dismantling their room so you can have your own space.  You may also be lamenting the fact that you have to stalk them on Facebook just to know if they are ok.

But what would you do if your child became incapacitated while he or she was at school?  Now that he or she is 18, you do not have access to their financial accounts unless you are a co-owner.  You may not be able to get access to their medical records (thanks to HIPAA).

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Selecting a Caregiver for your Pet

Last week, I covered some considerations in selecting a guardian for minor children.  For some people, their “children” are of the furry variety, and those “fur babies” will need care when their beloved owners are deceased.  Selecting a caregiver for a beloved pet can present its own challenges.


  1. What is the life span of your pet?  Guardians for minor children typically have an expectancy that the child will be an adult, able to care for himself or herself, at age 18.  Pets require care for their entire lifetime.
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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Considerations in Selecting a Guardian for Your Children

One of the most difficult estate planning decisions people face is selecting the person (or persons) to appoint as guardian of their minor children.  Here are issues to keep in mind as you weigh your options:

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Top 5 Challenges in Estate Planning for Blended Families

Blended families (those where at least one spouse has children from a prior relationship) face challenges in creating estate plans that balance the competing needs and desires of family members.  This guide explains the top challenges blended families face.

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