“But I don’t have an estate.”
This is a common response I receive when I tell people I am an estate planning attorney. People often give me this response because: (1) they do not want to talk about death and dying, or (2) they do not think they have enough money to consider “estate planning.”
In short, this person is wrong. Everyone has an estate, no matter the size. This is because proper estate planning is not only about what happens to your stuff when you die. Instead, the first goal of any estate plan should be about taking care of you now and in the future, while you are alive.
Estate planning at its core is really about taking care of people.
Continue reading “Planning for Your and Other’s Care”
Elder law is an area of law that includes estate, public benefits, and end-of-life planning. In contrast, estate planning is a narrow area only concerned with protecting and transferring your assets to your beneficiaries and heirs upon your death. Traditional estate planning is based on the misconception that the only issue you need to plan for is what happens to your stuff when you die, and how to avoid paying taxes.
Elder law is more comprehensive. It helps you plan to maintain your independence, puts a protective covering over your assets, helps you access resources to pay for medical care, and minimizes burden on your family and friends. Continue reading “Elder Law Defined”
Over the last several weeks, I have addressed how you can use spring cleaning to help you organize your affairs. The focus has been on gathering documents that your loved ones will needs to make sure you are taken care of during life, but also that your affairs are smoothly taken care of after life. I recommended that you include a copy of your Last Will and/or Trust for your loved one. But, which one is best for you?
This is often the first question a client asks me. What a client often does not understand is the difference between a Last Will and a Trust. Although both often result in passing your property to the next generation, they are very different legal documents, with different purposes, and different mechanisms. Continue reading “Spring Cleaning Your Estate Plan “
I have been writing about how to use this post-tax/spring season to refresh your legal and financial documents so that, when something happens to you, your loved ones have the documents and information they need. When doing spring cleaning, there is inevitably a chore I do not want to do – some deep cleaning, usually with a toothbrush, that is just down right unpleasant. But I do it anyway. Usually because I know it needs to be done to take care of my family. The same is true for gathering documents and information that your loved ones will need after you have passed away. By gathering these things now, you can streamline the process for your family members and friends. In addition to the documents I listed in my last article, here are some additional documents or information your loved ones should have after you’ve passed away:
Continue reading “Spring Cleaning for After Life”
Last time, I talked about using spring cleaning to organize your legal and financial documents to make sure that they are accessible to your trusted family members and friends. This is an excellent time of year to gather certain documents and information in one place so your loved ones have the information they need in order to take care of you, pay your bills, and make informed decisions about your care. Here’s a list of documents or information your loved one should have if you are alive, but not well:
Continue reading “Spring Cleaning for Disability”
With the passing of April 15th, and the beautiful weather finally rolling in, I am suddenly motivated to do some spring cleaning. Now, if you know me, you know how rare it is for me to be motivated to actually clean. But, I have found that this time of year is an excellent time not just to air out the sheets and clean the carpets, but to also go through legal and financial documents to make sure everything is in order.
This type of spring cleaning is not about scrubbing the nooks and crannies of the house, but rather about making sure that your loved ones have the information and documents they need to take care of you, should something happen. The idea is to gather your key documents and information in one accessible place so that your trusted family members and friends have all the information they need to take care of you in the event of an emergency. It can take months for your bills and bank statements to trickle in, especially if they are only produced quarterly or semi-annually. In some cases, they may never come to the house, especially if you have selected to go paperless.
In this situation, it is vital to gather certain documents and information in one place so your loved ones have the information they need in order to take care of you, pay your bills, and make informed decisions about your care. A delay of weeks or months could cause serious problems for you, especially if it is the difference in paying your mortgage. In the next few articles, I’ll go through the types of documents and information you should gather.
Continue reading “Spring Cleaning for Your Loved Ones”