Will My Heirs Have Hurt Feelings Over My Personal Items? Short Answer: Probably

“The biggest estate-planning mistake is that people think it’s only about the money,” said Marlene Stum, a professor at the University of Minnesota and author of the “Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate?” workbook and website. “When it comes to their personal possessions, they say, ‘It’s just stuff.’ ” In my… Read More

“Only Older People Need Estate Plans”

Français: Enterrement à (Photo credit: Wikipedia) It isn’t a surprise to anyone that those typically motivated to do estate planning are those that have their mortality staring back at them. Examples include clients preparing for travel, life-challenging illnesses or individuals in advancing years. I don’t need to remind anyone that… Read More

“I don’t need an estate plan since I’m unaffected by the estate tax”

While this is a common misconception, I believe it mixes up two ideas, estate planning and estate tax planning. Estate tax planing is actually a small, but important, part of the overall estate planning process. Estate planning is about making sure your estate is in order and passes as you… Read More

Revocable Trusts, and Living Trusts, and Irrevocable Trusts! Oh, My!

But wait, there’s more; there’s Loving Trusts, Family Trusts, Grantor Retained Trusts and many more. Let’s start with revocable vs. irrevocable trusts. These are exactly what they say. The revocable trust can be changed, amended, and even thrown away. The irrevocable trust however rarely can be changed except for very… Read More

Estate Planning Mistaken Belief #3

“Putting my child’s name on an asset avoids probate” This is how the conversation usually goes: “someone told me if I put my child’s name on my bank account, upon my death it goes to that child and I avoid probate.” This particular myth is a real “land mine” waiting… Read More

Estate Planning Mistaken Belief #2

IF I HAVE A WILL, MY FAMILY WILL AVOID PROBATE I am unsure how this mistaken belief ever came about since a Will is almost synonymous with probate. By way of background, using a Will as your primary estate planning document, your estate may be probated. Without a Will, your estate… Read More

Estate Planning Misunderstandings #1

Estate Planning Misunderstanding #1 Estate planning is only for the old. (This is the first in a series of estate planning misunderstandings.) The fact is, if you are an adult, you already have an estate plan. We all do. It was drafted on our behalf by the legislatures of the state… Read More

Estate Planning Can Be Intimidating

We avoid what we don’t know. For many financial, insurance and accounting professionals, they feel they ought to know estate planning better than they think they do. They also feel they should be assisting their clients in getting their estate’s in order but due to the professional’s discomfort with estate… Read More

Question: Does Having a Will Mean You Avoid Probate?

Question: Does Having a Will Mean You Avoid Probate? Answer: No, almost by definition, a Last Will & Testament implies that a probate will be needed to administer the estate. The best way to avoid probate is using a revocable trust. Another way to avoid probate, but sometimes causing more… Read More