Stress Test Your Estate Plan

So you have done the hard work of establishing an estate plan. Good for you! However, you still have serious work to do to ensure that the strategy you have selected will maximize your peace of mind and protect your legacy. Estate plans should be like living, breathing creations that reflect the changes in your life. Your life can and will change due to new births, children getting older, and other shifts in the family; changes to your investment portfolio, career and business; and changes to your health, where you live, and your core values. Likewise, external events, such as [...]

By |2021-09-21T17:14:29+00:00January 14th, 2021|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, Trusts, Wills|0 Comments

Four Types of Gifts Under A Will

Many people believe making a will is something that can be done with ease, and although most estate plans do not need to be complicated, most situations will call for something more than just a simple will. We have set out the legal requirements for making a will in one of our previous blog, which you can read up on here: "Anatomy of a Will". "Simple Wills" refer to a document where someone leaves all their assets to their spouse, that's it, nothing else, nothing fancy. It's like a "here you go" transaction. If however, this is not what you [...]

By |2021-09-21T17:15:55+00:00January 11th, 2021|Categories: Design, Estate Planning|0 Comments

James Brown’s “Vague” Estate Plan Forced Family into Years of Litigation

James Brown, the legendary singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and bandleader was known to many as the “Godfather of Soul.” Although he intended his estimated $100 million estate to provide for all of his children and grandchildren, his intentions were somewhat vague.  This forced his family into years of litigation which ended up in the South Carolina Supreme Court. Everything Seemed In Order… Brown signed his last will and testament in front of Strom Thurmond, Jr. in 2000. Along with the will that bequeathed personal assets such as clothing, cars, and jewelry, Brown created a separate, irrevocable trust which bequeathed [...]

By |2021-09-21T17:14:08+00:00December 26th, 2020|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Just Like You Need a Medical Checkup, Your Estate Plan Needs a Checkup!

Whether or not you currently have estate planning documents, one important item to add to your calendar is getting an estate plan checkup. Don’t Have an Estate Plan? If you don’t already have an estate plan, then getting one in place should be at the top of your to-do list. Why?  Because without an estate plan, you and your property may end up in a court-supervised guardianship if you become incapacitated, and your property and your loved ones may end up in a time-consuming and expensive probate proceedings after you die. Worse yet, if you don’t take the time to [...]

By |2021-09-21T17:15:40+00:00December 18th, 2020|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, Trusts, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Seeing an Estate Planner? Three Key Questions to Ask

Hiring an estate planner is an important decision as you are seeking advice on how to protect your loved ones once you are gone. For this reason, it is critical to hire an attorney with good knowledge of estate planning and how to use the tools available to create the best plan for your particular needs. Be sure to ask questions of the lawyer before deciding whether or not you will hire him or her. Here are three key questions to ask when looking to hire an estate planner. How does the attorney’s estate planning process achieve your goals? Just [...]

By |2021-09-21T17:15:48+00:00December 11th, 2020|Categories: Design, Estate Planning|0 Comments

Four Common Myths about Estate Planning

1) Myth: My spouse can make all of my healthcare and financial decisions because he/she is my spouse. Reality: This is not always the case. To make sure your spouse can indeed make important medical decisions on your behalf, you should sign a durable power of attorney and a medical advance directive. 2) Myth: I’ve told my family how I want my affairs handled after I die. They’ll divide everything the way I want it divided. Reality: Informal discussions about your affairs have no legal enforceability. Even if your immediate family does carry out your wishes, if there is a [...]

By |2021-09-21T17:14:39+00:00December 4th, 2020|Categories: Design, Estate Planning|0 Comments

Integrating Community Property Trust Into Your Estate Planning

A well-crafted estate plan is comprised of many individual parts, and careful, trust-based estate planning is the best way to ensure the highest possible quality of life for you and your loved ones. One way couples can make get the most mileage out of their estate plans is through community property trusts. This is a special type of trust that combines a couple’s jointly acquired assets as community property and can save a significant amount of taxes. Why community property trusts are a great idea The essential benefit of a CPT is that the basis of community-owned property is stepped [...]

By |2021-09-21T17:13:37+00:00November 27th, 2020|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, Trusts|0 Comments

Legal Zoom v. Lawyer: The Risks you NEED to know

LegalZoom, Momma-Bear and other do-it-yourself document preparation services advertise that making a Will is as easy. Although, it does not need to be complicated under the guidance of a knowledgeable lawyer, a DIY approach of filling in blanks on standardized forms, is no easy feat. We all heard the saying: “You get what you pay for!” and with legal planning this is most certainly the case. Companies that try sell you a “fast” and “cheap” fix try to make you believe that their product gives you “peace of mind”, yet there is no such thing. On the surface, things will [...]

By |2021-01-22T13:49:52+00:00September 24th, 2020|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, Trusts, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

10 Types of Trusts: A Quick Look

Considering the myriad of trusts available, creating an estate plan that works can seem daunting.  However, that’s what we, as estate planning attorneys, do every day. We know the laws and will design a plan which addresses your specific situation.  Here’s a look at the basics of ten common trusts to provide a general understanding. There will not be a quiz at the end. All you need to do when we meet is share your goals and insight into your family and financial situation, we’ll design a plan that incorporates the best documents for your situation. Bypass Trusts. Commonly referred [...]

By |2021-01-27T12:29:01+00:00May 1st, 2020|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, Trusts|0 Comments

Dispelling the Top 3 Estate Planning Myths

Like any other complex subject, estate planning has its share of myths and misconceptions.  Understanding the top three estate planning myths will help you to create and maintain a plan that will work the way you expect it to work when it’s needed. Estate Planning Myth #1 – You Don’t Need an Estate Plan Because Your Spouse Will Inherit Everything A common belief is that if you’re married and you don’t have a will or a trust, your spouse will still inherit everything.  Unfortunately this is not always the case.  Who will inherit your estate even if you’re married depends [...]

By |2021-09-13T21:07:50+00:00April 17th, 2020|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, Wills, wwPROBATE|0 Comments

Virtual Estate Planning in the Age of COVID-19

As the New Normal has set in, and the COVID-19 guidelines are making traditional estate planning services impossible, we are still receiving requests by people to do their estate plan. If you are a fellow Texan looking to plan, we can help you. We have been helping people with their online planning for nearly a decade now, and are ready to serve you. Our flat fee simple estate plan package includes: Last Will and Testament Revocable Living Trust (if you choose to have a Trust Based plan) Declaration of Appointment for Guardian of a Child Durable Power of Attorney Medical [...]

By |2020-04-07T19:44:39+00:00March 18th, 2020|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, POA, Trusts, Wills|2 Comments

Wills, Trusts & Dying Intestate: How They Differ

Most people understand that having some sort of an estate plan is a good thing. However, many of us don’t take the steps to have an estate plan prepared because we don’t understand the nuances between wills and trusts – and dying without either. Here’s what will generally happen if you die, intestate (without a will or trust), with a will, and with a trust. For this example, we’re assuming you have children, but no spouse: If you should die intestate, your estate will go through probate and all the world will know what you owned, what you owed, and [...]

By |2021-01-27T11:30:12+00:00June 4th, 2019|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, Trusts, wwPROBATE|Tags: , |0 Comments

Four Reasons Why Estate Planning Isn’t Just for the Top 1 Percent

There is a common misconception that estate plans are only for the ultra-rich - the top 1 percent, 10%, 20%, or some other arbitrary determination of “enough” money.  In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. People at all income and wealth levels can benefit from a comprehensive estate plan. Sadly, many have not sat down to put their legal house in order. According to a 2016 Gallup News Poll more than half of all Americans do not have a will, let alone a comprehensive estate plan. These same results were identified by WealthCounsel in its Estate Planning Awareness [...]

By |2021-09-30T14:41:42+00:00April 23rd, 2019|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, Trusts, wwPROBATE|Tags: |0 Comments

What Estate Planning Awareness Means For You

The third week of October is National Estate Planning Awareness Week (Oct. 15-21, 2018). Estate planning is important for everyone regardless of wealth or family status because if you become incapacity or pass away without an estate plan, you are leaving the distribution of your assets subject to state law – and the results may not be what you want or expect. Estate Planning Explained Estate planning includes the growth, protection, and transfer of a person’s wealth through the creation and maintenance of an estate plan. The concept of estate planning is important and twofold: (1) to have a strategy [...]

By |2021-01-27T11:55:09+00:00October 15th, 2018|Categories: Design, Estate Planning|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Rewarding Your Employees by Giving Them the Business

Retiring from your business can a tough decision.  To ensure that what you have built continues on, there needs to be a plan for succession.  For some people, they have spent years grooming a child or other family member to take over, wanting the business to stay in the family.  Others look to sell to a third party for a quick way out that will also give them a nest egg for their next phase of life.  However, there is a third option–transferring the business to your employees.  If you like the idea of transferring your business to long-time faithful [...]

Are Your Documents Following the Same Script? Basics of Beneficiary Forms and Estate Planning

In the event of your untimely death, the manner in which your beneficiaries — or those people who receive your assets from your estate — are determined is highly dependent on how your property is titled. Generally, property with title includes vehicles, boats, airplanes, real estate, bank accounts, savings bonds, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and stock certificates. If you die without a will or a trust and haven’t used any beneficiary or transfer on death options, state law will determine who inherits property with a title. On the other hand, property without a title, such as jewelry, antiques, art, [...]

By |2021-09-21T17:51:29+00:00August 23rd, 2018|Categories: Design, Estate Planning|Tags: |0 Comments

Who Should be Your Successor Trustee?

If you have a revocable living trust, you probably named yourself as trustee so you can continue to manage your own financial affairs, but eventually, someone will need to step in for you when you are no longer able to act due to incapacity or after your death.  Your successor trustee plays an important role in the effective execution of your estate plan. The Key Takeaways: Because successor trustees have a lot of responsibility, they should be chosen carefully. Successor trustees can be your adult children, other relatives, a trusted friend, or a corporate or professional trustee. Responsibilities of A [...]

By |2021-09-21T17:51:52+00:00August 23rd, 2018|Categories: Design, Estate Planning, Trusts|Tags: , , |0 Comments
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