Trusts

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

By |2020-09-17T13:31:30+00:00September 24th, 2020|Categories: Design, ESTATE PLANNING, PROBATE, Trusts, Wills|

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 [...]

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

By |2020-09-21T16:19:50+00:00September 21st, 2020|Categories: Design, ESTATE PLANNING, PROBATE, Trusts, Wills|

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 [...]

Is now the time to remodel your old trust?

By |2020-09-17T20:36:03+00:00September 10th, 2020|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, POA, Trusts, Wills|

There are several reasons why you should update your existing trust or perhaps your entire estate plan. While estate planning documents do not necessarily have a shelf life, they may not fulfill your goals when your circumstances change. Of course, having estate planning documents that are up-to-date is critical, but how do you know when you should make changes? Reasons to Make Changes It is important to note that just because you have a trust in place does not mean you are bound to keep it as is; this is even true if the trust was inherited from someone else. [...]

10 Types of Trusts: A Quick Look

By |2020-09-10T21:12:34+00:00May 1st, 2020|Categories: Design, ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts|

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 [...]

3 Simple Ways to Avoid Probate Costs

By |2020-09-10T19:54:21+00:00April 24th, 2020|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, PROBATE, Trusts, Wills|

The bad news: probated estates are subject to a variety of costs from attorneys, executors, appraisers, accountants, courts, and state law. Depending on the probate's complexity, fees can run into tens of thousands of dollars. The good news: probate costs can be reduced by avoiding probate. It’s really that simple. Here are three simple ways to avoid probate costs by avoiding probate: Name a Beneficiary. The probate process determines who gets what when there is no beneficiary designation. So, naming a beneficiary is the easiest way to avoid probate. Common beneficiary designation assets include: Life insurance Annuities Retirement plans Create [...]

COVID19 and Virtual Estate Planning

By |2020-04-06T19:53:29+00:00April 6th, 2020|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, PROBATE, Trusts, Wills|

These are difficult and uncertain times. Deal with COVID-19, changes in work situation, homeschooling, and Stay-at-Home orders can be stressful and flat-out scary. With the Nations focus now on the our personal and communal health estate planning might not be of the greatest priority to you. Or if it is, you might have questions on how you are going to get it done without actually going to see and meet with an attorney. Remote Planning your Legal Documents We can help you create your estate plan from the comfort of your home. We will set up phone of Zoom meetings [...]

Virtual Estate Planning in the Age of COVID-19

By |2020-04-07T19:44:39+00:00March 18th, 2020|Categories: Design, ESTATE PLANNING, POA, Trusts, Wills|

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 [...]

Estate Planning That Expresses Who You Are – 5 Things to Talk About with Your Family

By |2019-11-07T11:50:34+00:00January 14th, 2020|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, POA, Trusts, Wills|

You intend to pass along your wealth through your estate plan, but what about your wisdom? Ensuring you accomplish both calls for a family meeting to have a conversation about your money, your legacy, and your core principles. Most families lead far-flung and busy lives, meaning the only time they see one another face-to-face is around the dinner table during a handful of major holidays. The estate planning process is a perfect opportunity to bring everyone together outside of those scheduled occasions — even if a child or grandchild has to attend via video chat. happy family having fun [...]

Why Your Estate Planning Project Must Morph into a Process

By |2019-11-07T11:41:50+00:00January 7th, 2020|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, POA, Trusts, Wills|

Many people put their estate plan on their to-do list as a one-time project: “Create estate plan” or “Meeting with lawyer 10:30 a.m. Thursday for estate plan.” Thinking of your estate plan as a single project or task to complete and move off your list is a common approach – but it’s also an approach that can land you in considerable hot water. Here’s why it’s essential to view your estate plan as a process, rather than a project. Process vs. Project: What’s the Difference? A project that takes several steps to complete – like an estate plan – can [...]

‘Till Death Do Us Part, Too: Estate Planning Tips for Commitment Without Marriage

By |2019-11-07T11:31:34+00:00December 31st, 2019|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts, Wills|

Advice columnist Ann Landers once observed that “love is friendship that has caught fire.” If that’s true, there are thousands of ways for that blaze to unfold. For many Americans, such devotion and passion do not need to be neatly formalized as marriage. Tonight being New Years Eve, I am sure some people will change their "status" from single to engaged, dating, or visa versa. I wanted to stop there for a minute and see how our romantic choices affect our estate planning. It is no secret, our cultural norms are shifting, and quickly. Consider the following: Per the U.S. [...]

Your Vacation Checklist

By |2019-09-10T14:24:32+00:00June 12th, 2019|Categories: BUSINESS PLANNING, ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts|Tags: , , , |

You’ve packed sunblock and a beach novel. You’ve planned your itinerary and bought plane tickets. But have you ensured that your estate plan is up to date? Don’t leave home without making sure your financial health and the future of your loved ones is provided for. It’s even more crucial than getting a pet sitter and locking the front door. Creating an Estate Plan If you don’t have an estate plan yet, don’t panic. Now is a great time to connect with a qualified estate planning attorney who can sit down with you and get you started with an appropriate [...]

Wills, Trusts & Dying Intestate: How They Differ

By |2019-09-10T14:24:32+00:00June 4th, 2019|Categories: Design, ESTATE PLANNING, PROBATE, Trusts|Tags: , |

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 [...]

What is an Inheritor’s Trust?

By |2019-09-10T14:24:32+00:00May 28th, 2019|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts|Tags: , , , , |

When it comes to estate planning there are several types of tools you can use, depending on your circumstances. One such estate planning tool is the trust. There are numerous types of trusts aimed at fulfilling different estate planning purposes. If you are anticipating an inheritance, there is a special type of trust designed to help protect it: an inheritor’s trust. Purpose of an Inheritor’s Trust An inheritor’s trust is a trust that has been established for the purpose of receiving a beneficiary’s inheritance in a way that is protected legally and financially. In order to fulfill its intended purpose, [...]

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

By |2019-09-10T14:24:32+00:00April 23rd, 2019|Categories: Design, ESTATE PLANNING, PROBATE, Trusts|Tags: |

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 [...]

5 TRAGIC MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE WHEN LEAVING ASSETS TO THEIR PETS

By |2019-09-10T14:24:33+00:00March 6th, 2019|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts|Tags: |

5 Tragic Mistakes People Make When Leaving Assets to Their Pets A pet trust is an excellent way to make sure your beloved pet will receive proper care after you pass on. The problem, of course, is that you won’t actually be there to see that your wishes are carried out. It’s critical to set up a pet trust correctly to ensure there are no loopholes or unforeseen situations that could make your plans go awry. Here are 5 tragic mistakes people often make when leaving their assets to their pets. 1. Appropriating more than the pet could ever need. [...]

A TRUST FOR FLUFFY OR FIDO? WHY EVERY PET PARENT NEEDS TO CONSIDER A PET TRUST TODAY

By |2019-09-10T14:24:33+00:00August 23rd, 2018|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts|Tags: |

Estate planning is about protecting what’s important to you. Although much of the traditional estate planning conversation focus on surviving spouses, children, grandchildren, many pet parents wonder about what could happen to their “furry children” after their death or if they become incapacitated and unable to care for the pets. Read on if you’ve ever thought, “What will happen to my cat, dog, or other pet if I pass away?” “What if I’m incapacitated and unable to care for them?” Enter the pet trust. This tool is something that can be easily incorporated into a new or existing estate plan [...]

WHO SHOULD BE YOUR SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE?

By |2019-09-10T14:24:33+00:00August 23rd, 2018|Categories: Design, ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts|Tags: , , |

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 [...]

HOW TO CHOOSE A TRUSTEE

By |2019-09-10T14:24:33+00:00August 23rd, 2018|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts|Tags: |

When you establish a trust, you name someone to be the trustee. A trustee does what you do right now with your financial affairs – collect income, pay bills and taxes, save and invest for the future, buy and sell assets, provide for your loved ones, keep accurate records, and generally keep things organized and in good order. The Key Takeaways You can be a trustee of your revocable living trust. If you are married, your spouse can be co-trustee. Most irrevocable trusts do not allow you to be a trustee. Even though you may be allowed to be your [...]

HOW TO PICK A TRUSTEE, EXECUTOR, AND AGENT UNDER A POWER OF ATTORNEY

By |2019-09-10T14:24:34+00:00August 23rd, 2018|Categories: ESTATE PLANNING, POA, Trusts|Tags: , , |

While the term fiduciary is a legal term with a rich history, it very generally means someone who is legally obligated to act in another person’s best interests. Trustees, executors, and agents are all examples of fiduciaries. When you pick trustees, executors, and agents in your estate plan, you’re picking one or more people to make decisions in your and your beneficiaries’ best interests and in accordance with the instructions you leave. Luckily, understanding the basics of what each of these terms means and what to consider when making your choices can make your estate plan work far better. Trustee [...]

PROTECTING YOUR CHILDREN’S INHERITANCE WHEN YOU ARE DIVORCED

By |2019-09-10T14:24:34+00:00August 23rd, 2018|Categories: DIVORCE, ESTATE PLANNING, Trusts|Tags: , |

Consider this story. Beth’s divorce from her husband was recently finalized. Her most valuable assets are her retirement plan at work and her life insurance policy. She updated the beneficiary designations on both to be her two minor children. She did not want her ex-husband to receive the money. Beth passes away one year after her divorce. Her children are still minors, so the retirement plan and insurance company require an adult to be appointed to receive the inheritance Beth left behind. Who does the court presumptively look to serve as the caretaker of this money? Beth’s ex-husband who is [...]

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