Estate Planning Myth #10: All Top Ten Lists have Ten Items

May 14, 2014

While there are plenty of other myths I could include in this post, one overarching theme seems to be prevalent throughout: uniqueness. While it may seem like a given estate planning situation is vanilla, working to achieve your specific goals and planning for the various anomalies present in your life is the only way to […]

Estate Planning Myth #9: Trusts? Trusts are for billionaires

May 8, 2014

Sure, billionaires may have trusts for charitable gifting, inter-generational wealth transfer, and asset protection purposes, but for many families, trusts assist in more mundane circumstances, too. They can be useful tools for managing judicial awards or settlements from law suits. Leaving all assets outright to 18 year olds – even if these assets are not […]

Estate Planning Myth #6: I must avoid probate

April 24, 2014

This issue varies significantly based upon where you live. In Minnesota, unlike some other jurisdictions, the probate avoidance opportunity doesn’t always rise to the level of necessity. The benefits of avoiding probate include: not incurring the time delay, avoiding the expense of court filing fees or attorney’s fees for opening the probate and administering the […]

Estate Planning Myth #5: Equal is Fair

April 22, 2014

I have noticed that many clients use the words “equal” and “fair” interchangeably in the discussion around leaving assets (especially to children and grandchildren). Unfortunately, when thinking through the ramifications of equal treatment, it often starts to not look as fair to all takers. One example involves the family business where one of the client’s […]

Estate Planning Myth #4: Anyone can write a simple will

April 16, 2014

This is somewhat correct: I clearly remember reading anomalous cases in law school about concepts like Holographic Wills and whether something as simple as “I leave everything to my wife” is a Will. A gentle reminder: I was reading these stories in a case book, which means these were matters that wound up being litigated. […]

Estate Planning Myth #3: All I need I can find on legal zoom

April 11, 2014

Yes, there are forms out there, and yes, many documents that attorneys draft begin from a template or form. However, consider these two major points for discussion with this myth: first, the law is full of variation from state to state and forms may or may not be drafted with your state’s peculiarities in mind, […]

Estate Planning Myth #2: Death Taxes Only Affect the Super Wealthy

April 8, 2014

One wonderful thing about the first session of the 113th Congress was its efforts to enact a taxing scheme allowing an exemption from estate taxes for those with less than $5 million (indexed to inflation), and making permanent the concept of portability. These codified changes taken together mean that married couples with a combined net […]

Estate Planning Tips for the Sandwich Generation

November 12, 2013

While long proven to be a delectable meal, a sandwich as applied to the “sandwich generation” is significantly less appealing. For many of us, we are facing a time where our parents and our children need us simultaneously – and frequently this is occurring during a period in our professional lives when our employers’ and […]