Do It Now: Name a Guardian for Your Minor Child(ren)

We know it’s hard. Thinking about someone else raising your children stops us all in our tracks. It feels crushing and too horrific to consider. But you must. If you don’t, a stranger will determine who raises your children if something happens to you – your child’s guardian could be a relative you despise or even a stranger you’ve never met. (more…)

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How to Choose a Trustee

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. (more…)

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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. The Successor Trustee plays an important role in the effective execution of your estate plan. (more…)

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The Top 2 Ways the Court Gets Involved in Your Estate, and How to Avoid Them

No one wants unnecessary court involvement in their life. But without careful and proactive estate planning, chances are that some aspect of your estate will end up being decided there.

Here are two of the most common ways court proceedings can make their way into the management and distribution of your assets, along with the estate planning measures you can take to avoid them. (more…)

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AB Trusts – Do You Need to Get Rid of Yours?

Are you married and is the last time you and your spouse updated your estate plan more than a few years ago? Then chances are your estate plan contains good old “AB Trust” planning (also called “Marital and Family Trusts” or “QTIP” and “Bypass Trusts”) which, up until 2011, was the only way for married couples to double the value of their federal estate tax exemptions. All of this changed in 2011 when “portability” of the estate tax exemption between spouses was introduced for the first time. (more…)

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Caution: Your Traditional Asset Protection Plan is Set Up to Fail

You may be surprised to learn that you already have asset protection in place. In fact, you probably have one or more types of traditional asset protection planning in place at this very moment. The problem is it likely won’t be enough to protect you and your family.

What is Asset Protection Planning? (more…)

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The Shocking Truth About Asset Protection Planning

Some view asset protection planning with a skeptical eye. They believe there is a moral obligation to pay one’s debts. They think that asset protection planning is immoral because it prevents a creditor from collecting on a judgment entered by a court. (more…)

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Who Needs an Estate Plan?

If you’re reading this, you need an estate plan. Why? The short answer is “Everyone, age 18 and older needs an estate plan.” It doesn’t matter if you are old or young, if you have built up considerable wealth or if you are just entering adulthood – you need a written plan to keep you in control and to protect yourself and those you love. (more…)

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How to Pick a Trustee, Executor, and Agent Under a Power of Attorney

While the term fiduciary is a legal term with a long 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. (more…)

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