Before Your Kids Leave For College

Before Your Kids Leave For College

Make Sure They Sign These Documents

With high school graduation coming up, many parents will soon watch their children become adults (at least in the eyes of the law) and leave home to pursue their education and career goals.

Turning 18, graduating high school, and moving out is a huge accomplishment. And it also comes with some serious responsibilities that probably aren’t at the forefront of their (or your) mind right now. Once your children become legal adults, many areas that were once under your control are now solely up to them.

Here’s the big one: Before they turned 18, you had access to their financial accounts and had the power to make all of their healthcare decisions. After they turn 18, however, you’re no longer able to do either.

Before your kids head out into the world, you should discuss and have them sign the following estate planning documents, so if they become incapacitated, you can easily access their medical records and financial accounts without having to go to court. Signing these documents will ensure that if they ever do need your help and guidance, you’ll have the legal authority to easily provide it.

Ready to Write Your Will?

Ready to Write Your Will?

A last will and testament is the most commonly thought of document when it comes to an estate plan. But, really, it’s a very small part of an integrated plan that ensures your family stays out of Court and out of conflict when something happens to you.

Don’t think you can just write your own Will and that will help your family. Instead, consider the reality that trying to do so could actually create far more trouble for them down the road. They need you to get professional support from someone who can help you look at what you own, who you love, what would happen to you, what you own, and everyone you love, if and when something happens to you.

Planning Pays Off

Planning Pays Off

Planning Pays Off: An Illustrative Look at Carrie Fisher’s Semi-Failed Estate Plan

Whether your estate is modest or movie star worthy, the value of a good estate plan, properly handled, cannot be underestimated. A comprehensive plan can mean the difference between an expensive and unnecessary “time spent in court headache” for your loved ones or an easy “in your lawyer’s office” transition that allows your family time to grieve in peace.

When a high profile celebrity passes away, we can learn a lot about the value of careful planning when using their estate plan as a case study.

Carrie Fisher is one of the celebrities whose proactive, yet faulty, planning gives us an excellent example to illustrate some key points that are important for you to understand for your family.

Even though Carrie Fisher worked with some of the best

Easy Mistakes to Avoid

Easy Mistakes to Avoid

Easy Mistakes to Avoid When Passing Assets to Your Child

Setting up a trust fund for your children can ensure that the money you are leaving behind for them is taken care for them, in the way that you want. But your efforts in completing this important, yet somber task can be ruined by making one of these common mistakes.

It's Time to Audit Your Insurance Policies

It's Time to Audit Your Insurance Policies

IT'S TIME TO AUDIT YOUR INSURANCE POLICIES

After unexpected disasters like Harvey occur, it's smart to take a step back and make sure you have the right kind of insurance and the right amount of insurance. And as your family size grows, there is lots to prepare for and consider. Welcoming a new family member can be a joyous occasion, and requires some planning.

Adding a new family member can affect your finances and create a need for more protections. Reassessing your insurance coverage might not be at the top of your list, but policies should always be audited when changes in your family life occur to ensure your coverage will adequately protect your growing family.

Remember this: insurance says love you to the people you love.

Avoid Business Litigation With These 6 Steps

Avoid Business Litigation With These 6 Steps

Avoid Business Litigation With These 6 Steps

Business litigation is an expensive use of both time and money and should be avoided whenever possible. Even the most favorable of settlements can cost a business months—if not years—of productivity and focus.

To avoid the high costs of litigation, follow these six preventive steps:

Too Young?

Too Young?

Is Your Family “Too Young” to Need an Estate Plan? 

Young families face different estate planning needs and challenges than those who have had a long life behind them. While established families may be concerned about what will happen to their family when they pass on, young, growing families can be more focused on what is happening to their family in the present. And you even may find it hard to justify planning for an “estate” you haven’t yet established!

But here’s the thing … if you have children, or anyone else you care about, you may not have an “estate.” However, you do need estate planning, if you want to ensure your loved ones wouldn’t be stuck in Court and/or conflict, if anything happens to you.

Here are a few estate-planning issues important for young couples to consider as soon as they start a family:

Incorporate Family Values

Incorporate Family Values

How to Incorporate Family Values in Your Estate Planning

Baby boomers know money isn’t the only important aspect of estate planning.

A 2012 study released by the Allianz Life Insurance, Co. showed baby boomers wanted to leave their family more than just financial assets. Researchers found baby boomers identified family values as some of the most important things to pass down to heirs.

Is Your Work Life Balanced?

Is Your Work Life Balanced?

What to do When Your Business is Out of Bounds and Work Starts to Take Over Your Personal Life

In the digital era when you can be reached 24/7 through smartphones and social media, it can be more difficult to set firm boundaries that support your wellbeing and the productivity of your business. When you find yourself frustrated, resentful, or feeling obligated to respond to tweets, FB messages and emails at all hours of the day and night because you “have to”, it’s time to reassess and redefine your business boundaries.

The first step is to get clear about the difference between

Ten Common Money Pits Even Brilliant Entrepreneurs Fall Into

Ten Common Money Pits Even Brilliant Entrepreneurs Fall Into

Ten Common Money Pits Even Brilliant Entrepreneurs Fall Into  

If you’re relying on your top line to grow your wealth, you could be missing out on easy opportunities to save money and improve profits, independent of your revenue.

Many entrepreneurs waste precious time and money by falling prey to these common mistakes. However, there is no need to sacrifice, work harder, or take on new financial risks when they can be easily avoided.

Leaving Without a Plan

Leaving Without a Plan

Prince Didn't Leave a Will & Here's Why You Should

Even after death, celebrities are highly publicized for their mistakes, many of which we make ourselves. Last year, superstar musician Prince died suddenly, leaving no will, and the management of his substantial estate fraught with legal complications and added costs.

It’s easy to assume that the wealthiest among us have all their ducks in a row, but it’s hard to judge someone—even a celebrity—for neglecting something like the creation of a will. Until you stop to seriously think about what will happen

Commit to Your Estate Plan Before Committing to a Trip Away

Commit to Your Estate Plan Before Committing to a Trip Away

If you are planning a vacation, you probably have a lot to prepare for before you get away. Between structuring your itinerary, getting plane tickets or train reservations, and booking hotels, creating an estate plan is probably not something you thought to add to your to-do list. But, think again and consider that now is the time to take action on this vital piece of your legal life planning.

If something were to happen to you while away on vacation, whether an illness, injury or even death, your family would be stuck with a huge mess to clean up.

The Barber family of Southern California is an unfortunate example. 

Estate Planning Essentials for Parents

A comprehensive estate plan can protect the things that matter most. For many, this means their property and their family.

Including provisions for the care of your children in your estate plan is essential for peace of mind. But many parents struggle with including such provisions as naming a legal guardian for their child in their plan. Indeed, even the fictional parents in the popular television sitcom Modern Family struggled with this issue. Jay and Gloria, his new and much younger wife, agonized and argued about who they should name as a legal guardian for their children.

They knew that without proper planning their children were left at risk if something ever happened to them. Without properly naming guardians in a legal document, a judge would make the decision for them. Not ideal, under any circumstances.

(Re)Defining Family

Estate Planning for the Post-Nuclear Family

Blended families, unmarried couples, assistive reproductive technology (ART) and same-sex unions and marriages challenge the traditional concept of “family” as it’s been known for legal purposes up until now.

Significant changes in the way we define family culturally means more families are left without the valuable protection they need, in the event of a death or incapacity of a loved one.

As these legal definitions and our personal situations expand, so do the priorities of the modern estate plan.

No longer is estate planning just for the wealthy, who wish to save money on their taxes; it’s for all of us who want to ensure our legal system recognizes the one’s we love.

For example, if you are in a life partnership