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Latest Blog Posts

3 Tips for Overwhelmed Executors

Posted on: December 9th, 2016
While it is an honor to be named as an executor of a will or estate, it can also be a sobering and daunting responsibility. Being a personal representative requires a high level of organization, foresight, and attention to detail to meet all responsibilities and ensure that all beneficiaries receive the assets to which they are entitled. If you’ve found yourself in the position of “overwhelmed executor,” here are some tips to lighten the load. ...

Did you include your grandchildren in your will? 5 Tips to Avoid Common Problems

Posted on: December 2nd, 2016
As we build wealth, we naturally desire to pass that financial stability to our offspring. With the grandkids, especially, we often share a special bond that makes us want to provide well for their future. However, that bond can turn into a weakness if proper precautions aren’t set in place. If you’re planning to include the grandchildren in your will, here are five potential dangers to watch for, and ways you can avoid them....

5 Mistakes Made by Successor Trustees (and How to Prevent Them)

Posted on: November 25th, 2016
When establishing a trust, you need to give serious thought to choosing your successor trustee—the person who will administer your trust once you’re no longer able to do so...

Your Estate Planning Binder: Tips for Proper Care and Maintenance

Posted on: November 18th, 2016
You finally crossed “getting your estate plan done” off your list, and you’ve (rightly) breathed a huge sigh of relief. By tackling this challenge, you’ve not only established protections for your loved ones and legacy, but you’ve also freed up some important “mental space” that had previously been preoccupied...

3 Celebrity Probate Disasters and Lessons to Learn from Them

Posted on: November 11th, 2016
With all the wealth accumulated by the rich and famous, one would assume that celebrities would take steps to protect their estates once they pass on. But think again: Some of the world’s richest and most famous people have passed away without a will or a trust, while others have made mistakes that tied their fortunes and heirs up for years in court. Let’s look at three high-profile celebrity probate disasters and discover what lessons we can learn from them. ...

5 Things Every New Parent Needs to Know About Wills

Posted on: November 4th, 2016
As a new parent, you naturally want to ensure your new baby’s future in every way. For many new parents, infancy is a time for celebrating new life, and making a will is the last thing on their minds. For others, the process of bringing new life into the world sparks intense feelings of wanting control and needing organization. Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, you might be struggling to figure out what steps you need to take to protect your children’s future should the unthinkable happen. Here are five key things every new parent should know about wills. ...

Want to Give the Kids an Early Inheritance? 4 Things to Consider

Posted on: September 19th, 2016
If you’re thinking about giving your children their inheritance early, you’re not alone. A recent Merrill Lynch study suggests that these days, nearly two-thirds of people over the age of 50 would rather pass their assets to the children early than make them wait until the will is read. It can be especially satisfying to fund our children’s dreams while we’re alive to enjoy them, and there’s no real financial penalty for doing so, provided that you structure the arrangement correctly. Here are four important factors to take into account when planning to give an early inheritance....

What Sumner Redstone's Estate Planning Challenges Can Teach Us

Posted on: August 25th, 2016
Media mogul Sumner Redstone – owner of CBS and Viacom, among other holdings – allegedly created quite an estate planning mess, according to a recent report in the New York Times. A June 2nd article reports that “with a fortune estimated at over $5 billion, Sumner M. Redstone could afford the best estate planning that money could buy. What he ended up with is a mess — no matter the outcome of the welter of lawsuits swirling around him.”...

Stress Test Your Estate Plan

Posted on: August 19th, 2016
So you’ve done the hard work of establishing an estate plan. Good on you, as they say across the Pond. However, you still have serious work to do to ensure that the strategy you’ve selected will maximize your peace of mind and protect your legacy....

What These 4 Famous Estate Planning Debacles Can Tell You About Proper Planning

Posted on: August 12th, 2016
Are you failing your family the way these 4 celebrities failed theirs? These four celebrity estate planning fiascoes offer lessons about how to handle your own planning and legacies. ...

Your Cyber Legacy: 3 Tips for Your Digital Assets

Posted on: August 5th, 2016
There’s an entire category of commonly-overlooked legacy to consider – digital assets. Don’t worry if you didn’t consider these assets when made your will or trust – it’s surprisingly common and, luckily, easy to correct....

How Will Brexit Impact Your Financial Planning?

Posted on: July 29th, 2016
Market volatility is a constant in our modern world. But so-called Black Swan events sometimes take the concept of volatility to the next level. On June 23, voters in the U.K. passed a referendum supporting the idea that Britain should leave the European Union. Known as “Brexit” for short, this surprising political outcome instantly plunged international markets into crisis, and the British pound took a beating....

Is Your Estate Plan as Stale as Last Week’s Ham Sandwich? 5 Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan

Posted on: July 22nd, 2016
Estate plans are almost magical: they allow you to maintain control of your assets, yet protect you should you become incapacitated. They take care of your family and pets. And, if carefully crafted, they reduce fees, taxes, stress, and time delays. Estate plans can even keep your family and financial affairs private. But one thing estate plans can’t do is update themselves....

Updating Your Revocable Trust: How Many “Tweaks” Are Too Many?

Posted on: July 15th, 2016
If your life or the law has changed since you signed your trust, it needs to be updated. Updates can be made by way of an amendment - or - a complete restatement. An amendment updates a specific part of the trust; whereas, a restatement, updates the entire trust. You might think that an amendment would cost less than a restatement, but that’s not necessarily true. Let’s chat about which is best for you....

How Often Do You Update Your Estate Plan? More Often Than Your Resume?

Posted on: July 8th, 2016
A resume is a “snapshot” of your experience, skill set, and education which provides prospective employers insight into who you are and how you will perform. Imagine not updating that resume for 5, 10, or even 15 years. Would it accurately reflect who you are? Would it do what you want it to do? Likely not. Estate plans are similar in that they need to be updated on a regular basis to reflect changes in your life so they can do what you want them to do. Outdated estate plans - like outdated resumes - simply don’t work. ...

Wondering Whether You Need to Update Your Estate Plan? Yes, You Do and Here’s Why

Posted on: July 1st, 2016
Please allow us to be frank. It’s unrealistic to think that a piece of paper you draft, reflecting your life at a certain time, will work when your life has completely changed some years later. We’ll use the Kendrick family as an example....

Prince’s Sad and Incredibly Expensive Mistake! (Are You Making It, Too?)

Posted on: June 9th, 2016
The news of the unexpected death of music legend Prince, age 57, shocked the world and touched off stirring tributes from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, the Harlem Gospel Choir and the cast of Saturday Night Live. Prince left a profound, indelible mark as an artist – when asked what it was like to be the greatest guitar player alive, for instance, Eric Clapton famously responded: “I don’t know. Ask Prince.” Tragically, though, for all his talent, Prince made a simple error that is creating huge complications for his family....

Will Your Revocable Living Trust Avoid Probate? It Depends.

Posted on: June 3rd, 2016
If you’ve set up a Revocable Living Trust, congratulations! You’re definitely on the right track. But…you’re only half way there. Many believe because they took the time to create a Trust, their estate will automatically avoid probate. Unfortunately, this is a false sense of security....

5 Reasons to Protect Your Retirement Accounts Now

Posted on: May 27th, 2016
During your lifetime, your retirement account has asset protection, but as soon as you pass that account to a loved one, that protection evaporates. This means one lawsuit and POOF! Your life long, hard earned savings could be gone....

Are Handwritten Intentions Enforceable? Princess Diana Thought So…

Posted on: May 24th, 2016
Princess Diana of Wales was one of the world’s most loved celebrities – and one of the richest. Her tragic death in 1997 was world news. The majority of her estate, reportedly worth $40 million at the time of her death, was divided between Prince William and Prince Harry in her estate plan....

Dispelling the Top 3 Estate Planning Myths

Posted on: May 13th, 2016
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....

Don’t Leave Your Trust Unguarded: 6 Key Ways a Trust Protector Can Help You

Posted on: May 7th, 2016
Trust protectors are a fairly new and commonly used protection in the United States. In short, a trust protector is someone who serves as an appointed authority over a trust that will be in effect for a long period of time. Trust protectors ensure that trustees: maintain the integrity of the trust, make solid distribution and investment decisions, and adapt the trust to changes in law and circumstance. ...

3 Examples of When an Irrevocable Trust Can – and Should – Be Modified

Posted on: April 29th, 2016
Did you know that irrevocable trusts can be modified? If you didn’t, you’re not alone. The name lends itself to that very belief. However, the truth is that changes in the law, family, trustees, and finances sometimes frustrate the trust maker’s original intent. Or, sometimes, an error in the trust document itself is identified. When this happens, it’s wise to consider trust modification, even if that trust is irrevocable....

The Perils of Promises...Marlon Brando’s Story

Posted on: April 22nd, 2016
Legendary Oscar-winning actor Marlon Brando left the bulk of his estate (worth approximately $26 million) to his producer and other associates. Brando created a valid last will and testament. However, he did not include his longtime housekeeper Angela Borlaza – who later sued alleging that Brando promised that she would inherit a home from him when he died. ...

HELP! This Probate Is Taking Forever!!!

Posted on: April 15th, 2016
After a loved one dies, her estate must be settled. While most people want the settlement process to be done ASAP, probate can take between 18 and 24 months. Yes, you heard that right. The time delays create unnecessary stress....

Sonny Bono’s Procrastination in Creating a Will Led to Years of Estate Battles

Posted on: April 8th, 2016
Sonny Bono, the singer, songwriter, restauranteur, and former Congressman, died in a tragic ski accident in 1998 at the age of 62. His net worth was just under $2 million at the time of his death, yet Bono did not have a will. Apparently, he meant to have one drawn up, but simply never got around to it. Sadly, his fourth wife and surviving spouse, former Representative Mary Bono, spent years battling to be the executor of his estate. She also faced lawsuits filed by anyone and everyone who wanted a piece of the pie – some of whom you wouldn’t believe... ...

5 Reasons to Protect Your Retirement Accounts Now

Posted on: April 1st, 2016
During your lifetime, your retirement account has asset protection, but as soon as you pass that account to a loved one, that protection evaporates. This means one lawsuit and POOF! Your life long, hard earned savings could be gone. Fortunately, there is an answer. A special trust called a “Standalone Retirement Trust” (SRT) can protect inherited assets from your beneficiaries’ creditors. We’ll show you what we mean....

Our 2015 Charitable Gift Contribution

Posted on: January 26th, 2016
Breaking tradition. It’s not something I like to do. Especially one like our charitable gift contest, that’s become so popular over the past 7 years. But this year, the decision to make our donation to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (www.ovarian.org), without holding a contest, was a unanimous one in our office. And like anything that triggers a sudden, profound interest in a particular charity… our reason for gifting to this one was personal ...

Estate Planning Lawyer Advice for Second (or Third) Marriages

Posted on: July 15th, 2014
Estate planning lawyers work with clients at all different stages of life. For example, many couples realize the importance of meeting with an estate planning lawyer before getting married. While things are rarely straight forward (every situation is unique, after all), they can get pretty complicated in cases where one or both of the parties involved has been married before...

Who Would Care For Your Pet If Something Happens To You? Estate Lawyer Answers

Posted on: July 9th, 2014
So many Americans are pet owners, and estate lawyers have various ways of helping their clients to care for these pets. To be honest, it’s pretty common to overlook the potential need to plan for a pet after your death, but it’s something that more and more people are recognizing as an integral part of their own estate planning process...

Learning More about Wills and Trusts Lawyers

Posted on: July 3rd, 2014
People often find themselves procrastinating, even if they know the importance of meeting with a wills and trusts lawyer. The whole subject just seems so complicated, and there are certainly more enjoyable ways to spend one’s time than pondering death and taxes. The fact that things can be really confusing seems to give us all the encouragement we need to just tell ourselves that we’ll take care of the estate planning stuff “later.”...

Reduce stress throughout your day

Posted on: June 30th, 2014
Stress is frequently caused by time pressure—you don’t have enough minutes in the day to do everything you want and need to accomplish. The key to relieving stress in your household is being aware of what’s causing it, and then making some basic adjustments to your schedule...

Should You Create Your Own Wills and Trusts?

Posted on: June 26th, 2014
We live in an incredible age where all kinds of information is right at our fingertips via the Internet. We have more power to learn and do things for ourselves than at any other time in history. This is great for empowerment and building knowledge, but it can occasionally get us into a little trouble...

Reduce your waiting time in the doctor’s office

Posted on: June 20th, 2014
Regular visits to the doctor and dentist are important to maintaining good health, but long waiting times in the office can make your appointment an exercise in frustration. A 2010 study found that the average patient waits 24 minutes to see a doctor, and obviously many of us wait longer even when we arrive at the scheduled appointment time...

Newlyweds: What to do with the cash you receive

Posted on: June 12th, 2014
June is the most popular month for weddings, and that means fancy dresses, cake, and wedding gifts—frequently in the form of cash. Once you’re back from the honeymoon, you may wonder what to do with the financial gifts you’ve received. Consider this advice from The Consumerist website...

Common Myths Estate Planning Lawyers Encounter

Posted on: June 6th, 2014
Estate planning lawyers sometimes feel like they’re fighting an uphill battle. We have seen first-hand just how important a good estate plan is, and we certainly want others to understand why it’s imperative. Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths that estate planning lawyers encounter on a regular basis. Knowing which are true and which are false can save you a lot of difficulty...

Life Lessons and Values: How To Pass Intangible Wealth To Your Kids and Grandkids

Posted on: June 4th, 2014
Statistics show that 69% of parents have not yet named guardians for their minor children. Of those who have made arrangements for guardianship, how many have included a life plan or roadmap, if you will, providing the new guardian with information regarding the life experiences they would like their children to have?...

Honor your father on his special day

Posted on: June 2nd, 2014
Fathers play a special, irreplaceable role in people’s lives. Let yours know that. This Father’s Day, skip the necktie and tell your dad what he really means to you. Some suggestions...

Cut your electric bill in the summer months

Posted on: May 29th, 2014
Summer will be here before you know it, along with the hum of the air conditioner cooling your house while draining money from your wallet. How do you keep your energy bill from skyrocketing? Here are some suggestions...

Understanding the Terminology Your Estate Planning Lawyer Uses

Posted on: May 27th, 2014
When you walk into an estate planning lawyer’s office, you are going to hear some terms that are either completely new to you or that sound like something out of an old movie. It’s a good idea to have some understanding of these terms ahead of time so you don’t spend time doing anything other than what you hired the attorney to do...

Is Probate Such a Terrible Thing?

Posted on: May 21st, 2014
Probate attorneys are well aware of how difficult the process can be for families and friends who are grieving, for those who value privacy, and even for those who need to get an estate closed to pay off debts and take care of other obligations. Day in and day out probate attorneys hear about the downsides of probate...

These nondrug treatments may ease depression

Posted on: May 17th, 2014
Some 16 million Americans suffer from depression. Antidepressant medications can help keep the most serious consequences of the condition under control, but drugs aren’t the only treatment option. Talk with your doctor about these additional approaches to lifting your depression...

Work with an Elder Law Attorney to Plan for Your Grandchildren’s College Education

Posted on: May 15th, 2014
Without a doubt, one of the joys of being an elder law attorney comes from seeing the pride clients have in their grandchildren. They continually tell us how amazing it is to see their children become parents and how much they want to be a part of supporting this next generation of their families. There are a lot of tools that an elder law attorney can help clients leverage to make this a reality, and one of them is the 529 account...

Prenuptial Agreements As Part of Newlywed Planning

Posted on: May 6th, 2014
There are few times in life that are as exciting and full of promise as the period of a wedding and newlywed planning. People know that their wedding day will be one of the most remembered of their lives. While there is certainly stress involved in making so many decisions, there is also an underlying sense of fun...

Win more personal time in your busy life

Posted on: May 4th, 2014
Managing the hectic pace of life is tougher than ever these days, with so many different demands on our time and attention. But you can take a few steps to keep the chaos at bay and win a little more time for yourself and your family by following these tips for enhancing your personal time...

Working with a Probate Attorney to Understand the Steps of the Process

Posted on: April 29th, 2014
Even if someone has a will in place, it’s still quite likely that his or her estate will need to be overseen by a good probate attorney. These professionals understand the incredibly complex process that goes along with closing out someone’s estate after he or she has passed away. Those who have worked with an estate planning lawyer can sometimes avoid probate through the use of tools like revocable living trusts, but if you are in a situation where the estate in question needs to go through the legal process, it makes sense to get a qualified probate attorney on board...

Why You Should Consider Working with A Special Needs Planning Attorney

Posted on: April 24th, 2014
For parents with disabled children, whether minor or adult, it’s a good idea to take the extra step of meeting with special needs planning attorney. This gives you the opportunity to set up the best possible scenario for your child if you are no longer able to provide care for him or her on your own...

Keep your finances in order with these tips

Posted on: April 18th, 2014
Keeping your financial papers in order is essential to managing your money efficiently, but it can be a challenge for a busy person. The few hours you need to get your financial house organized, however, will save you countless hours in the future. Start the right way with these tips...

Talking to Your Parents About Meeting with an Estate Planning Lawyer

Posted on: April 16th, 2014
Folks often put off their estate planning for many reasons. Whether it’s facing your own mortality, or that of your parents, the prospect of needing a will or trust isn’t something that many of us want to think about. The reality, though, is that when we continue to put off the estate planning process, things only tend to get more complicated...

Take the risk: How to stretch out of your comfort zone

Posted on: April 11th, 2014
Playing it safe isn’t the way to get ahead. You’ve got to go out on a limb sometimes—but not so far that you fall off. Take these steps to practice intelligent risk taking...

Business Planning Lawyers Recommend Estate Planning

Posted on: April 9th, 2014
A small business is a part of your identity, not to mention your livelihood. Business planning lawyers look to protect both aspects of this should you die or become incapacitated. Advanced planning is one of the smartest things that you can do to ensure that your small business meets the goals you have for it, whether you are at the helm or not...

Balance work and your family life with the right priorities

Posted on: April 8th, 2014
Are you worn out with trying to succeed at work while wrangling responsibilities at home? Try these ideas for creating strategies to help you balance work and family life...

Let’s Pretend that April 15th Doesn’t Exist!

Posted on: April 1st, 2014
Just as you begin to relax after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it hits you. It’s tax time! The thing is that as unpleasant as it is, people do plan for taxes each year. Whether it is because you are expecting to get a tax refund or out of a sense of obligation, you faithfully file your taxes. But what if I told you that those two critical reasons for doing your taxes are the exact same reasons you should do your estate plan?...

Writing Your Own Obituary | Will Lawyers

Posted on: February 26th, 2014
Working with a will lawyer can bring up some uncomfortable feelings. Those of us in this area of law are very aware of the fact that many people avoid important planning for this very reason. After all, there aren’t a whole lot of people who want to contemplate their own demise, let alone the feelings of those left behind...

War of the machines: Is your smartphone a menace?

Posted on: February 20th, 2014
Computers, tablets, smartphones, and other electronic gadgets make our lives easier in many ways. But can they also endanger your health? Doctors and scientists are increasingly alert to new kinds of illnesses that appear to be connected to our growing addiction to technology. Here are a few syndromes they’re discussing, according to a recent New York Magazine article...

What to Expect from Estate Planning Part III

Posted on: February 19th, 2014
This is the third in a series of articles on what to expect when you work with your estate planning lawyer. Each article will cover several of the topics that you will need to consider to make a plan that works for your needs...

Including Your Service Providers In Your Estate Plan | Will and Trust Lawyers

Posted on: February 13th, 2014
A will and trust lawyer’s job is to make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row so that if you become incapacitated or die, your loved ones will know how to manage your estate and follow your wishes. Laws vary state to state from those found around the country, which is why you want to work with an attorney who is skilled in understanding your specific needs. One area that should be considered is your service providers...

Keep your determination alive and well as you strive

Posted on: February 11th, 2014
Why do we lose the drive to succeed? Without a strong desire to overcome obstacles and reach the top, you won’t get very far. But once that spark is gone, getting it back is difficult. Before you start wondering whether your efforts and dreams are worthwhile, guard against these primary reasons why most people lose their will to succeed...

Having ‘Tough Conversations’ With Mom or Dad for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Awareness Week

Posted on: February 9th, 2014
Many families avoid talking about Alzheimer’s or Dementia until it’s too late. Yet from a legal standpoint, if you don’t know your parents’ wishes or the documentation they have in place, you could be left with a huge mess on your hands in the wake of this debilitating disease...

How to Avoid the Need for a Probate Lawyer

Posted on: February 5th, 2014
If you are dealing with an estate that has to go through the probate process, your smartest move is likely going to be to work with a probate lawyer. There are cases where very simple estates will move through fairly easily, but there is still a matter of paperwork, accounting, etc. to consider; and a probate lawyer can save you an incredible amount of time and hassle...

Get the Health Benefits You Deserve with a Restful Night’s Sleep

Posted on: February 3rd, 2014
Experts say that you spend roughly one-third of your life sleeping. Certainly, you want to make every moment count toward the physical and mental rejuvenation that a good sleep provides! So, how can you enjoy a restful night of slumber? Put these 8 tips into action now to experience some of the best sleep of your life ...

What to Expect from Estate Planning Part II

Posted on: January 29th, 2014
This is the second in a series of articles on what to expect when you work with your will and trust lawyer. Each article will cover several of the topics that you will need to consider to make a plan that works for your needs...

Trust Lawyer Reveals Additional Types of Income to Include in Your Estate Planning

Posted on: January 23rd, 2014
There are some forms of income that obviously need to be discussed with your trust lawyer. When putting together your plan, you’ll want to consider your current employment, retirement plans, bank accounts, and possibly your own business. As you work through the estate planning process, it will be clear that these are all things that need to be considered...

Want to get smarter? Watch what you eat

Posted on: January 20th, 2014
Want to increase your brainpower? Cybernetic implants aren’t the answer (except in science fiction stories), but some foods may actually help your brain work better. No guarantees, but try some of these mental boosters...

Not All Property Can Be Left through a Will

Posted on: January 15th, 2014
With much experience behind them, will lawyers often feel like they’ve “seen it all.” This is good news for clients, because it means that the attorney can help you prepare for situations that you might never have expected otherwise. One surprise that people hear from their estate planning lawyers is that you can’t use your will to pass on all types of property. While it seems like you should just be able to put it all down on paper and be done with it, there are some things that must go through different channels...

Find the right balance in your hectic life

Posted on: January 10th, 2014
The typical family today puts in a lot more hours a year at work than ever before—frequently by working at two or more jobs. So finding a balance between work and life can be complicated. But balance is essential to our well-being. Here are some ways to get on the right track...

Estate Planning Checklist for January

Posted on: January 8th, 2014
In order to ensure that your estate plans still fit your needs, you should review them at the beginning of every year. There are certain life changes that can have a huge overall effect on your estate planning, so taking the time to accommodate those changes now will save a significant amount of difficulty later...

Involve the whole family in your New Year’s resolutions

Posted on: January 2nd, 2014
Making New Year’s resolutions with your family can improve relationships with everyone in your household. Discuss these goals for the upcoming year...

What to Expect from Estate Planning Part I

Posted on: December 31st, 2013
Estate planning lawyers have slightly different approaches when working with clients. These approaches need to be tailored to your personal needs, as well as to the estate planning laws of the state. That said, there are some typical things that you will likely want to cover in your plan, and your lawyer will help you determine which are important for you...

Proactive Planning With a Probate Lawyer Helps To Avoid Will Contests

Posted on: December 26th, 2013
Probate lawyers work with their clients to put together plans that clearly explain what the client wants. At least, that’s the hope. When it comes to the administration of a will, however, there are several instances where a will is contested, often by an adult child of the decedent...

When to Contact a Trust and Estates Lawyer

Posted on: December 18th, 2013
There are times in life when it is obvious that people should start meeting with a trust and estates attorney. For example, it’s more obvious that seniors need to get their estates in order than younger people do. While some situations are more urgent than others, there are actually quite a few indicators that you’re ready to start estate planning with an attorney...

When your parents need extra help, approach with care

Posted on: December 6th, 2013
As your parents grow older, they may need some extra help in their day-to-day lives. Talking to them about their health issues can be difficult, though. Here are a few suggestions for making the conversation a little easier for both of you...

Estate Planning Thoughts for Unmarried Couples

Posted on: November 21st, 2013
Trust lawyers work with unmarried couples to help protect their assets and their partners’ interests should one of them pass away. The way that federal and state laws are set up, it is customary for a spouse to receive assets of an estate through the probate process. Unfortunately, things are far less cut-and-dry when it comes to settling the estate of an unmarried partner...

Stay healthy in your hotel room

Posted on: November 14th, 2013
Even the nicest hotel room can make you sick when you travel. A study from one online travel site found that 20 percent of female travelers come down with some kind of illness when staying at a hotel. Whether you travel for work, or you’re planning a vacation, minimize your risk of catching something by following these guidelines...

How To Plan An Effective Family Meeting

Posted on: November 7th, 2013
If we really want to take care of our families and do the best we can for them, we need to be proactive and discuss our concerns before the worst happens. One of the best ways to do this is with family meetings...

Estate Planning Should Include Your Pets

Posted on: November 5th, 2013
Wills and trust attorneys see a variety of situations both before and after our clients pass away. While family bickering and grief are certainly a darker aspect to what we do, there is another situation that often brings about difficulty. What happens to a pet when you pass away?...

Information to Give the Trustee of Your Estate

Posted on: October 29th, 2013
One of the jobs of a trust lawyer is to help clients choose the person who will be responsible for a trust that has been set up. The trustee has several very important jobs, and things will go smoother if he or she is aware of these responsibilities up front. Here is some good information that should be shared with a trustee in order to administer the trust with as little difficulty as possible when the time comes...

Encourage your kids to apply themselves

Posted on: October 21st, 2013
Parents often grow frustrated trying to convince their youngsters that applying themselves to chores, schoolwork, and other necessary tasks is important. You don’t have to resort to threats or bribery, though. Try some of these tips...

What a Special Needs Planning Attorney Will Do for You

Posted on: October 16th, 2013
Special needs planning attorneys have very specialized knowledge that can help families plan for their children’s future. There are so many things to keep straight when it comes to raising a child with special needs, and focusing on what will happen to him or her after your death is not something that is pleasant to contemplate. Still, it is very important to take the time to meet with a special needs planning attorney in order to give your child the best opportunities...

Stay in balance all life long

Posted on: October 10th, 2013
Staying in shape as you grow older is important to your overall good health. One area that's sometimes overlooked is balance. You don't want to injure yourself by falling over at any age, but as you grow older, your risk of a broken or fractured bone becomes greater, with more consequences....

Can An Inheritance Hurt Your Kids?

Posted on: October 8th, 2013
One of the things that can wake a parent right out of a deep sleep is what will happen to their child if something happens to them. When your kids are small you have the double whammy of deciding who will raise them as well as how they will get along financially. But, the worrying doesn’t stop once the kids are grown. Most parents want to leave an inheritance for their grown children. But if you plan to leave your assets to them, be sure to do it in a way that’s safe, secure and free from the red-tape of probate...

How to Contest a Will

Posted on: October 3rd, 2013
Despite the best efforts of wills and trusts lawyers, there are times when a will is challenged. There can be many reasons why this happens, and it is up to the courts to determine what is appropriate in these situations...

Defuse the cues that tempt you to spend

Posted on: October 2nd, 2013
Most of us have certain "triggers" that that prompt us to spend money without thinking about it. Temptation is everywhere; after all, that's what and marketing are all about. But if you want to take control of your spending, you should learn to recognize your unique cues and stop them in their tracks....

Happy couples have a few secrets

Posted on: September 27th, 2013
Every happy family is alike, as Leo Tolstoy once wrote, and most happy couples have some specific strategies for keeping their relationship going strong. Follow their lead...

Should Facebook Play Into Estate Planning?

Posted on: September 24th, 2013
Estate planning lawyers have always had to keep up with the times, and this is just as true in Massachusetts as it is anywhere else. Oftentimes these changes include things like new legislation, but there are other factors that need to be considered, such as differing lifestyles and advancing technologies. Have you ever stopped to wonder what happens to your Facebook when you die...

Estate Planning for Women

Posted on: September 18th, 2013
Will and trust lawyers recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to estate plans. Every situation is different, and each person needs individualized attention. While there are services that offer cookie-cutter forms that will supposedly allow you to set up a decent plan, there is no comparison to working with an actual estate planning attorney who can work with human understanding to meet your real needs...

Educate your children to be smart with money

Posted on: September 16th, 2013
Try these ideas for teaching them to understand its real value...

Questions for a Probate Attorney: Does All Property Go Through Probate?

Posted on: September 12th, 2013
Probate attorneys are charged with the responsibility of helping a deceased’s loved ones through the probate process. This is the court procedure that closes out a person’s estate when he or she has passed away. If the deceased did not set up a trust, then there is a very high chance that probate will be necessary...

Be ready when you hear ‘The doctor will see you now’

Posted on: September 5th, 2013
You can get the maximum benefit from your appointment with some basic preparations ahead of time...

Estate Planning Tips for New Mothers

Posted on: September 3rd, 2013
When you have a new baby, a visit to the estate planning lawyer isn’t usually very high on your priority list. Really, though, it should be. Estate lawyers are very aware of how your needs shift with the addition of a new little one in the mix...

Why Should You Work with a Special Needs Planning Attorney?

Posted on: August 27th, 2013
Parents of children with special needs face a whole extra set of challenges in addition to those of other parents. On top of physical therapy, occupational therapy, IEPs, and any of a million other details, these parents face additional estate planning needs. That’s where a special needs planning attorney can make a huge difference in these parents’ peace of mind...

What Does a Probate Lawyer Do?

Posted on: August 22nd, 2013
Oftentimes, a person isn’t even aware of what a probate lawyer does until he or she is in need of one. Of course, is a great idea to hire a probate lawyer before you actually “need” his or her services so things can go as smoothly as possible when it comes to taking an estate through the probate process. Unfortunately, that’s not always how it works. It’s very common to go looking for a probate lawyer once a loved one has passed and help is needed immediately...

Prepare your children for the first day of school

Posted on: August 19th, 2013
A young child’s first few days of school can set the tone for a successful year and a lifetime of education. The secret is talking to your child about what to expect so the first day doesn’t come as a shock. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents follow this formula...

Estate Planning and Divorce

Posted on: August 14th, 2013
When a divorce—also called a dissolution of marriage—is imminent, meeting with an estate planning attorney is likely not at the top of anyone’s list of things to do. But, it very well should be. Keep in mind that divorces can take a fairly long time (months or even years) to complete. It makes sense to consider what would become of your assets, or even your physical self, if you should become incapacitated or die before the divorce has been finalized...

Keeping Your Wills and Trusts Updated

Posted on: August 8th, 2013
It’s always a great feeling when a new client meets with a wills and trusts attorney to get started on his or her estate planning. Every day, people recognize the importance of putting a plan into place to prepare for their own futures as well as those of their heirs. Wills and trusts are two very important tools that the client and lawyer can create to protect that future. As important as that initial meeting is, however, there is still a need to follow up regularly to keep your wills and trusts updated and reflective of your current situation...

The heat is on: Don’t overwork yourself in hot temperatures

Posted on: August 5th, 2013
If you’re working outside under the hot August sun, you know that staying cool can be a challenge. It’s vital to your productivity and safety, of course, so take the proper steps to keep the heat from striking you down...

Does Your Credit Card Debt Die When You Do?

Posted on: August 1st, 2013
One of the biggest misconceptions about estate planning is about what happens to their credit card debt when they die. Many people believe that the debt is automatically forgiven. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case...

Who Needs to Consider Trusts for their Children?

Posted on: July 23rd, 2013
There are a lot of reasons to consider setting up trusts for your children, but trust and estates lawyers see far too many cases where this just isn’t done. One of the biggest reasons for not setting up a trust could be that you just don’t think you have enough assets to warrant one. We hear about “trust fund babies” and automatically think of the super wealthy, not regular folks like ourselves...

Guardianship Attorney Advises Couples to Include Frozen Embryos and other Genetic Material

Posted on: July 18th, 2013
When it comes to estate planning, children are one of the biggest reasons that couples turn to a guardianship attorney in the first place. To be fair, though, most of the time, those children have already been born into the world. What happens to the “assets” of couples who have embryos or other genetic material frozen?...

Estate Planning Includes Creating Your Legacy

Posted on: July 10th, 2013
One of the most overlooked aspects of estate planning is the opportunity to create your legacy. Believe it or not, creating a legacy isn’t all about having libraries and hospitals named after you. Instead, there are some more cost-efficient, yet great ways that you can help your family remember your values and beliefs...

Using the “QTIP” Trust as an Estate Planning Tool

Posted on: July 2nd, 2013
The “qualified terminable interest property” (QTIP) Trust is very often used for those who are remarried with children from a previous relationship. The overall goal of this kind of trust is to provide for the current spouse while considering the needs of the children from an earlier relationship. As an added bonus, a QTIP Trust can also help to limit some tax burden...

Safeguard your money when you travel

Posted on: July 1st, 2013
If you’re planning your summer vacation right about now, you’re probably worried about money. How much the trip costs is one issue, but a vacation can be even more expensive if your cash or credit cards get stolen while you’re traveling. Here’s some advice for keeping your funds safe...

Unorthodox Approaches to Stimulate Inspiration

Posted on: June 22nd, 2013
Inspiration has many sources, some of them predictable, others a little more unusual. From the Mental Floss website come these examples of offbeat creative practices by geniuses past and present...

Estate Planning for Retirement

Posted on: June 18th, 2013
Will and trust lawyers encourage individuals of all ages to get involved in their future planning. The truth is, though, many people put this important process off until later in life. For some people, an upcoming retirement is the trigger that makes them start to think about the importance of estate planning...

Estate Planning for Single Parents

Posted on: June 13th, 2013
Single parents tend to work hard for their children, so it’s no wonder that they want to protect the children they would leave behind should the adult be killed or become incapacitated. Every day it falls to the single parent to provide just about everything for his or her children, and with 13 million single parent households in the US, there are a whole lot of folks doing their best to provide everything their children need today. Working with a guardianship lawyer is the right step to make sure they are also provided for in the future...

3 Legal Documents Every Graduating Senior Needs in Order to Ensure Parents Can Act On Their Behalf in Case of An Emergency

Posted on: June 4th, 2013
It’s graduation time, which means your “baby” is all grown up and preparing to head out into the real world. But before your child (or grandchild!) packs up for summer vacation or even their first semester of college, it’s important to think about a few life changes now that he or she is an “adult” in the eyes of the law...

Who Really Needs a Business Lawyer?

Posted on: May 14th, 2013
To the average person, the term “business lawyer” or “corporate lawyer” may sound like something that only exists on Wall Street. In reality, though, nearly every business can and should use the services of a good business lawyer. This means large and small businesses alike...

Strengthen Your Memory For The Long Haul

Posted on: May 7th, 2013
Ever had a great idea that you forgot almost right away? Most of us have, and it can happen more often as we grow older. You can keep your memory strong at any age by following a few basic tips...

In a Hurry? Get More Out of Life by Slowing Down

Posted on: May 3rd, 2013
If you were to make a list of everything you want to complete this week, it would likely be even longer than you’d anticipate. The cold, hard fact is that life is one busy ride. To get more done, you’re inclined to rush things. And when you’re always in a hurry, you probably give up on striving for a calmer, more satisfying existence. Lucky for you, even with your busy life, there are some solutions to slow your pace ...

Lexington Lawyer Explains How To Tackle Estate Planning When You Live in Two States

Posted on: April 9th, 2013
Being able to split your time between two or more places you love is a much-desired retirement dream for many people. A great example are those folks referred to as “snowbirds” who live farther north in the US during the summer and then head back to the warmer southern states for the winter. That allows folks to enjoy our gorgeous Massachusetts summers while still keeping warm all winter long...

Estate Planning for College Graduates in Massachusetts

Posted on: April 4th, 2013
By the time you earn your college degree, you may not feel like you have anything to “protect” through estate planning. After all, the stereotype of the “starving college student” got started for a reason! But, even if you leave college with a load of student loans and an entry-level job (or hopes of one), you will do yourself a favor by spending just a little time doing some basic estate planning...

Heart Health: It’s Never Too Late

Posted on: March 28th, 2013
You can’t do your best on the job—or anywhere else—if your heart isn’t healthy. Heart disease is a dangerous condition, and even a mild heart attack can slow you down and have a negative impact on your lifestyle and workplace productivity. Fortunately, avoiding a heart attack isn’t a matter of luck. You can take positive steps to keep your heart in good shape, starting with a combination of exercise and a healthy diet. You don’t have to starve yourself. Just follow these tips to eat your way to better health ...

Trust and Estates Attorney in Lexington Answers, “How Much Do You Need to Save for Retirement?”

Posted on: March 27th, 2013
If you’re like 70% of people in the US who have a retirement plan, you still haven’t worked with a professional such as a trust and estates attorney in Lexington in order to determine how much money you really need to save. A recent study found that only about 30% of this group has actually sat down with a professional to come up with a realistic number. Another 34% has simply guessed at a number that they think might be reasonable...

Figuring Taxes and Gifts into Your Estate Planning

Posted on: March 21st, 2013
There are a lot of important reasons to spend time working with an estate planning lawyer in Lexington. In addition to making sure your wishes are clearly defined and legally valid, there is also the issue of saving your beneficiaries from paying excessive taxes on what they inherit...

Let Reading Help Your Child Thrive

Posted on: March 20th, 2013
What’s the single most important thing parents can do to help their children succeed in life? Encourage them to read. Reading is a skill essential in all areas of achievement. Here are a few tips from the U.S. Department of Education’s website...

Estate Planning Trends Include Travel Trusts

Posted on: March 13th, 2013
Trust lawyers in Massachusetts see how trends come and go in the field, and an interesting new one has been showing up increasingly in the last several years. Those who are creating their wills and trusts are beginning to include their wishes for their survivors to travel more. In order to do so, they are instructing their lawyers to set up trusts specifically for this purpose...

The Key to Success? Avoid These Failure Strategies

Posted on: March 12th, 2013
No one sets out to fail intention¬ally. Still, failure happens—some¬times because of bad luck, but other times from entirely prevent¬able causes. Whatever your career goals or personal objectives are, your chances of avoiding failure will improve if you address these all-too-common errors...

A Lexington Estates Attorney’s Advice Regarding Your Home

Posted on: March 7th, 2013
It is clear to estates attorneys in Massachusetts that the most valuable asset for many local residents is their homes. First of all, there is no way to put a price on the emotional, historical, and personal value of your home. From house shopping to paying the mortgage every month to having a safe place to live during your retirement, no dollar amount can be added up on a calculator. That said, in these time of uncertainty, it’s more critical than ever to make sure the most valuable asset you own stays protected...

Things to Consider When It Comes to Special Needs Planning

Posted on: February 28th, 2013
Families who have members with special needs have a variety of concerns that most of the population do not deal with on a regular basis. Whether you’re traveling to occupational therapy appointments, choosing the most effective medical devices, or contemplating whether to “mainstream” your special needs child, there are so many parts and pieces to keep in mind. For that very reason, you may not have even considered the need to meet with a special needs planning lawyer in Massachusetts...

Making Long-Term Care Insurance a Part of Your Estate Plan in Massachusetts

Posted on: February 19th, 2013
Working with a trust and estates attorney in Massachusetts is an excellent way to prepare for the future and to protect the assets you want to pass on to your loved ones after you’re gone. A qualified lawyer will be able to offer you valuable advice, not only on setting up a will or trust, but also on creating other important documents, such as medical directives and powers of attorney...

Lexington Will Lawyer Offers Essential Estate Planning Considerations for Parents

Posted on: February 13th, 2013
Being a responsible parent is an ongoing labor of love, and things like estate planning can get overlooked in favor of bedtime stories with toddlers, homework reminders for grade schoolers and trying to decide whether or not your teen is responsible enough to drive to school on his own and, and, and… But, working with a will lawyer is something which EVERY responsible parent needs to put on his or her to-do list ...

Estate Planning for Single People in Massachusetts

Posted on: February 5th, 2013
Do single people need a will or trust attorney? Yes! Really, “yes” is the only answer that’s really needed, but we’ll go ahead and create a whole blog post to offer some insight as to why estate planning is important for singles and not just for families...

Advice on Safe Deposit Boxes

Posted on: February 3rd, 2013
Once you’ve gone through the estate planning process, you’ve likely become aware of just what valuables you have. In many cases, such as jewelry, you may want to keep them in your home so you can have access to them whenever you would like. In other cases, though, it makes sense to secure them in a safe deposit box at a bank...

Give The Ultimate Gift Of Love This Valentines Day

Posted on: February 1st, 2013
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and love is in the air! If you are married or in a relationship, it’s likely that one of your “to-do’s” this month includes finding the perfect gift to show the “special someone” in your life just how much you care. But before you hit the closest Tiffany’s or spring for an embarrassing display of roses, may I suggest giving something truly unique and heart-felt this year? ...

The Proper Approach to Trust Administration in Middlesex County

Posted on: January 29th, 2013
There is a certain amount of responsibility that goes along with wills or trust administration in Middlesex County. For this reason, it is vital to choose someone very trustworthy to take on this important role. While some individuals will likely see it as an honor to be chosen, it can also be quite a burden, so it is highly recommended that the potential trustee be contacted in advance and asked if he or she is willing and able to take on the role...

Ask a Lexington Trust Attorney: How Good is Your Living Will?

Posted on: January 24th, 2013
One of the many documents a trust attorney in the Lexington area will encourage clients to put together is a living will. These documents have been considered incredibly important in both the legal and medical fields for 40+ years. A living will provides you with the opportunity to make your medical wishes known should you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions at the time. A living will often considers things like whether or not you want to be on life support and how you feel about doctors taking “extraordinary” measures to prolong your life...

Advice on Safe Deposit Boxes from a Lexington Probate Lawyer

Posted on: January 16th, 2013
Once you’ve gone through your estate planning, you’ve likely become aware of just what valuables you have. In many cases, such as jewelry, you may want to keep them in your home so you can have access to them whenever you would like. In other cases, though, it makes sense to secure them in a safe deposit box at a bank...

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012

Posted on: January 15th, 2013
As you probably know, Congress avoided the so-called fiscal cliff by passing – at the 11th hour – the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the 2012 Tax Act), signed into law by the President on January 2, 2013. The 2012 Tax Act makes several important revisions to the tax code that will affect estate planning for the foreseeable future. What follows is a brief description of some of these revisions – and their impact...

Estate Planning Checklist for January

Posted on: January 8th, 2013
If you’ve already met with your estate planning attorney to put together your wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other long-term plans, then congratulations! You’ve taken a really important step toward being prepared for the future and making things easier on your family and friends should you pass away or become unable to make decisions for yourself...

How To Get Ideas Flowing

Posted on: January 1st, 2013
Some days, ideas pop into your head without any effort at all; other days you probably feel like you’re digging for them at the bottom of a very deep ditch. Don’t get frustrated. Try this approach for generating a fresh concept or two ...

Know Your Child’s Learning Style

Posted on: December 30th, 2012
Learn how your child learns, and you’ll do a better job of helping him or her in school. Education experts say most children (and adults, for that matter) excel with one of these main styles...

Building a Family Legacy: A New Tradition To Start This Year

Posted on: December 28th, 2012
If you have children, what kind of legacy are you leaving for them? Many parents tend to think of life insurance policies, bank accounts and the inheritance they are working so hard to leave behind someday for their kids. But the most valuable legacy you can leave for your children has nothing to do with money...

Five Estate Planning Questions and Their Answers

Posted on: December 19th, 2012
Estate planning, with or without a lawyer, can be a little overwhelming. For an estate planning attorney, there are plenty of questions which come up again and again. Take a look at the list below, and maybe you’ll get some of yours answered...

Estate Planning for Your Small Business

Posted on: December 13th, 2012
When it’s time to start your estate planning process (that time is right now, by the way), entrepreneurs need to remember to take their small businesses into consideration. Whether you own the entire business outright and work for yourself or you simply own a portion of the entity, you will need to leave instructions for your family to follow...

Charitable Giving This Holiday Season and Beyond

Posted on: December 5th, 2012
The holidays are a great time to think about your legacy and giving back to the community around you. Giving provides a sense of personal satisfaction, and it can also be beneficial from a financial and estate planning perspective...

Planning for the Future with a 529 Plan | Lexington Trusts and Estates

Posted on: December 4th, 2012
If you already have children or are making plans to grow your family, it makes sense to consider a 529 plan. These are plans which are set up before your kids even head out to college, allowing you to put money aside for tuition so it will be there when you need it. There are a number of benefits to using this type of program, not the least of which is the possibility of locking in today’s tuition prices. With the ongoing increase in tuition, paying 2012 prices for a plan which might not be cashed in until 2025 makes good financial sense...

Listen to this career advice from the 1 percent

Posted on: December 3rd, 2012
“If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?” is a smart-aleck question to ask, but sometimes the wealthy have useful advice to impart. Here are some words of wisdom from some of the world’s richest people...

Trek the malls: Tips for staying sane during shopping trips

Posted on: December 1st, 2012
The holiday season can be stressful, especially if you’ve got a lot of gifts to buy for friends and family. To stay calm through the ordeal, follow this advice...

The Role of the Personal Representative in Massachusetts

Posted on: November 29th, 2012
The person whom Massachusetts trust and estates attorneys have long referred to as the “executor” has now been given an alternative name when managing your estate. Known as the “personal representative”, this person is appointed by either the person doing the estate planning or by the courts when there was no one named in a will. The personal representative has a very big job of finishing up the decedent’s business, such as taking care of taxes and keeping the bills paid; not to mention the much more commonly recognized job of making sure the decedent’s wishes are followed when it comes to distributing assets...

Revoking a Will in the Estate Planning Process

Posted on: November 21st, 2012
There are many reasons why clients choose to revoke a will. Family circumstances change, financial situations change, even minds get changed. An estate planning or wills and trusts lawyer can help you determine when it is appropriate to revoke a will, as well as what happens next...

Lexington Estate Planning Attorney Offers Advice on How to Choose a Guardian for Your Child

Posted on: November 15th, 2012
One of the most important jobs of an estate planning attorney is to help parents choose the right guardian for their children. This is the person (or people) designated by you to care for your minor children if you should die before they become adults. Working with an estate attorney to choose a guardian gives you a say in the process, rather than turning it over to the courts who may or may not make the same decisions you would...

Elder Care Law Offers Important Strategies for Dementia Patients

Posted on: November 6th, 2012
Elder care lawyers work with families to prepare for any number of situations in the estate planning process. One circumstance which is especially relevant to elder care law is dementia. After all, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are almost exclusively conditions which appear or worsen with age ...

Vacation: Get away without breaking your budget

Posted on: October 31st, 2012
The summer is over, but that doesn’t mean your vacation plans have to go on hiatus. And the good news is you don’t have to spend a fortune to get away from it all for a week or a weekend...

The pursuit of perfection: Is it counterproductive?

Posted on: October 29th, 2012
Creativity can be a messy, sloppy business, full of mistakes, false starts, and changes in direction. You can’t let perfectionism interfere with the process, or you may never finish. Learn to loosen up and let go with this advice...

Sharing Financial and Legal Information with Your Family

Posted on: October 23rd, 2012
Every family has its own approach when it comes to talking about financial and legal information. Lexington will and trust lawyers see everything from very open and transparent situations to those where discussions of money are considered taboo. In reality, families which are at the estate planning phase should be having at least some superficial conversations about these topics, as there is significant information which needs to be shared just to make the estate plan work smoothly...

Lexington Elder Lawyer Perspective: Legal Concerns for Caregivers

Posted on: October 16th, 2012
Elder lawyers in Lexington and Greater Boston work not just with our older clients, but also with their caregivers. In many cases, this means adult children who have or will be given power of attorney, not to mention those who just step up to help when something is needed. There are some legal issues which seem to arise caused by people who see the elderly as targets or victims, and often it is the caregiver who is left to pick up the pieces. A good elder lawyer may be able to help you prepare for, and hopefully avoid, these pitfalls...

How Do You Treat Children Fairly When It Comes to Wills and Trusts?

Posted on: October 9th, 2012
Wills and trusts lawyers in Lexington and the Greater Boston area see just about every circumstance which results from a parent’s death. Some siblings handle the wills and trusts administration gracefully and with dignity, while others turn to squabbling and pettiness. When we work with our clients, they are often very concerned about how to treat their children equally when it comes to setting up their wills and trusts...

Think ‘blue’ to be more creative

Posted on: October 4th, 2012
Some of us feel more creative wearing our favorite green T-shirt or checkered cap, and research suggests that the colors around us actually do influence how well we do certain tasks...

Lexington Estate Planning Attorney Asks: Do You Know How to Manage Your Inheritance?

Posted on: October 2nd, 2012
Receiving an inheritance is both an honor and a responsibility, and estate planning attorneys constantly see individuals who are just not ready to take that on appropriately. Unlike items of sentimental value, such as jewelry or family heirlooms, a financial inheritance was likely meant to be used toward your own monetary goals. The temptation to simply spend away an inheritance as “bonus” money can be strong, but there are a whole lot of very practical means by which to manage the funds for your own future...

Handwriting on the wall: Is email our downfall?

Posted on: October 2nd, 2012
Email, texting, and tweeting all make communication quicker and easier. But some worry that electronic communication tools are eroding our ability to write the old-fashioned way: by hand...

Getting Your ‘Ducks In A Row’ For National Estate Planning Awareness Week

Posted on: September 30th, 2012
October 15th-21st marks National Estate Planning Awareness Week, which is a key reminder of just how important estate planning is for everyone. Whether you are a 20-something new parent just starting out, a wealthy entrepreneur or a senior citizen relying on others for long-term care, estate planning provides a solid legal foundation for protecting your family, your financial security, your wishes and your independence through all of life’s transitions...

Planning Operating Expenses into Your Wills and Trusts Administration in Massachusetts

Posted on: September 26th, 2012
When working with a wills and trusts administration lawyer here in Massachusetts, there are certain things you probably already have in mind. For example, you may want to set up trusts to avoid tax pitfalls or to create a will, which clearly outlines what is to happen to your property upon your death. Many people completely overlook the fact that the estate itself will have operating costs associated with it, and these need to be planned for, as well....

Lexington Wills and Estates Lawyer Answers: “What Happens to a Person’s Debts When They Die?”

Posted on: September 19th, 2012
Mortgages, loans, credit cards, even medical bills…nearly every wills and estates lawyer in Lexington is asked about what happens to a person’s debt when they die. It doesn’t seem quite fair for your descendants to be saddled with your debt, but it also doesn’t seem fair for creditors not to get the money that is owed to them, either....

What Happens If My Heir Dies Before Me In Massachusetts?

Posted on: September 12th, 2012
In the majority of estate plans in Massachusetts, the heirs are pretty clearly outlined. Typically speaking, spouses and children are the most commonly listed heirs. Choosing children as heirs to your inheritance makes sense. After all, most people want their life’s hard work to go toward the betterment of their children’s lives. Due to age differences, children will usually outlive their parents, as well....

Estate Planning for Generation X

Posted on: September 5th, 2012
When you think of Generation X, what comes to mind? Many of us in fondly remember things like flannel shirts, grunge music, and movies like Reality Bites. Our vision of the generation which followed the Baby Boomers is firmly frozen in time. But, Generation X is all grown up now, many with their own kids graduating from high school....

Spark your innovative energies at any age

Posted on: September 2nd, 2012
Innovation and creativity aren’t just for young people. In an interview on the CNN website, Tony Wagner, author of Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World (Scribner), shares this advice on how everyone, regardless of age, can unleash his or her imagination productively...

Secret to longevity: Don't worry, be happy

Posted on: August 31st, 2012
Want to live a good long time? Eating right and getting lots of exercise are essential, but so is the right attitude. At least that's what one study suggests....

Three ways your family can prepare for an emergency during school hours

Posted on: August 29th, 2012
“Do you think a school emergency card is enough to protect your kids if something happens to you during school hours?” This is a question I often ask parents who attend my free workshops on legal planning for minor children. Surprisingly, the majority of the room raises their hand yes. A few parents are undecided. Yet from a legal standpoint, all of them are wrong....

Four More Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Posted on: August 15th, 2012
Here are four more common mistakes in estate planning. If your plan is in place and current, this will serve as more validation that you are on the right track. Feel free to share this information with friends and family members, especially those who may not have a plan in place...

Treating Children Fairly Does Not Necessarily Mean Equally

Posted on: August 1st, 2012
Most parents want to treat their children fairly in their estate planning, and many assume that means having their children inherit equally. But fair does not necessarily mean equal. There may be special circumstances to consider. ...

5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

Posted on: July 16th, 2012
From time to time, it's good to review why having a complete, up-to-date estate plan is so important. In addition to confirming our own actions, it can provide us with valuable information to pass along to friends and family....

Estate Planning After Divorce

Posted on: June 27th, 2012
One area that is often overlooked in the divorce process is the need to update estate planning. Most people would agree that their ex-spouse is the last person they want to inherit their assets when they die'or to have that person make life and death decisions for them. But that is exactly what can happen ' and often does ' when these documents are not updated....

Terry Schiavo. A case for advance directives/living wills.

Posted on: June 4th, 2012
A little over seven years ago, Terry Schiavo passed away, succumbing after her feeding tube was removed as part of a very public legal battle between her husband and parents....

All beneficiaries are not created equal.

Posted on: May 29th, 2012
Some significant assets, including life insurance policies, IRAs, retirement plans, and even bank accounts, allow a beneficiary to be named. These assets are designed to be paid directly to the individual(s) named as beneficiary, outside of probate, upon the owner’s passing. While it’s free and easy, these beneficiary designations are not always cut and dry. There are times when a little extra planning needs to go into preventing possible issues from arising:...

Facebook Founders “Like” Estate Planning Technique for a $200 Million Tax-Free Transfer

Posted on: April 24th, 2012
How do many of rich and famous stay rich and famous? They’re smart with their money. Such is the case with Facebook co-founders (and two of the world’s youngest billionaires) Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz, as well as CEO Sheryl Sandberg. ...

His, Hers and Heirs: Why Blended Families Need Estate Planning

Posted on: April 11th, 2012
Divorce. Remarriage. Stepchildren. Adoption. Like the relatives in Modern Family, many families no longer fit the traditional mold. When you take into account the fact that people are living longer, and often remarrying at later and later ages, the issues of blended families are becoming increasingly multifaceted – which can offer a lot more drama than comedy....

It takes darkness to appreciate the light.

Posted on: April 3rd, 2012
As much as my work can be hectic, complicated – even heartbreaking at times –my clients make it all worthwhile. You see, there are plenty of times when death is not off in the distance; rather it’s on the doorstep, about to enter the room. Is it difficult? Yes. But these are the times when I truly feel that my work makes a difference in people’s lives....

The third certainty.

Posted on: March 26th, 2012
Benjamin Franklin famously said nothing is certain, except death and taxes. But, in my book, there is a third certainty you can always count on happening because it always does—change....

There is no "I" in estate planning.

Posted on: March 22nd, 2012
Recently I had the pleasure of writing a guest post for byallaccounts.com, an online resource for financial advisors, regarding how estate planners and financial advisors can work together more effectively. The link is after the jump....

The Kennedy Legacy: Trusts of Mythological Proportions

Posted on: February 8th, 2012
Much as been written about the Kennedy family with its famous highs and tragic lows. Its patriarch, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., is no exception. Whether you’re a Kennedy family loyalist or not, Democrat or a Republican, one thing is certain: Kennedy was a planner....

Helping others in 2012 with our 2011 Constant Law Group Donation

Posted on: January 13th, 2012
The results for our 2011 year-end charitable donation. Thank you, everyone, for your vote. All of the initiatives are worthy and making the decision based on your opinions made the process of choosing between them a lot easier....

Planning. It’s easier than getting up at 5am to exercise.

Posted on: January 13th, 2012
With the New Year comes new motivation. And this year is no different. As for resolving to create a thoughtful estate plan, it’s a lot easier than you may think. ...

Looking back and forward.

Posted on: December 19th, 2011
In a year when many businesses declined or even folded, we have been fortunate to enjoy the continued growth. Being in such a position makes us extremely grateful. This gratitude is one of the reasons we’ve been making a charitable contribution on behalf of Constant Law Group. But the year-end isn’t just for reflecting on the past, it’s also for looking forward to the future....

Vote for giving: The 2011 Constant Law Group Charitable Donation

Posted on: December 5th, 2011
The year-end is the perfect time to consider making a charitable donation. As we have for the past five years, we would like you to help us choose a recipient just in time for the holidays....

Be a beneficiary of thankfulness.

Posted on: November 22nd, 2011
Thanksgiving is a beloved tradition. No matter how you celebrate it, chances are family, friends, turkey, stuffing (and possibly some candied yams) are near. What a great time to be generous with your gratitude. ...

Flight of the snowbirds: when assets cross state lines.

Posted on: November 10th, 2011
Here in the Northeast it’s getting colder. This means it’s snowbird migration season. But there are estate planning implications to residing in multiple jurisdictions. That is, in addition to leaving the rest us to shovel....

Creating an inheritance advantage for special needs children.

Posted on: October 26th, 2011
There are countless ways in which children with special needs enrich their parents’ lives. Proper estate planning is a great way to help return the favor....

Discover some New Balance in estate planning.

Posted on: October 16th, 2011
Today’s pace in a word? Rushed. Yet despite this truth about daily life, I believe estate planning is a chance to reduce your speed to a more slow and steady rate. It’s a time to really think about what you value and then do something to protect it. ...

Protect adult children from their potential worst enemy: themselves.

Posted on: September 26th, 2011
Whether you’re eighteen or sixty-eight, losing your parents is unimaginably difficult. But just imagine you are the former, barely an adult yet forced into a world of adult responsibilities. ...

Estate plans are a lot like helmets. They can protect the young.

Posted on: September 13th, 2011
Children are our most valuable asset worth protecting. Just ask any parent. It’s don’t-mess-with-mama-bear primal. While some forms of protection are second nature, such as keeping a child away from oncoming traffic and sharp objects, other forms require a lot more forethought, beyond remembering to sign up for next month’s swim lessons. ...

HIPAA treats every college-age kid like an adult. (Whether or not they act like one.)

Posted on: August 22nd, 2011
The vast majority of incoming college freshmen are at least 18-years-old. While you may still be doing their laundry for years, there’s no escaping the fact that, legally, they are adults. ...

Taking care of your web presence and virtual afterlife.

Posted on: August 16th, 2011
Like it or not, we’re all online these days. From stockbrokers to grandmothers. Teachers to toddlers. You name it. It’s no surprise that having a website goes hand in hand with running a business, whether you have 500 or 5 employees. ...

Like an anniversary, estate planning is a celebration of love.

Posted on: July 12th, 2011
When my wife and I married on a beautiful pink beach in Bermuda, I was twenty-five years old with an estate that consisted of, well, not much. Two kids and twenty-one years later, we returned to Bermuda last week to celebrate our anniversary. It was a great family vacation that was also a great time to reflect. ...

Plan like a Founding Father

Posted on: July 1st, 2011
Independence Day is a time for celebrating our Founding Fathers. Not only do we have them to thank for our basic American freedoms (not to mention the parades, BBQs and fireworks), but also there’s one who sets a great example when it comes to thinking about estate planning. His name? George Washington....

Estate Planning and Blended Families

Posted on: June 2nd, 2011
Remember the story of the lovely lady who was bringing up three very lovely girls, all of them had hair of gold, like their mother, the youngest one in curls... and there was the man named Brady who was busy with 3 boys of his own, they were 4 men living all together, yet they were all alone. Then one day when this lady met this fellow and they knew it was more than just a hunch, that this group must somehow form a family and that's the way they became the Brady Bunch? This is the most popular blended family we all recognize. Think about how beautifully everything worked out for them in becoming a blended family. Aside from the typical disagreements among children, it was a picture perfect end result of two families coming together and living in harmony. How great! In fact, if you missed the intro to each show, you would never even know that these children were all from a prior marriage. Unfortunately, in the real world blended families can be a bit more challenging to navigate, especially when it comes to estate planning....

More Celebrity News!

Posted on: May 24th, 2011
Hungry for more celebrity news? Celebrity news in the estate planning world that is. In last week's blog I talked about a few celebrities who had no will and how much turmoil it created. I also shared with you how great of a job Farrah Fawcett did in addressing her son's trust fund. This is such a fascinating topic and so much can be learned from what the rich and famous have or have not done in regard to their estate planning. I would like to share a few other high profile cases that we can learn from and some additional "what not to dos."...

Can't Resist Celebrity News?

Posted on: May 17th, 2011
Admit it, you are standing in line at the grocery store and a story about one of your favorite celebrities is on the cover of a magazine, you just have to take a peek and see the latest on what they are doing. Maybe they are in a new relationship, maybe a divorce, maybe the latest workout plan they implement. People are naturally curious about who is doing what in the celebrity world. Truth be told, even the estate planning or lack thereof for famous people draws attention. But it also provides a huge opportunity to learn from their hard lessons....

Estate Planning and Divorce, Part 2

Posted on: May 16th, 2011
In my previous post about estate planning and divorce I spoke on issues relating to custody and guardianship, re-marriage and beneficiary designations. This week I am going to talk about about the impact of divorce on your Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney, Will and Trust....

Estate Planning and Divorce

Posted on: April 28th, 2011
Divorce is one of the most stressful experiences. It not only disrupts the family of those involved but it also wreaks havoc on their estate plans. This is why it is so critical to revisit one's estate plan following a divorce. Because there are a number of areas to address, I will share information with you in two separate articles with this first one focusing on guardianship and re-marriage issues and beneficiary designations....

Working with a Legacy Advisor

Posted on: April 26th, 2011
How will your life have made an impact? How will you be remembered? What have you accomplished in life? When thinking about your legacy these are just a few questions you begin to explore and that a Legacy Adviser can support you in documenting....

Whose Lives Have Been Touched By Your Life?

Posted on: April 12th, 2011
In a previous post we talk about what your legacy is and the secrets of your life successes. Another valuable question to ask yourself is "Whose lives have I touched and impacted positively?" Of course it is easy to identify family, spouses, children, extended family, friends, and coworkers as those who have been effected by how you live, work, and relate to the world. Who else has been touched by your life?...

The Secrets Of Your Life Success

Posted on: March 30th, 2011
Are you aware of just how much your wisdom, your unique story, is a treasure to those around you? Often, people seek answers from experts in various professions and will possibly attend seminars and workshops on how to be successful in business and life. Just as important, you hold secrets to your life successes that can be vital to the growth and success of your loved ones. Only you have experienced life through your set of eyes, ears, thoughts, feelings, and relationship to the world around you. You have memories, traditions, and lessons from past generations that have contributed to your successes. All of these are true gifts to share with those around you....

It’s a Good Time to Die if You’re Merely Well-off

Posted on: March 23rd, 2011
The estates of wealthy individuals who died in 2010 were not expected to pay any federal estate tax. However, the tax act that took effect in December of last year revived the federal estate tax. For the next two years, the IRS will collect a 35% tax on all estates worth more than $5 million. So while 2010 was good year to die if you were super wealthy, 2011 and 2012 might be good years to die if you’re merely “well-off” – at least from an estate tax perspective. That’s because, beginning January 1, 2013, estates over $1 million would subject to federal estate taxes which can be as high as 55%....

Your Relationship With Money

Posted on: March 18th, 2011
Your relationship with money is very personal and directly relates to a lifetime of experiences. As you move forward in your estate planning are you making it a priority for your advisors to understand exactly what money means to you? Can you see how it can be important for them to know your relationship with money - how you have earned it, the lessons it has tought you, and why you would like it allocated a particular way? Because we all have different experiences with money and a different relationship with it, its imperative your advisors take the time to understand your relationship with money and what it represents for you. Here are some questions that can provide some insight in this area....

Your Virtual Information, part 2

Posted on: February 15th, 2011
In part 1 we talked about some of the important information we keep only in the virtual world ... Now I would like to share with you some of the steps you can take to preserve and protect these assets....

Your Virtual Information, part 1

Posted on: February 9th, 2011
Many of us have online photo albums of our children, grandchildren, and loves ones so we can easily access them at all times and share them with each other. These are memories and personal moments captured on camera that can not be replaced. Many of us have our albums online and not necessarily printed in paper forms. And if no one has access to this information if you become unable to retrieve them yourself, these albums and memories will never be passed along....

Accessing Your Important Medical Information

Posted on: February 1st, 2011
You have taken the necessary time to carefully plan out your legal and medical plans with the help of your attorney and other advisors. You have all of your documents current and in order, including such things as your Health Care Proxy, HIPAA Authorization, and organ donor form. Congratulations, you have given yourself and your family peace of mind! There is however, one more step I suggest you take ...

The Welfare Of A Beloved Pet

Posted on: January 25th, 2011
Did you know that until just recently the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was one of only 6 states that did not allow residents to include their pets in their will?...

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