You're Probably Going to Accidentally Disinherit Your Kids

I have a math problem for you: If 70% of Americans don’t have any estate planning done, and if 50% of marriages end in divorce, and if men statistically remarry 2 years after their spouse dies or they divorce, and if women statistically remarry 5 years after their spouse dies or they divorce, and if most married couples own their property jointly, how likely are parents to accidentally disinherit their kids? I don’t have an exact number for you, but the answer is: VERY likely.

Many parents consider the possibility of protecting their kids’ inheritance from evil family members, but few consider the possibility that their kids may lose their inheritance simply due to a lack of proper planning. In a word: A will is not enough.

Parents: 4 Ways to Ensure That You Leave a Lasting Legacy

Thanksgiving week is such a great time to reflect on family and the legacy we wish to leave for them and for the communities and the world that made this life possible for us.  

A legacy is so personal.  Everyone has different ideas about the kind of legacy they wish to leave.  Some people want their legacy to involve charitable work. Some want their legacy to involve personal achievement, such as writing a book or qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon.  Some people just want to be the best mother, father, or friend that they can be—the bow to their arrows. All of these ideas about what constitutes a legacy are legitimate.

Will My Estate Go through the Probate Court Process?

Probate is a court process that takes place after a person dies. The purpose of the process is to legally transfer assets that are in the deceased person’s name to whomever the beneficiaries of the estate are. In Oregon, your estate will need to go through a probate process if you die owning real property with a market value worth over $200K, and/or if you own personal property worth over $75K. This applies even if you have a will. Your will simply tells the probate court where to direct your assets after you die.

Most people who don’t want their estate to go through probate set up a revocable living trust to hold their assets. That way, when they die (or if they are incapacitated), they don’t actually own any assets that need to be transferred—the trust does, and the trust agreement tells the trustee what to do with the assets.

What You Must Know About Your Parents' Estate Plan

Are you worried about your parents leaving you with a big old mess when they die? You should be! Most people don’t have any estate plan at all, and most of the folks who do have an estate plan have made some sort of error or overlooked something that will make their families’ lives a real pain at some point. The good news is that you can make sure your parents’ estate plan is going to do the job right, by having your own lawyer review the plan. Here are some major things to look out for.