Roots + Wings Legal Podcast, Episode 5: Interview with Financial Counselor Dawn Torres-Gale

Welcome to the Roots + Wings Legal Podcast, hosted by Aiston Law LLC and Portland, Oregon Attorney Candice Aiston. In our 5th episode, we talk with Financial Counselor Dawn Torres-Gale. I surveyed the people in my Facebook group, Portland Smart Planning Parents, about the money and legal issues that keep them up at night. The top two answers were: 1) not enough money to cover a life event such as a layoff or illness; 2) not enough money or unsure if enough money in retirement savings. I asked Dawn if she could provide some guidance in these areas, and we recorded this podcast episode.

Guardian Panel: When you can't decide on one guardian

From time to time, I get a clients who has too tough of a time deciding on who the right guardian for their kids will be. In some scenarios, the best solution for that is a Guardian Panel. A Guardian Panel is a group of people who are named to make a decision together about who the guardian should be and/or where the children should live, at the time that the parents are unable to care for the children any longer. Anyone can use a Guardian Panel in their estate plan, but there are a few specific situations in which it especially makes sense.

Can I just add my adult kids to my deed?

I get this question from time to time: Can I just add my adult kids to my deed so they get my home when I die? And the answer is: It depends. The only way to know if you should do this is to work with a real estate or estate planning lawyer. Not a paralegal. Not an online program. Not your cousin who does criminal law. An actual, real live lawyer who practices in the areas of real estate and/or estate planning, and can advise you on the ramifications of your choices and prepare the deed properly so that you don’t screw everything up.

How much does a simple will cost?

The most common question that I get and that I see online in different forums where people can ask legal questions is, “How much does a simple will cost?” The answer to that is that there is no such thing as a simple will, at least at my office. We create plans that involve a variety of documents based on the client’s needs, and we plan for incapacity as well as death. Another way I could answer that question is to ask: “How much does a conservatorship cost?” or “How much does a probate costs?” or “What is the cost of doing things the wrong way?” These are all risks that you take by approaching estate planning with the attitude that your situation is simple and that your estate plan should be cheap. So if you ask yourself what the costs are of a conservatorship, probate, or worse, screwing up your plan, you’ll see that a “simple will” actually costs thousands of dollars, and maybe even your family’s well being and your own legacy.

How to Get Your Aging Parents to Talk about and Do Their Estate Planning

As a Gen X kid with Baby Boomer parents, I have found that our generations have very different ideas when it comes to talking about death and money. Boomers often seem averse to discussing these matters, for many reasons. Sometimes they think it’s crass for their kids to be asking them about what they’re “getting.” Sometimes they feel shame about discussing money and death. Sometimes they were just raised to believe that discussion about money and death (like religion and politics) is impolite. Whatever the reasons your aging parents might have for being tough to crack when it comes to these discussions, I have some tips on how to get them to talk and do their estate planning.