All in Estate Planning

How to protect assets for kids with financial issues.

There are many reasons why parents may want to consider protecting their kids’ inheritance for them in an asset protection trust. Some of these include: They are bad with money; they are disabled and depend on government programs; they have creditor issues or face bankruptcy; they have lawsuits against them; or they are in high-risk professions for being sued. As you can see, the reasons can range from negative behaviors, to things beyond their control, to having achieved some level of success.

What if your spouse remarries after you die?

One of the things that couples should consider when doing their estate planning is: What happens to my assets if my surviving spouse remarries? Many people worry that their assets will eventually go to their surviving spouse’s new partner, rather than the kids, and they are right to worry. That is how things end up most of the time. But there are some ways that you can plan to avoid that happening, if this is a concern that you have.

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.