Adulting: How to prepare for summer travel with estate planning.

Many years ago, I read a story about a family who was in a car wreck while on vacation in another state. The parents were killed, but all of the children survived and since the parents did not have an estate plan, the kids were put through a long, traumatizing court process. They were in foster care for 18 months before the guardian was appointed and could take them home. It was up to the state to approve medical treatments for the kids. Thousands of dollars were spent on legal fees. The youngest child had been 18 months old at the time of the car wreck, and he was three years old when he finally went home with the guardian.

The case really shook me, especially because at the time, my youngest was only two years old, and imagining that scenario was terrifying. It had a huge impact on the way I did planning for my clients. I have always started from facing the worst possible scenarios that could happen, and then planning to avoid any bad legal outcome that we could identify.

Estate Planning Guidelines for Divorce

When you are facing divorce, estate planning is an important part of that. In a perfect world, a divorcing couple will be able to come to some agreements on guardians and other topics involving the kids. If not, parents should still create their own estate plans to reflect their wishes. 

There are a myriad of estate planning goals a divorcing or divorced person might have: to name people you know and trust to make important decisions for you if you are not able to do so; to protect your assets from being lost to remarriage of either party; to protect your assets from being lost to creditors of your ex-spouse or other factors you have no control over; to name guardians in the event both ex-spouses are incapacitated or die; to ensure that if one parent dies or is incapacitated, that person’s family still has visitation with the children. 

5 New Year's Resolutions for Parents

The Holidays are hectic, but it’s always a good idea to pause and make plans for the coming year. If you’re a parent, make 2019 the year that you get your legal and financial house in order.

If you are reading this, you probably feel similarly to the way that I do about parenting: It is serious business, and it is our responsibility to provide the best care possible for our kids and to make sure they are protected and that they have every opportunity to succeed in life. If we can toast to that, I want to share with you 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Parents that you should give to your family. If you have not given these to your family yet, there is no time like the New Year to get started.

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.