How to protect your assets from divorces and creditors: Lessons from 'Big Little Lies'

I have been watching an HBO show called Big Little Lies, which is a fantastic show, but also has some lessons on estate planning. [Spoilers!] In a recent situation this season, a character named Renata (on the left in the photo above) learns that her husband is in trouble for insider trading, and that because of the way they own their assets as a married couple in the state they live in (California), everything they have is at risk and they must declare bankruptcy and sell off everything that the bankruptcy trustee tells them to sell—their home, Renata’s wedding ring, everything. To make matters worse, Renata finds out at the bankruptcy hearing that her husband has been procuring sexual favors from the nanny and promising her additional compensation for her services. This is all a huge blow to Renata, who came from a poor background, worked for everything she built, and is now having everything taken away due to her husband’s actions.

What to do if you get a substantial increase in income or net worth.

From time to time, I get a call from an old or prospective client who wants to know what to do now that they have run into a lot of money, either through receiving higher income or through receiving a large lump sum due to inheritance, lawsuit win, or other event. There are several key areas to keep in mind, but the overall rule is to call your estate planning lawyer and accountant right away.

Why do I need a Revocable Living Trust?

Everyone who has any assets (like a home or a retirement account or a business) has probably heard about Revocable Livings Trusts and wondered whether they need to set one up. At my office in Portland, Oregon, the main estate planning tool that I use to help my clients is a Revocable Living Trust. There are many reasons why so many of my clients choose to plan their estates with a Revocable Living Trust, rather than with a Will-based plan. Here are some of those reasons.

5 Lessons for Parents to Learn from Aretha Franklin's Estate

As we all know, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, died last August, and appeared to have died without an estate plan in place to determine the distribution of her $25 million estate. Her estate was back in the news recently because her son filed to take over as executor after three handwritten wills were found. Of course, we all wonder why rich people so frequently die without a proper estate plan in place, but there are lessons here for regular people like you and me, as well. Here are a few that popped up for me just reading the recent news.

The #1 Thing You Are Putting Off: Estate Planning [Do the Damn Thing podcast, with guest Candice Aiston]

Candice was interviewed on the Do the Damn Thing podcast to talk about the #1 thing that the podcast listeners reported that they were putting off: Estate Planning.

On the episode, Candice talks about the 3 documents that everyone over 18 should have in place, the additional documents that all parents should have in place, whether you should DIY your estate plan, why people put off estate planning, how to get started on estate planning, and so much more.