Basic Strategies

These are descriptions and discussions of foundational tools and ancillary documents that should be part of most estate plans.

Interview: Middle-Aged Person Without an Estate Plan

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Let me open by quickly sharing a favorite joke:  “What’s the difference between ignorance and indifference? I don’t know and I don’t care.” If you have thus far avoided creating an estate plan, ignorance and indifference may be two big reasons why.  Read more...

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Last Week in Estate Planning (July 31 to August 6, 2011)

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As stated here, the reason this blog showcases the excellent posts and articles about estate planning is an attempt to make the topic more accessible and less intimidating.  However, it has been suggested that I am linking to far too many sources each week, and that this fact actually works against the original goal.  Read…

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Last Week in Estate Planning (July 17 to July 23, 2011)

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One of my favorite passages in literature comes from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII, by poet John Donne, written in 1624:  Read more...

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“Hey Lawyer, Why Can’t My Will Just Be One Page Long?”

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OK, OK, OK, we’ve been sitting here for almost an hour and you’ve been asking me all kinds of questions about my family and my goals and my situation.  Why do you need all of this information? I need this information so that I can see what is most important to you, and to make…

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Last Week in Estate Planning (July 3 to July 9, 2011)

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In the previous “Last Week in Estate Planning” entries, I placed the “Post of the Week” at the bottom as a way of building suspense.  However, I have been advised that burying the lead in a blog post is perhaps imprudent. So now, the “Post of the Week” goes first, which is especially appropriate given…

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Last Week in Estate Planning (June 26 to July 2, 2011)

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A happy Independence Day to everyone!  I hope your extended weekend is enjoyable, satisfying, and cool.  Hopefully, the following list will help condense the amount of time you spend reading estate planning articles and posts during the holiday. Top Stories of the Week Individual State Developments In Florida:  “New Legislation, Part II”, Jeffrey A. Cramer, Esq.,…

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Common “Pot” Trusts: Why You Shouldn’t Treat Your Children Equally

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If you have minor children, you most likely would want them to be provided for in case something terrible happens to you and your spouse.  How would you split your assets between them? At first glance, your natural tendency is probably to respond, “equally, of course”.  For the most part, we love our children equally,…

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Last Week in Estate Planning (June 17 to June 25, 2011)

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While reviewing last week’s blogs and articles, imagine the fantastic surprise I got when I saw Julie Garber’s recent “Estate Planning Roundup” article on about.com blog commending this blog.  That’s really some compliment — I have always thought her blog is one of the best, especially in terms of timely information and readability.  She has…

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Last Week in Estate Planning (June 10 to June 16, 2011)

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Here are links to the top estate planning stories and developments of last week. By the way, I receive absolutely no financial remuneration from recommending any of the following choices.  I believe this enables me to give an unbiased view of what, IMHO, is the best in topical and quality work from estate planning colleagues…

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Abatement 101: Which Beneficiaries Bear the Brunt of a Reduced Gift?

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I asked my young kids today if they knew what “abatement” was.  They replied, “Yes, Daddy, it’s the bottom floor in our house where all our toys and boxes and other stuff is!” To avoid the stigma of negligent parenting, I explained to them that within the estate planning context, abatement is the forced decrease…

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