Basic Strategies

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

Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts: Common Uses

A friend recently asked me about the differences between revocable and irrevocable trusts.  The following will provide a brief answer, including common uses along with advantages and disadvantages, but should not to be looked upon as exhaustive advice regarding either kind of instrument.  Read more...

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Beneficiaries’ Rights: Can I Prevent Michael Vick from Starting?

From 1949 to 1963, the Philadelphia Eagles were owned by about one hundred local businessmen, known as the “100 Brothers”. Each member, one of whom was my great uncle, paid about a $3,000 share to get in, and made a nice profit once they got out. My parents ended up with season tickets for awhile,…

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Estate Planning Fundamentals


So far, we have discussed many different aspects of estate planning in this blog.  However, if this site is supposed to convince you that estate planning is something that you should really get a handle on, then we should probably discuss some basics.  We’ll do so in a Question and Answer format:  Read more...

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Talking to Hear My Own Voicemail

Today’s post goes into significant detail my phone service.  However, please bear with me until the final paragraphs, as there is an actual estate planning point. My home used to have an easy phone set up – one phone line (hereinafter “Line 1”), one fax line (hereinafter “Line 2”), and two “distinctive ring” lines for…

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The System Works – Maryland’s New Power of Attorney Law


Gideon’s Trumpet We all love David vs. Goliath stories.  These are especially satisfying when they involve the legal process.  One of the most celebrated cases involving a huge underdog was Gideon v. Wainwright.  In 1961, Clarence Earl Gideon was found guilty of a crime in a Florida court after having to defend himself since he…

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11 Reasons to Avoid Estate Planning

This weekend, I took my young son and daughter to a movie in which a beloved family cat died. My son especially didn’t enjoy the movie because of this. On the way home, he realized, “Hey! If the cat can die, then everyone will die too!”  Read more...

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Estate Tax Effects on Cross-Owned Life Insurance

Today, Professor Beyer’s blog links to an article regarding the current status of the federal estate tax.  Unfortunately, many are left in a holding pattern while Congress decides whether or not to reinstate the tax before 2011.  If the tax is reinstated, it is unknown  if a decedent’s first $1 million, $3.5 million, $5 million,…

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How Revocable Trusts Are Unlike Haircuts

I can’t stand getting haircuts. It all started when I was in my mid-teens, and my mother took me to her hairdresser.  The gentleman took one look at the back of my head and called over his colleagues.  Within seconds, other hairdressers as well as shampooers, sweepers, cashiers, etc. came by to look at the…

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Making a Will May Not Work

You have done your job.  You have saved in your retirement plan.  You have life insurance.  You own your house jointly with your spouse.  You have a “payable on death” clause in your bank account directing it to your kids.  Surprisingly, if your assets are set up this way, then your will may have very…

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“Do I Need a Lawyer to Draft a Will?”

OK, you have our attention. There is now growing debate as to whether or not people can draft their own wills without a lawyer.  What good are we anyway?  You can’t afford us.  You don’t trust us.  We’re inconvenient and inefficient.  You don’t like hourly rates.  You don’t want to risk your dollars on potential…

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