Ethics

Estate Planning and Optometry Are Quite Different … Or Are They?

The author's actual glasses in disrepair.  Enhanced image by  Krysteena Marie Photography.

The very glasses that provided “insight”.  Enhanced image by Krysteena Marie Photography. So over the weekend, my glasses broke.  As displayed in the accompanying picture, the top half of the frames are made of metal while each lens is held in by a small elastic band. The glasses lost a battle with my knee and…

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Why Many Estate Planning Lawyers Don’t Quote Fees Before Meeting You

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So you finally get the gumption to call an estate planning lawyer.  You’ve done your research, asked friends for referrals, and then you make contact with the lawyer.  But when you ask what the lawyer charges, he or she won’t give you a straight answer. This is frustrating.  Is the lawyer trying to hide something? …

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Estate Planning Law as a Career: 5 Barriers to Success

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On occasion, I receive an email or a phone call from a new attorney asking me about estate planning as a career.  I think it is a wonderful focus for a practice – you can really make a positive impact on a family, you are helping others face issues they otherwise would avoid, and your…

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Professionalism Still Exists (Thank You David A. Shulman, Esq.)

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It is perhaps not very well known that the ethics rules for lawyers cover behavior not only during but also outside of working hours.  According to the Preamble of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct: [1] A lawyer is a representative of clients or a neutral third party, an officer of the legal system and…

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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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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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How Much Do You Really Want to Know About Your Estate Plan?

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I received some interesting comments on my last post from Jennifer Deland, a Massachusetts estate planning attorney.  To paraphrase, she expressed that the typical estate planning client is really not interested in the technical language stated in the law.  Instead, it is of utmost importance to determine what the client thinks the documents say and…

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MDP Ethics (or “I’m a CFP Again, But Keep it on the Down Low”)

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I would like to take this opportunity to announce that I am once again a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).  I took a brief hiatus from this designation but now have re-qualified.  I am now entering my 15th year of CFP-dom.  Read more...

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4 Steps to Take Today to Preserve Your Digital Assets

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Today, we will continue our discussion of digital estate planning by talking about some direct steps you can take to protect your “digital assets” after your death. The overall goal is to protect the existence of your documents, pictures, emails, etc., and to prevent sites from destroying them before your digital executor can get to…

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Latest Simpsons Episode Raises Concerns About Burns’ Estate Plan

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The first three minutes of the latest episode of The Simpsons, “Flaming Moe“, introduced a slew of interesting estate planning themes.  Spoiler alert: I reveal here these three minutes of the plot, which is then relegated to barely an afterthought for the remainder of the episode.  Read more...

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