Special Circumstances

While many think they just need a will, many differing situations result in extra planning needs. For instance, a divorce, special needs, and non-traditional relationships tend to require additional consideration in your estate plan.

Quaids and Star Whackers Need a Refresher Course


Attorney-extraordinaire Jason Miller, a regular reader of this blog, alerted me to this ongoing saga about Randy Quaid and his wife Evi. To summarize, the Quaids believe that they are being pursued by a Hollywood cult called the “Star Whackers”. During their “escape”, the Quaids trashed their former home, skipped out on some large hotel…

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Pet Trusts: Closing the Stable Door Before the Horse Bolts


I always find it amusing when a series of strange events inspires an estate planning post.  Here, I have a series of real and fictional horses to thank for today’s discussion.  Read more...

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Who Will Choose Your Kids’ Guardian and Custodian?


All parents of minor children should have at least a will.  Let me repeat.  All parents of minor children should have at least a will.  If you are a parent with minor children and you don’t have a will, you must get it done. Why?  The following are the major consequences if you do not:…

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7 Important Concepts Likely Missed In Your DIY Estate Plan


Image by umjanedoan via Flickr I enjoyed this recent blog post by Massachusetts attorney Danielle G. Van Ess, which compellingly illustrates the rationale for delegating certain work, including estate planning, to trained professionals rather than using do-it-yourself methods.  Read more...

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Checking Your Parents’ Estates: Generational Attitudes on Sharing Info

This week, I want you to call your elderly parents, grandparents, relatives, etc., and make sure that their estate planning documents are definitely in place. Do it now while matters are relatively calm, because if you wait until something happens, anything out of order then will add to what will already be an emotional draining…

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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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Removal of the Personal Representative

Going through probate is especially difficult.  If you are a beneficiary, you were likely quite close with the deceased, and would prefer to have the whole process be over with.  But what if you are having problems with the executor, trustee or personal representative (hereinafter “PR”)?  Can you get rid of the PR?  How?  The…

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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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New Services from Estate Planning Law Firms

In this post, let’s discuss some new ways that some estate planning firms are adjusting their practices to answer some of the main complaints people have about lawyers, including high fees, accessibility, convenience, etc.  These efforts to bridge the gap with clients in need of their services is an excellent step towards building and maintaining…

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Disinheritance – The Legacy of Aunt Bernice

Once upon a time, a young boy was at his home enduring a boring party thrown by his parents. He decided to go into another room and watch television on the family’s new set. While he enjoyed his programming, some of the partygoers joined him in the room. Suddenly, his Aunt Bernice walked up to…

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