Category: Do-It-Yourself Legal Planning

The Pitfalls of Do It Yourself Estate Planning

During a 2013 Northwestern Mutual webcast, one-third of those watching indicated that they have either drafted their own estate plan, or know someone who drafted their own estate plan. Whether these do-it-yourself estate plans are created through online programs or drafted by hand, a recent article explains that they can quickly become problematic. A simple[...]

The Estate Planning Prescription Pad

I work with a fair number of financial advisors, insurance professionals and CPA/accountants. One of the services I provide for those valued planning partners is to review their client's existing estate plans (where I was not the attorney or scrivener) and give my opinion on the documents they have. The review is my way of[...]

Pay No Attention To The Estate Planner Behind The Curtain!

The Internet is such an interesting place. One of the most powerful things about it is that it's lowered the bar for people to self-publish. It used to be that you could trust something that was published, due in large part to the high barrier to entry to publishing and a tacit agreement among publishers[...]

Estate Planning Myths & Misconceptions – Myth #2 – All Estate Plans Are The Same

In my first post, I talked a little about those attorneys who offer to do it all for you (real estate, commercial litigation, business representation), including your estate planning. Just as not all estate planning attorneys are the same, Myth #2 is that not all estate plans are the same. Despite what Suze Orman will[...]

Estate Planning Myths & Misconceptions – Myth #1 – All Estate Planning Lawyers Are The Same

The websites of general practice lawyers, as well as those of large, mega law firms, almost always include "Wills & Trusts" or "Wills & Estates" as practice areas. If you went by the sheer number of lawyers with this listing, you would probably conclude two things: First, almost everyone in a community has, or is[...]

Wall Street Journal Agrees With Me – Passing On Online Information Should Be Part of Your Estate Plan

Recently, I posted about the need to pass on your "on line" information as part of a comprehensive estate plan. My article examined the various companies that offered to guard that information for you. It seems like the Wall Street Journal reads my blog because they just published an article of their own on Sunday[...]

Top 4 Approaches To Estate Planning

In my experience, people choose 1 of 4 approaches regarding their estate planning. 1) Do Nothing. By far, this is the largest segment of the population. I often speak to local mom's groups (younger market) and service organizations (older market). These are workshops where there is just as much a chance that someone's done estate[...]

Making a Will

If you're thinking about making a will, here are few things that you should think about before drafting the will (or having an attorney help you think about these things and draft the will for you): 1.  What assets will you be putting in the will? Take an inventory of your significant assets.  These should[...]

Top Tips for Selecting an Estate Planner

Having practiced in this area for a while, here are some practical tips for selecting an estate planner. I promise that this is not a thinly-veiled way of describing my practice. Although we have many of these qualities, I believe that these tips have universal value. 1. Select an attorney who is an excellent listener.[...]

Do You Have These 3 Legal Papers?

This post is important enough that I might run a variation of it every month for year. Let me spoil the surprise and give you the answer up front. You should have: A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care A Durable Power of Attorney for Finances A Living Will The first and second one[...]