Why Your Will May Be Next to Worthless

Robert Burns famously said, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Burns was an 18th century Scottish poet, but he could just as easily have been a modern Estates & Trusts attorney. Too often, this familiar saying applies to the estate of someone who has died. Even if the person had a will, the final determination of who gets what might be dramatically different from what was expected. Why would this be? The simple fact is that a will can do only so much. It controls the assets that you own in your name alone and that […]

Protect Your Loved Ones With a Spendthrift Trust

Providing for someone you care about can be one of life’s great challenges. You may have a spouse or partner who depends on you financially. Or a relative with money problems who sometimes turns to you for help. Or perhaps you are fortunate enough to have children and want to give them every possible advantage in life. Whoever you care for, your life’s work may well focus on supporting them. If someone does rely on you, one of the hardest questions to consider is what they would do without you. You might be able to provide for the person financially […]

When Should You Write Your First Will ?

The idea of being “proactive” has never held much appeal. Burglar alarms are often installed only after the house has been looted. Trip insurance is frequently purchased for the vacation taken after the one that goes awry. And yes, barn doors are often locked after the horse has been stolen. The same is true of having a will prepared. It’s one activity that can’t be put off until after the need arises. Instead, it is often some galvanizing life event that first prompts someone to prepare a will. • “My mother died and her estate was a mess. I want […]

Insulate Your Marriage from Problems Online

The Greek philosopher Socrates once said, “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” He was lucky he didn’t live in the age of Facebook. Thanks to the vast social network, it has never been easier to express an opinion about someone – however unflattering the sentiment may be. In addition to posting written words, it can also be hurtful to upload photographs and videos that were meant for a private audience. And when the object of online derision is an ex-spouse, the pain inflicted can be especially acute. After choosing a companion of good character, […]

Who Inherits Your Frequent Flyer Miles?

Even if you have a valid will, it probably doesn’t address a surprisingly valuable asset – your frequent flyer miles. Whether you often travel by air or simply use an airline credit card, these miles can quickly add up. Some credit card companies will give you thousands of miles just for opening an account, as well as additional points for every purchase you make. Airlines value these miles differently, but each mile is typically worth about 1.5 cents. That means that a cache of 200,000 miles could be worth $3,000. That’s not nothing, but of course the real value comes […]

Finding the Right Lawyer for You

A good lawyer is like a good friend – someone who is smart and honest, has your best interests at heart, and is enjoyable to be around. But finding such a lawyer can be an intimidating experience. Should you look online? Ask a friend to suggest someone? And how do you know when you’ve found the lawyer you need? Here are four things to look for when seeking legal counsel: 1) LGBT bona fides – Your first priority should be to find a fellow member of the LGBT community. Working with a lawyer means letting down your guard and entrusting […]

An Estate Plan for Your Small Business

A successful small business is rightly a point of pride. It means that plans were made, risks were taken, and sweat equity was liberally invested. When things go right, the resulting enterprise may become the livelihood of the founder and members of his family. After the hope for initial success, the founder’s greatest desire may be for the business to continue after he is out of the picture. This is easier said than done. Business “succession planning,” as it’s called, can be complicated stuff. But it can also be vital to ensuring that the business continues if something unexpected happens […]

Are Death Taxes Themselves Deceased?

When newspapers reported about the demise of Mark Twain, the American author and humorist quipped that “rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” More than a century later, the same could be said of the federal estate tax, which is effectively defunct for all but the richest Americans. Please follow and like us: