Should Your Power of Attorney Spring?

 6a01b8d0a6271d970c01b8d15a34b5970c-500piOne of the more important decisions when drafting a power of attorney is when the document should become effective. It can be effective immediately or it can be made to be effective only when the principal becomes disabled. The latter is known as “springing.” (more…)

Taking your dog with you

6a01b8d0a6271d970c01b7c7c5bea6970b-500piFor many people, dogs are more than just best friends. They are a valued member of the family. However, pets, unlike other family members, are legally property. This raises the question whether you can direct that your pets be put to sleep after you pass away. (more…)

Blowing An Inheritance


People often fear that leaving large sums of money to their relatives will result in those relatives blowing the money on things they do not need. A recent case in the United Kingdom demonstrates that this is not an unfounded fear.


Euan MacAndrew, a 24-year-old, was left an inheritance by his grandfather that amounted to approximately one-hundred thousand pounds. MacAndrew then proceeded to do what was probably the last thing his grandfather would have wanted him to do with that inheritance.


MacAndrew wasted it all on cars, clothes and drugs. (more…)

Reopening Jack Kerouac’s Estate

6a01b8d0a6271d970c01b7c7c93159970b-500piAuthor Jack Kerouac’s estate has long been settled after much acrimony. However, an important letter that he received from a friend could reopen the case.


Jack Kerouac is credited with inventing the free-flowing beat style of writing that was popular in the 1950s and 60s. He did not create the style on his own though. It was only after receiving a letter from his friend Neal Cassady that Kerouac adopted the style and used it in his most famous work On the Road.


That letter is likely worth millions and is the subject of a new dispute concerning Kerouac’s estate, as reported by SF Gatein an article titled “Beat-era figure’s sexy, literary letter fuels fracas.”


Estate Planning and 2014: Looking Back

6a01b8d0a6271d970c01b7c7ef5c09970b-500piEvery year has new developments in estate planning. 2014 was no different in this regard. Some of the changes to estate planning in 2014 are very important to know about.


With 2014 just behind us, now is a good time to look back and see what changed in estate planning during the year. After all, the only true constant in life is change itself.


While the changes might not affect everyone, they are important enough for you to determine whether they impact your estate plan.


Recently, the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blogpublished a list of the most important estate planning developments of the year in an article titled “2014 Estate Planning Developments.”


Make Estate Planning Your New Year’s Resolution

Pad of Paper & PenThe holidays are upon us. It’s also a good time to get started with some Old Year end and New Year beginning planning activities, especially if family members are going to be celebrating the holidays with you. Start with reviewing what you have and how you own it (by yourself, with your spouse, with a child or with whomever). Do you still want to own it in this way?


This timely topic was the theme of a recent article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette titled Holiday season is the best time to update your estate planning.”


Here are some questions you ought to ask yourself as 2015 draws near:


Silly Questions? Not When It Comes to Your Will

6a01b8d0a6271d970c01b8d17bcba9970c-500piIt’s something parents shudder to think about: a will. That’s probably why more than half of Americans with children do not have a legal will. Parents love their children, and the concept of dying and not being there for their children is simply not an option they consider. Establishing a will is a vital part of protecting your financial legacy and there is no benefit in delaying it.


A recent Forbes article, titled “6 Questions About Wills You Were Afraid To Ask,” gives us some answers to several often-avoided questions to help alleviate some trepidation over wills and to motivate you into creating one for your family. Here are a few of them:


A Trust Is Still a Good Idea

6a01b8d0a6271d970c01b8d16f310b970c-500piUp until a few years ago, a common estate-planning technique included the use of irrevocable trusts to own life insurance intended for the payment of estate taxes. Properly arranged, this method allowed the policy’s benefits to be used to pay the estate taxes of the person who died without the policy being included in the estate when the estate-tax liability was calculated. Today, this is still a useful technique but not nearly as prevalent. We still have an estate tax. But the threshold for being exposed to the tax has increased so much that only the very wealthy need to be concerned.


Some Americans who are planning their estates for the first time or are revisiting their current estate plans are confused regarding whether trusts remain an important estate planning tool. Given the significant changes in the law of late, their confusion was addressed in a recent article titled “Trusts remain useful tool in estate planning.”


Need I Be Spoiled to Have a Trust?

bigstock-Financial-consultant-presents--14508974Mention a trust, and the first thing most people think of is a spoiled kid living off an inherited fortune without having worked a single day in life. As a result, most people don’t know very much about trusts, and they assume there’s little need to have even a basic understanding of this useful estate-planning tool. In many situations, though, trusts can be the best way to achieve your financial goals, especially if they involve making sure that you and your loved ones are taken care of when you’re unavailable to do so yourself.

This was the subject of a recent article by the Motley Fool titled5 Things You Didn’t Know — but Should! — About Trusts.”


Here are a few takeaways from the article: