What Is a No Contest Clause?

If you’re afraid your heirs might challenge your Will, you can add a no contest clause to protect your wishes. With this clause in your legal arsenal, your beneficiaries likely won’t risk challenging your Will and losing everything you left them. They may, however, first seek a court judgment as to whether a claim would […]

How to Decide Who Gets What in a Will

Depending on your family dynamic and life circumstances, estate planning can be a challenging and even uncomfortable task. It’s difficult enough to contemplate your own mortality, let alone planning out who in your life should receive your money, property, and possessions after you die. If you’re struggling to figure out how to divide up your […]

Common Types of Trusts and When to Use Them

Trusts can be a smart estate planning tool to supplement a valid Will. There are several different types of trusts you can establish, and the right one(s) for your needs will depend on: (1) how and when you want your beneficiaries to inherit what you leave them; (2) the types of assets you want them […]

What You Do and Don’t Need from Your Estate Planning Attorney

Whether you’re drafting your first Will or updating an existing plan, it’s important to work with a trusted estate planning attorney throughout your lifetime. Not only does this ensure your final wishes are documented and all your beneficiaries and heirs are covered, but it also provides you peace of mind knowing your plans are legally […]

Why (and How) to Disinherit Someone from Your Will

No matter your current age or status in life, it’s important to keep a valid and updated Will to secure your loved ones’ financial future. Sometimes, this means making adjustments when certain people you once intended to leave part of your estate to are no longer an active part of your life. Disinheritance is the […]

6 Common Reasons to Update Your Will

Writing your Will isn’t normally a one-and-done process. Your life is ever-changing, and from time to time, you’ll want to revisit and revise your will to match your current situation.  Changes in your age, your children’s age, the birth of a grandchild, declines in a family member’s health, and, equally important, changes in state and […]

5 Estate Planning Tips for Single Parents

While estate planning is important for every parent, single parents face unique challenges when planning for their children’s future. As the primary caretaker for your children, you need to plan for several scenarios to ensure they have the proper safeguards in place. No matter how large or small your estate is, it’s important to protect […]

What Is a Revocable Living Trust and Do You Need One?

There are several different legal mechanisms that allow you to pass your estate on to your loved ones after you die. Many people opt to draft a Last Will and Testament. However, estate death taxes and other considerations can complicate things for families. While increases in exemptions from estate death taxes have worked in the […]

How to Choose an Executor for Your Will

When you pass away, your executor is the one who will legally tie up any loose ends. They will typically handle of any or all of the following responsibilities: File court documents for the probate process Fulfill the distribution provisions contained in your will for any beneficiaries Pay estate’s final bills, debts, and taxes Notify […]

You’ve Been Named as Estate Executor – Now What?

If you’ve been named as executor of your loved one’s estate, you will serve a key role in the probate court process, which is how assets of a deceased individual’s assets that pass through a will reach any named beneficiaries therein. Probate is necessary to ensure, first, that a decedent’s final debts and expenses are […]

How to Update Your Estate Plan After a Divorce

The divorce process is often a very long and painful one. Although you may have already moved on emotionally, some legal aspects of your life can’t move forward until your divorce is finalized by the court. When you do receive that long-awaited divorce decree, one of your first priorities should be updating your estate plans. […]

Gifting as an Estate Planning Tool: What You Need to Know

For many people, passing on money and property to their loved ones happens after they die. However, if you have a sizable estate, you may not want to wait until then to give your heirs their full inheritance. Under current federal law, individual estates valued above $10 million or $20 million per couple (indexed for […]

Estate Planning Tips for New Parents

Before you had your child, you only had to think about inheritance for your partner (and maybe your siblings or cousins). As self-sufficient adults, your heirs would be financially OK if you died tomorrow and left them whatever was in your estate. More importantly, they’d understand what to do with those assets and how to […]

Estate Planning Documents: What Do I Need?

You probably know you need to write a will to distribute your property and financial assets following your death. This is a good start, but for a comprehensive, complete estate plan, you’ll need a few more essential documents. Other estate planning tools, such as a living trust and a power of attorney (POA) agreement, work […]

The True Costs of Probate: How to Save Your Loved Ones Money

You might think you can save on estate planning costs by skipping the lawyer and writing your own will, or forgoing a will altogether. While a good estate planning attorney does cost money, their fees pale in comparison to what your loved ones will have to pay if your assets get tied up in probate […]

How Do I Choose a Legal Guardian for My Child?

It’s something no parent wants to think about, but eventually must ask themselves: Who would take care of your child if you passed away before they reach adulthood? For most people, the answer is their spouse or partner. However, if you’re a single parent – or, if you’re considering the unlikely event that both you […]

4 Common Estate Planning Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

Estate planning can be a difficult and stressful process, and mistakes and oversights are common. After all, there’s a lot to consider when writing a will and naming beneficiaries, and it’s easy to miss a thing or two. Unfortunately, the cost of these errors often falls on your loved ones when certain aspects of your […]

Will Your Estate Plan Be Impacted by the New Tax Law?

When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was signed into law in December 2017, it brought numerous, significant changes for individuals and businesses alike. With Tax Day 2018 behind us, many taxpayers have already felt the impact of this sweeping tax reform. Overall, the changes promise to benefit the average American – some of […]

Liquidation of an Estate Following Death

Liquidation in the simplest terms refers to the conversion of hard assets to cash. Liquidation of an individual’s estate does not just occur upon a death. It can also occur when a parent chooses to liquidate assets in order to fund something like the purchase of a second home or a child’s college tuition. Liquidation […]

Protect Yourself During Times of Charitable Giving

December could be known as the “giving season” because that is when many people’s thoughts turn to gift giving and charitable donations. You may also see that charities use this time of year to solicit donations. This is where you need to be careful, and do your due diligence to discover whether this organization is […]

Navigating the Costs of Nursing Home and Long-Term Care

When you’ve worked a lifetime to accumulate wealth, you don’t want to lose it all due to a disability, prolonged illness or cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease. Since approximately 69% of the population aged 65 and older will develop disabilities before they die, and 35% will eventually enter a nursing home, reports the Family […]

Trust Funds for Minors and People with Challenges

Trust funds aren’t only reserved for the rich; they are excellent opportunities to create protection for minor children, disabled adult children, and other family members who may be incapacitated due to mental and physical challenges. Setting up a trust fund for someone you care about is one of the best ways to ensure that they […]

Where to Store Your Important Records

With all the news about natural disasters like hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, it makes one think about how to store and protect important records like your birth certificate, will or power of attorney designation. Keeping originals of these important records in your home may make them easy to reach, but may not be the best […]

Appraising Your Estate for Transfer, Divorce or Inheritance

When it comes time for disposal or transition of your marital property due to divorce or property inherited by you from a deceased relative, one of the first things you may need to determine is its appraised value, whether for re-sale or buy-out purposes. There are many items to consider within a marital or probate […]

Setting Up a Memorial Fund

Setting up a memorial fund is one of the best and most rewarding ways to pay tribute to a loved one who has passed away, and to help keep their legacy alive. With a memorial fund, families can both preserve the memory of departed loves ones and make a true difference in their community. There […]

Explore the Tax-Saving Strategy of Lifetime Giving

Giving money or assets to your loved ones during your lifetime rather than having them wait until after your death to collect, is defined as lifetime giving. It is an estate-planning strategy used to reduce estate taxes by spreading gifts throughout your lifetime using certain exemptions created by the federal gift tax laws in the […]

So You Just Won the Lottery…Now What?

You may have heard people say, “If you win the lottery, one of the first things you should do is contact a lawyer.” Well it’s true. But not just for the lottery. Any time you come into a windfall, whether through winnings like the lottery or an inheritance, it is a good idea to double […]

You May Want to Consider Holding Power of Attorney for Your Adult Child

Your child is always your child, except in the eyes of the law where an 18 year old is considered to be legal adults. However, as many parents know, at this age, or even beyond, many children are still not ready to be on their own and may need your input or assistance in major […]

Estate Planning When You Own a Business

When you own a business, a large part of your family’s income and wealth is most likely tied up in the business. Therefore, you need to plan what will happen to that business following your becoming incapacitated or your death. This type of estate planning is often called succession planning. You may want to keep […]

The Act of Revoking or Changing a Will

Once you have prepared your Will, whether through a trusted attorney or by using an on-line software program, there may come a time when you need to update or change it. Since life is never stagnant, you should ensure that any life changes appear in your Will so that your wishes are carried out following […]

Choosing a Power of Attorney

Quickly defined, a Power of Attorney (POA) is a powerful estate planning tool that allows you to appoint a spouse, trusted family member, or friend to assist with handling your financial and medical affairs during a period of disability when you might not be able to do this for yourself. This person may be referred […]

Modifying Your Estate Plan: How and When To Do It

Congratulations for setting up your estate plan. You have taken the right steps to insure that your estate is distributed as you wish following your passing. But how long ago did you create this plan? If it has been longer than three to five years ago, you might want to look at modifying it. Life […]

Did You Know that Your Attorney-Client Privilege Survives Even After Your Death?

As estate planning attorneys, we help our clients develop estate plans, or how they plan to manage and pass along their wealth and property after they die. What people may not realize, however, is that sometimes our job extends past death, as in the case of what happens when family members challenge the terms of […]

Pets are Family Members Too

When setting up a trust or will, many people overlook the fact that their pets are members of the family too. We know that their lifespans are generally not as long as humans, so we don’t think about what might happen to them should they outlive us. As such, their long-term needs must be considered […]

Don’t Let Errors Derail Your Retirement Income Plan

When people talk about retirement income planning, they are most often referring to the assets they have in their IRA and 401(k) plans, and how they will withdraw that money, transfer it, or move it from place to place. What they need to be careful of, however, is doing it properly. If done incorrectly, it […]

The Social Security and Medicare 2016 Outlook

How are Social Security and Medicare’s financial outlook for 2016? According to the Trustees for Social Security and Medicare trust funds, they pulled a financial burden of 41% of federal program expenditures in 2015. Due to economic and demographic factors, there are fewer workers paying into these funds than previously, resulting in decreasing income from […]

Avoid the Common Pitfalls of Estate Planning

Surprisingly, even well-educated Virginians can err when it comes to planning their estates. No matter what one’s financial situation is, there are elements to a solid estate plan that need to be set in place that often get overlooked. Here are some of the common pitfalls of estate planning: 1. No Will. Without a will, […]

New Early-Detection Alzheimer’s Test May Enable Early Guardianship Decisions

When we talk about guardianship and conservatorship issues, a lot of questions are raised as to what conditions constitute having to necessitate a guardianship or conservatorship. One of these is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Disease A form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disease that starts slowly and worsens over time. Its symptoms can include […]