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Author: jefftotty

Life Counsel & Planning > Articles posted by jefftotty

Estate Planning for Singles

Whether widowed, divorced, or never married, estate planning is something that is rarely on the mind of a person who is legally single. Even when single people consider this process, many don’t believe that the value of their assets is worth the trouble of creating a will and think that just naming a beneficiary on their life insurance policy is enough. These perspectives are problematic at best and could lead to significant problems later, both for the single person and his or her family.  An estate plan is more than writing a will and distributing assets. It also addresses several other...

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Don’t Wait: Plan Your Estate

There are many ways to structure an estate plan but there is only one key rule: Don’t wait. Too many people delay creating an estate plan until there is a medical emergency or devastating diagnosis, which makes the process rushed. Even worse, they don’t make an estate plan at all and unforeseen circumstances leave their children and other loved ones with no guidance regarding the care and financial support of their children, or any information about how to distribute their assets. An estate plan addresses these issues, and more.  Benefits of Creating an Estate Plan There are many reasons why you should...

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Tips for Reviewing Your Estate Plan with Your Children

Everyone’s estate is unique but family dynamics, especially around money, often follow known patterns that can create resentments or devolve into broken relationships. Speaking frankly with your children about the estate plan now and structuring the plan to be fair and equitable can avoid anger and needless complications after you are gone.  Ways to Communicate Your Estate Plan You can communicate your estate plan in many ways, but the key is to inform all of the children at the same time. This structure avoids resentments and beliefs that one child has influenced you at another’s expense. Also, communicate the plan before it...

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The Value of Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney

Despite the claims of online legal sites, creating estate planning documents is a complex process and it is important that they accurately reflect your wishes and are executed appropriately. Wills, trusts, healthcare directives, powers of attorney, and other related documents each serve a specific purpose and together form  a major portion of your estate plan. To have true confidence that these documents meet your needs and will be recognized by courts, banks, and hospitals, you need to work with an experienced estate planning attorney. Other benefits include the following: Establish a Comprehensive Estate Plan Your will and/or trust does not automatically cover...

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Getting Your Affairs in Order for 2020

The New Year often brings with it a time of reflection and planning. It is also a great time to get your affairs in order to assure that your medical and financial needs will be managed as you choose and to assure that your estate will be dispersed according to your wishes. Taking care of these matters now allows you to make thoughtful plans for various needs rather than rushing to address them while also coping with serious medical or financial issues. Or worse, waiting too long and leaving everything in someone else’s hands.   What it Means to Get Your...

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Why Choose an In-Person Law Firm

Everything seems to be available on the internet these days, including legal services. With cheap options available to prepare documents yourself with standardized forms, using an online lawyer appears to be a good option to save money and receive the services you need. But as they say, appearances can be deceiving.  WHAT YOU REALLY GET WITH AN ONLINE LEGAL SERVICE Online legal services, such as LegalZoom, are tempting to use because they are inexpensive and seem to have everything you need to manage basic legal tasks, such as creating a will or forming a business. However, there are several reasons to avoid...

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The Importance of Advance Directives

What is an ancillary estate planning document and why is it important? Estate planning ancillary documents are supportive documents that relate to and reinforce a main document, usually a trust or a will. Essentially, these documents work to make sure all life planning bases of an individual are covered in as many life and aging events as possible. They serve as an additional way to secure the decision making medical and financial needs and importance of legal and other documents. For estate planning purposes, the most important ancillary documents are as follows: Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) (Living Will) Organ Donation (Usually already...

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A Guide on Guardianship and Power of Attorney 

Do you know who will be there to act in your best interests in the event you become incapacitated? What happens if you are unable to make sound decisions regarding your health or finances? Or worse, what if the person you have entrusted with your care is being questioned for abuse of power or neglect? These are important questions to ask yourself when it comes to your estate planning and we are here to explain some tools that are in place to ensure you are taken care of properly.  Power of Attorney Arguably, the most important legal document to have in place...

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The Differences Between a Will and a Trust and What You Should Know

When taking the first steps in estate planning, the question of whether you need a will or a trust will arise immediately. When answering this, keep in mind that a will is a legal document you leave to direct your beneficiaries exactly how you want your property dispersed and your affairs handled after death. While similar, a trust is a legal document that secures your assets under trust ownership and allows for a third-party to become a trustee over the trust, naming a beneficiary to receive property through said trustee. As a result, a trust ensures the security of specified...

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