Eight Estate Planning Documents Everyone Should Have (and keep updated!)

An Estate Plan contains many documents, some that people are unaware of and need. Here is an overview of eight documents you may need to prepare for yourself and your family with the help of an attorney. LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT A legal document used to distribute property to beneficiaries, specify last wishes, name guardians. . .

How Do I Talk to My Parents About Estate Planning?

Conversations about planning for a senior’s later years seem difficult because often they are delayed until a medical crisis forces the family’s hand. Here are two suggestions on how to make this conversation a productive one for all parties involved.  Schedule a Time to Hold the Conversation Let them know ahead of time that you. . .

How to Choose the Right Estate Planning Attorney

  Once you’ve located a prospective estate planning attorney, you’ll need to ask the attorney the following list of questions to determine if they’re truly qualified to help you: Is the attorney’s primary focus on estate planning? Unless you live in a very rural area I think you will find that most attorneys have narrowed. . .

Q: What is the most common mistake you find in your practice?

Answer:  Naming an out of state –non-blood related– Personal Representative. We see this mistake made in a few Wills every year: the decedent names a non-resident of Florida, such as a close friend, or an out of state attorney as their Personal Representative. These individuals would not qualify to serve under Florida Law.  The answer. . .

How to find a Personal Representative outside of your family

There are three characteristics I believe you should look for when choosing the Personal Representative of your estate: someone who can carry out the needed tasks is willing to serve in this role and is familiar with your unique situation. How do you find a Personal Representative if you don’t know anyone who meets these. . .

Ask Heidi: What are the first Steps I should take for my Estate Plan?

  Answer: Think about whom you would like as Personal Representative for your estate. You don’t have to limit your ‘pool’ to family members and friends. Many lawyers, banks and other planning professionals have a person or department that can be named to carry out your wishes. Create a living will. A living will, or. . .

Why Naming Beneficiaries Is Important Regarding Contractual Assets

There are many pitfalls to be avoided when putting together your Estate Plan, especially if you try to do it yourself. For this post, I am going assume an Estate Planning Attorney is drafting your documents, which as you know is what I highly suggest everyone does. That said, naming beneficiaries is all on you. . .

Four Things that Cause Sibling Feuds Regarding Estate Planning

  Caring for an ill parent or settling their estate once they have passed is an emotional time in a family and can start a feud or add to an already existing one if specific preventative measures are not taken. When parents divide their assets to their children, they don’t expect such fights to occur,. . .

ASK HEIDI: What is the number one mistake most people make regarding their Estate Plan?

Short Answer:  Not naming a beneficiary or keeping their beneficiaries up to date on their contractual “non-probate” assets is the most significant mistake that folks routinely make regarding their Estate Planning. Why it’s Important:   If you own contractual assets that include a beneficiary designation, it is important to name your beneficiaries and keep them updated;. . .

Estate Planning Pitfalls

Estate Planning Pitfalls Part 2

  Last month I started what I consider one of my most important posts –a series regarding the most common pitfalls I see in Estate Planning. Part two of my multi-part blog series discusses the pitfall of failing to keep a current/updated Will. This is probably one of the easiest pitfalls to avoid and the. . .