Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Should You Tell Adult Children About Your Estate-Plan?

Who you should tell about your estate plan has been an interesting issue in my estate planning practice for the last 36+ years. As an estate planning attorney, I have my thoughts about transparency with children, but those are not universally shared.

Where I advise estate planning clients to be transparent, there are those who believe in the opposite approach which is, "my kids will know about my estate after I'm dead".

Which of these approaches is correct? The answer depends on the age of the children, the family dynamic and each client's individual situation.

First, here is a recent article which discusses issues of informing your adult children about your estate plan:

Article: Should You Tell Your Children

After you read this article, then consider this advice given to all of my estate planning clients:

1. Be transparent. If you are going to disclose to adult children details of your estate plan, then be transparent and DO NOT use the conversation as a means to control or manipulate.

2. As the picture above shows, disclose only to adult children, like those in the picture below, who are mature enough to understand the importance of estate planning.

3. Make the conversation about love of family and the family reasons for your estate planning. Of course you may have tax reasons, but remember that we don't let the tax tail wag the family dog. Estate planning is always about family first and foremost.

4. Understand your estate plan first before discussing with your children. Be clear why you are informing them and be sensitive to the reality that all children are uncomfortable with discussing their parents mortality.

Please let me know your thoughts on the article and your thoughts about these issues.

Thank you.

Bernie Greenberg

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Digital Estate Planning: Why You Care

What and why you need to know about digital estate planning:

Digital estate planning is being called the wave of the future and this article discusses several issues you need to know about estate planning:

Article on Digital Estate Planning

You may have noticed that facebook recently launched their legacy feature designed to allow you to pass on your facebook page. As our world becomes more digital and more virtual, understanding which parts of you may be digital is important.

As an estate planning attorney, we learn daily about how estate planning changes with our changing times. If you have any digital accounts or media, blog or music account, learning about these for yourself is fundamental to your estate planning.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. Thank you.

Bernie Greenberg

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Estate Taxes Are Back in the News!

Yes, the federal estate tax system is back in the news and the news is not good. Are you following these latest developments?

President Obama has proposed a total overhaul of the federal transfer tax system which was just overhauled as recently as January 1, 2013. Did you know that the U.S. estate tax system has been overhauled over 13 times since 1987? Seems like the politicians cannot keep their hands off of your estate.

The latest proposal would impose new taxes on every estate upon death instead of just on people with large estates. I will cover these proposed changes in detail in an upcoming article, so the purpose of this article on estate planning and estate taxes is to gauge your opinion.

What do you think? Should every American have to pay these taxes or only wealthy people? What is the definition of wealth to you? Should you be allowed to pass your estate to your spouse? How about to your kids?

As an estate planning attorney, these proposals have the impact of destroying thousands of existing estate plans and could destroy many more families who rely on the ability to pass property to their family. Your opinion matters and we encourage you to make it known to your representatives and senators.

Let me know your thoughts on this by emailing me or commenting below. As always, thank you for your interest.

Bernie Greenberg