Tuesday, January 10, 2023

3 Ways to Protect Your Family

 3 Ways to Protect your Family!

1. Have Clear Objectives

2.  Deal with Real Experts and Specialists

3. Make Measured and Reasoned Decisions

Have Clear Objectives

Be crystal clear about what you are setting out to accomplish. Since this blog is about estate planning my comments focus on that topic. Many who visit someone like, an estate planning attorney have no clear objectives. They say, " I want a will", "I don't like probate", or "I want to make it easy for my kids".

None of these are clear goals. They are important emotional reasons for planning but not precise objectives. Here is how to turn each of those into a claar objective:

1. I want clear, written instructions in legal form detailing how my assets will administered and distributed and here is who I want to protect and from what risks.

2. I want everything during my life  and at my death to occur without any court involvement with the greatest degree of privacy the law permits.

3. I want each legal document and arrangement established so my goals can be carried out without resorting to asking a judge or court to get involved.

These three goals are clear and precise. They repesent each of the emotional motivations listed first and include specific guidance about what the client is seeking. See if you can write out your goals in the same way.

Deal with Real Experts and Specialists

In the age of the internet and tech anyone can say that they do certain things. Anyone can go on facebook and offer you a will or other document. How can you ensure you are dealing with a real expert? Here are some good guidelines to protect your family:

1. Ask the person offering services what else they do. Your goal is to only work with a specialist who only does estate planning. Remember these guidelines will apply to any other need you may have. If the person does other things, they are not an expert.

2. Ask to see degrees and certifications in the particular specialty area. Also ask how much of their time is spent in the specialty. Ask if they practice estate planning and estate law 24-7. If not avoid them.

3. Ask to see awards from third party sources granted to the person claiming to be the expert you need. For example you want an AV rated attorney specializing in estate planning.

4. While reviews are great do not rely on recommendations on facebook or other social media. If you post a question on social media remember that a real specialist lawyer will NOT respond by calling or messaging you as that may violate the rules against solicitation.

5. Get a referral from another expert you trust. For example, a referral from your acconntant or financial advisor is worth much more than something on facebook.

Make Measured and Reasoned Decisions

This is a difficult skill to practice. Many people react emotionally or impulsively. When choosing any expert, take your time, do your research and give the decision some thought and analysis. Even in emergencies it is always better to make careful decisions. This is critical to protect your family and property.

Let's review the three ways to protect your family:

1. Have clear goals and objectives.

2. Deal only with real experts and specialists.

3. Make measured and reasoned decisions.

Good luck!

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Why Estate Planning Matters in 2022 and Beyond

With large estate tax exemptions (in excess of $12 million) some suggest estate planning is no longer matters. Since estate planning was never just about estate taxes this is false. In fact, estate planning is more important now than ever. Here are several reasons why:

Estate planning protects your family and beneficiaries.

Normal people care about their families. They care about their spouse, kids, grandchildren and other family members.  Protecting family from risk, expense, probate, predators, creditors and taxes has always driven estate planning. When you drop estate taxes from that list, there are still many risks to protect against.

Where clients have no family they seek to protect their causes and charities. In over 45 years of being an estate planning attorney, I have never had a client who asked to give their estate to the government.

Estate planning protects you.

Any proper estate plan contains protections for you. Whether in a trust, financial power of attorney, health care power of attorney, HIPAA authorization or final disposition instruction, it is you being protected. The wisdom of this is unaffected by tax exemptions and has increased as a result of the pandemic.

Estate planning protects your voice.

Your estate plan speaks for you. It represents how you want to be treated during illness, incapacity and your death. Your plan is your voice protecting your loved ones to the extent you deem appropriate.

Your estate plan represents your voice in legal form, making sure that what you want to happen does. Your plan cannot vote for you but does speak for you in other respects.

Proper estate planning will always matter.

The discussion above shows the importance of estate planning in 2022 and beyond. Here is how we describe it to clients: if you or your family are important than you protect them and yourself with an estate plan.

Note: this article is general information about estate planning. Every client's estate plan is different. Reading this article does not make you a client of our firm. To learn about estate planning or how to become a client of our firm, call 303-688-3535 for further information.

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Top Reason to Avoid DIY Estate Planning

DIY is popular these days. There are YouTube videos showing you how to do just about everything including your own will and estate plan. Is this approach wise?

As you read through articles here you will find a common thread that is always repeated. The answer to the above question is always NO!

Instead of repeating the numerous reasons  that DIY planning is bad let's just focus on the top reason you should always avoid this approach.


That's right. Whether you write it yourself, use legal zoom or just grab a form off the internet your DIY plan will always cost more than working with an estate planning specialist. Because DIY plans don't work and are filled with mistakes and hidden traps it will cost you and your family more to fix that disaster than to do it right the first time.

Read the articles below for more reasons to avoid DIY estate planning and be careful out there!