Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Wonder of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday because it is diverse--it means so many different things to different people. What does it mean to you?

As an estate planning attorney working with clients for the last 38 years on their wills and trusts Thanksgiving is often a motivator to many to accomplish their plans. Do you know why this is?

In my experience the holidays motiviate us to think about our families and being thankful for family is often a feature of the holidays.

As clients think about their family they are motivated to protect them. This motivation is the top reason that clients seek to have a will, trust and estate plan. In fact, here are the top reasons cited by clients for doing their estate planning:

1. Protection of family members such as spouse, children and grandchildren.

2. Protection of oneself. Many clients seek to protect against illness and disability and this is considered in every estate plan.

3. Protection of property, money or wealth. This is always an interesting factor since the amount of what someone has is irrelevant. While the current definition of a taxable estate for 2016 is $5,450,000 and for 2017 $5,490,000 many people do not have estates that large. What amount would you have to make you want to protect it? Many clients seek to protect the property they have regardless of the amount.

Whatever your reason for doing your will, trust and estate plan your reason is the best for you. I always recommend that clients consider the three areas listed above as they decide what is important to them and what to protect in their plan. As has been stated for generations, estate planning is one of the best gifts you can leave for your loved ones. Estate planning is never about how much you have, and always about how much you care for those you care for.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my family, my friends, my law firm and the wonderful town I live in. I wish to you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Bernie Greenberg

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Are You One?

It is alarming to learn just how few adults in America have done anything about their estate plans, no wills, trusts, powers of attorney--nothing!

In this recent article in Wealth Management, this issue is explored:

Less than 50% of Americans have an Estate Plan

 This statistic is shocking for several reasons:
  1. The large number of unprotected families.
  2. That so many have failed to plan even in the face of constant publicity.
  3. That so many fail to plan when it is easier than ever to provide a plan for your family.
Since protecting family and then property and assets are the reasons for estate planning, what do you believe are the reasons so many families are not protected?

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Your comments could be useful in helping others move forward with their estate plan.

Bernie Greenberg

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Estate Planning for Children with Disabilities

Having a child with disabilities creates enormous challenges and rewards for parents. An important aspect of caring for a child with these challenges is what to say in your will, trust and estate plan for your child.

As discussed in the article below, there are numerous issues when planning for a child with disabilities and in learning how to address these in your estate planning. Here is the article:

Estate Planning for Children with Disabilities - :

A frequently used planning technique that helps parents plan for a disabled child is known as a Special Needs Trust. Please consider this type of trust to protect your child.

For more information on this type of trust or to discuss planning your estate to protect a child with disabilities, please contact our office with your questions at: 303-688-3535.

Bernie Greenberg

Monday, May 23, 2016

How To Prepare A Will - The Onion - America's Finest News Source

This is not the recommended way to proceed with your estate planning! It does match the Onion's unique approach to everything.

How To Prepare A Will - The Onion - America's Finest News Source:

There are other articles here which provide you a more effective road map for your estate planning. For humor it's hard to beat the Onion!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Top Reason People Don't Plan: Procrastination!

As a wills and trusts lawyer specializing in estate planning I can confirm that there are many reasons folks have not completed their plan. Interestingly the number reason is the easiest one to fix--procrastination.

In the article below that road block is discussed further:

Top Enemy of Estate Planning Article

We all know about procrastination and we all know what it does: nothing. In my field of wills and trusts it has disastrous results. When you procrastinate about your estate plan you place at risk not just yourself but your entire family.

By not planning you have no protection against any risk. Not just the bad risks, death or total disability, but ANY risk. One of the most important reasons to do your will and estate plan is reduce or eliminate risk. Advantages of planning with urgency-planning NOW include:

We face each day a decision point. Will we take positive action today or will we put it off, sometimes putting it off multiple times or days. The thing about estate planning is that you will never know if you waited too long. Well, maybe you will as you lie in the bed in the hospital or rest home. Certainly your family will know and they are the reasons that most clients get started and finish their will and estate plan.

Decide today that it is time to move from being unprepared to having yourself and your family protected.

Let us help you today. Please join our conversation. Let me know if you have questions or comments.

Bernie Greenberg

Monday, February 29, 2016

Business Continuity Planning: Estate Planning for Business Owners

Many business owners have not addressed what happens to their business and business interest should certain events occur. What about you? Do you have a written plan if any of these events happen:

1. You are sick and can't work.
2. You are disabled and won't work again.
3. You die.

Planning for these areas is known as business continuity planning or more simply, estate planning for business owners. There are two main issues at play:

1. What happens to the business if something happens to you?

2. What happens with YOUR interest in the business if something happens to you?

If you don't know the answers to these or don't have a written plan that addresses these, it is time to sit down with an estate planning attorney specializing in estate planning for business owners. The qualifications necessary are covered in other articles below.

Feel free to call or email me with questions on this or any of our articles. Thank you for your interest.

Bernie Greenberg

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Year Resolutions: Get Your Will Done

Happy New Year!

What's on your list of resolutions for 2017? If you're like more than 55% of people you may have completing your will or estate plan on your list. That is a very good resolution and what's interesting is how many years it is always near the top of so many people's lists.

Here is an excellent article on how to approach getting that annual resolution finally done:

As you think about this resolution, remember that doing your will or estate plan includes the following:

1. Will or Trust.

This details how things will happen should something happen to you.

2. Durable Powers of Attorney.

There are two different ones: a financial power of attorney and a health care power of attorney. These specify who you want to make your decisions when you can't speak for yourself.

3. Living Will.

In the living will you specify how you want to be cared for at the end of life when you can't speak for yourself.

4. Stand Alone HIPAA Release.

To deal with the pesky HIPAA or medical privacy laws, you want to have a stand alone HIPAA release so doctors and medical facilities know who they can speak with on your behalf.

5. Sync Titles and Beneficiary Designations.

To avoid having a joint tenancy title or bad beneficiary designation defeat your plan, make sure that these are synced with your new or updated plan.

Now when you tackle your resolution to get your will done, you know the five basic components necessary to complete that task.

Do well with your resolutions list and best wishes for success in 2017! 

Email me at: or call me at 303-688-3535 with any questions and to get help completing this critical item on your list!

Bernie Greenberg