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Do You Know Where Your Parents’ Will or Trust Is?

If the answer to that question is, “N0!” you are in good company. A recent survey by Caring.com of 1,000 adults found that less than half of the adults surveyed (45.8%) knew where their parents’ documents were. When asked if they even knew whether or not their parents had…
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If You Are Named as Executor, Pay Attention

In today’s cautionary tale, Forbes published an article this week describing a case requesting $1.2 million refund on a bill from the IRS for penalties and interest resulting from the executor’s failure to file an estate tax return and pay taxes on time. The facts are messy,…
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Sometimes It is the Little Things: Arguing About Stuff

Estate planning is often motivated by the big things. I’m not getting philosophical here. Forget about life and death. On a practical level, what brings families into my office are often the big financial assets–the house, the brokerage accounts, the retirement assets, and a…
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Happy National Estate Planning Awareness Week!

Who knew?! I honestly had no idea that there was such a thing as National Estate Planning Awareness Week, but, in fact there is, and it’s the third week in October, established by House Resolution 1499 in 2008. When I worked in the US Senate, I was particularly thrilled by National Ice…
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Taking Parents Off the Hook

The New York Times published an interesting story this weekend on the expectations that parents and children have with respect to inheritances. The article summarized a study published in The Gerontologist last year, in which older adults and their children were polled on whether or not they…
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Summer Time Is Here: Estate Planning on the Run

Inevitably, in the summer months, I get phone calls from people who are about to take a trip somewhere, often within just a few days. Sometimes they have a Will or a trust that’s out of date; sometimes they have no estate planning documents at all; sometimes they have just…
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Lessons From Literature: War and Peace and Outdated Wills

I can’t help myself, I see estate planning angles everywhere. Welcome to a new, recurrent, feature of this blog: Lessons from Literature. Whenever I read a good book with an estate planning angle, I’ll share it with you here. Recently, as I listened to Tolstoy’s…
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Naming Guardians for Young Children

So many parents know they need to do an estate plan, but just avoid doing it. Often, what keeps them stuck is figuring out who to name as a guardian. But, here’s the thing, if you don’t name one, and a minor child is left without living parents, a judge is going to appoint…

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