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Lessons from Kobe

kobegianna.jpgOn January 26th, the world was shocked by the sudden and tragic passing of basketball legend, Kobe Bryant. Add to that tragedy, his 13-year-old daughter was with him, along with 7 others who were in that helicopter that crashed in California.

The #1 Mistake Families Are Making (and They Don't Even Know It!)

biggest-estate-planning-mistake-people-make.jpgHave you ever heard of the "silent killer"? It's called PROCRASTINATION. We all do it. Some more than others. However, procrastination is often times called the "silent killer" because too often people continually push off things they know they need to do and, unfortunately, it becomes too late before they realize they should have taken care of those things.I see this on a pretty consistent basis with some of the people that come in and meet with me. In fact, I just saw this the other week. I met with a couple that had come in and met with me about 10 years ago. They never ended up moving forward and finally came back in and decided to get a Living Trust. Thankfully, nothing happened to either of them during that time. But, that's not always the case. We have (more than I care to see) people come to see us when and it is too late to do anything-now someone is disabled and unable to make any decisions for themselves or the family comes in because someone has passed away. I understand, firsthand, that estate planning and making decisions about what will happen to your assets and your loved ones when something happens to you is certainly not an easy thing to do. It can sometimes bring up some uncomfortable or difficult conversations and decisions to be made. However, I will say that having these matters properly taken care of and managed now, particularly while you're able-bodied and mentally capable of making such decisions, is far easier on you (and the rest of your family) than if made out of necessity later on. The good news for those that have already set up an estate plan is that they have already taken the first step; however, a common mistake many people make is believing that having your estate plan prepared is a "one-and-done" type of transaction. Laws change, family dynamics change, your assets and properties may change over time, loved ones may pass away, and new ones may join the family. Like most of the valued things you cherish in your life, your estate plan also requires regular, on-going maintenance and care.

Estate Planning Considerations for the Modern, Blended Family

estate-planning-blended-family.jpgEstate planning has become a lot more challenging in more recent years. As the divorce rate has increased, so has the amount of second (and third) marriages. This brings about a number of dynamics with what is known as the modern "blended" family. This involves children from prior marriages or relationships, which can bring about a number of challenging and difficult decisions to be made during the estate planning process.

Going On Vacation? You Better Have These in Order!

estate-planning-checklist-vacation.jpgAre you planning on going on vacation this summer? While having your estate planning affairs in order is always a good idea, if you plan on traveling this summer, it is absolutely essential to be sure that they're in order should anything happen to you while you are away.Here is a quick checklist of estate planning documents that you should be sure have been recently prepared, reviewed or updated before you travel.

Important Estate Planning Documents for Your 18-Year-Old

estate-planning-documents-for-college-kids.jpgIf you have a high school senior in your home, then you are probably gearing up for a major event this month - - graduation! This summer will be a period of transition for your entire family. Whether your graduating senior is headed off to college in the fall or choosing a different life path, it still is a period of transition as your teenage child may be turning 18 (or perhaps already has turned 18!).And if you already didn't feel like you have lost some control of your child's life during their teenage years, when he or she turns 18, this will become legally true. This is when your child will be legally considered an adult and you, as parents, will lose certain rights you once had before.When most people think of estate planning, they typically associate it with something that you do when you are older or when you have money. However, when your child (or grandchild) turns 18 years old, they legally are given the right to govern their own life. This means that you, as a parent, lose your access to your child's financial, educational and medical information. This is great provided all is well and fine, but as life would have it, there are circumstances that a parent of an 18-year-old child would never even think about needing to go through that could happen. And that's what estate planning is all about. It is a means of handling situations that could happen.Below are two must-have estate planning documents that we recommend to every client of ours with an adult child (or grandchild):

The Top 5 Estate Planning Mistakes People Make

top-5-estate-planning-mistakes-people-make.jpgIt's a terrible tragedy to see people work hard, scrape and save their whole lives, then just throw away their money - - and their family's future - - when they die. Unfortunately, this happens all of the time!You may be wondering how this can happen to someone who diligently watches his or her financial affairs and successfully builds a good size estate. It's often just plain lack of knowledge. Think about it...most of our knowledge is acquired through experience. But, few of us have yet to experience the consequences of death (unless someone close to you has passed away and you've been involved in handling his or her estate).Here are just a handful of some of the most common mistakes that we see people make when it comes to managing their estate while they're alive (and how to avoid them!).

Estate plans should involve more than just wills and trusts

Another week has passed and another Hollywood figure has lost his life to an unexpected medical emergency. Director John Singleton was only 51 years old when he suffered a stroke and was taken off of life support by his loved ones. As he survived in a coma in a California hospital prior to his death, his mother and children were in court fighting over whom should be able to control his medical and financial affairs.

5 Reasons You May Need to Get Your Living Trust Reviewed

reasons-to-review-your-living-trust.jpgSo, you had your Living Trust prepared a few years ago. Bravo! You're already a lot further ahead than majority of other people in your same shoes. However, a big mistake people make when they've had a Living Trust prepared for them is that they have a tendency to think that it's a "one-and-done" type of plan. Like most things in this life, your Living Trust requires some maintenance to ensure that it works the way it was intended to when the time comes. Here are five reasons that you may need to have your Living Trust reviewed.

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