Holiday Discussions You NEED to Have

By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President

Well, it’s the holidays, and likely be spending time with your family (for better or for worse!).  Oftentimes, the discussion will center around the kids in the family, the local sports teams and maybe even a little bit of politics.  You might even discuss health issues and concerns, especially regarding the senior members of your family.  Although we like to think happy thoughts during the holidays, I would suggest that spend at least a few minutes with your family members discussing your estate plan and your desires for healthcare decisions in the event you aren’t able to make them for yourself.  It doesn’t have to be a downer and it doesn’t have to bring tears to everyone’s eyes.  But, it can provide a great deal of relief and call into mind the more important things in life, especially at a time when everyone is busy with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

If you have an estate plan, you likely have made designations of certain family members who you want to make decisions for you in the event that you cannot.  Generally, these decisions take two forms:  financial or property decisions and then […]

By | November 28th, 2017|0 Comments

7 Biggest Mistakes Federal Employees Make in Estate Planning

 

As federal employees you have kept us safe, gotten us educated, and kept us moving. Please remember, that while you are working hard to take care of us, you also need to take care of your loved ones with a good estate plan. The following list of mistakes is not in any particular order or importance or priority.

Mistake #1: Failing to make a plan.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. You specifically, NEED an estate plan.

Mistake #2: Failing to update your plan.

If you have a will, you are head and shoulders ahead of your peers, but if your plan isn’t complete or isn’t up to date it may not do what you need it to.

Mistake #3: Underestimating the power of trusts.

A trust is a powerful tool. It can avoid probate, it can make sure you don’t have to call 18 different places to make sure your beneficiary designations are up to date, and in some cases it can protect your property from creditors AND stupidity.

Mistake #4: Not understanding the tax consequences of your actions.

There are some actions you can take in an attempt to provide for your loved ones are provided for can create a huge tax bill and a […]

By | August 19th, 2016|0 Comments

Top Estate Planning Mistake #8: Not Updating Your Estate Plan

Going to have an attorney create an estate plan for you and your family can be hard.  There are psychological barriers, financial barriers, time constraint barriers, and leg work barriers.  Looking at all the things that make it difficult to go from “I really need to get an estate plan in place” to “Look at my shiny new estate plan” I understand why I talk to so many responsible people who have never found the time or motivation to come and talk to me about their estate planning needs.  That being said, I will likely never understand who folks who have succeeded in the original process, fail in the upkeep tasks to ensure that the plan they have created and paid for does what they need it to do.

I can’t tell you how many times I have a conversation where I relay that I am an estate planning attorney, and the other person tells me, “I am so glad I had my estate plan done, it’s such a relief knowing that those things are taken care of”.  I hear those words and I am instantly overtaken with conflict.  On the one hand, I want to tell them that they have […]

By | July 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

Top Estate Planning Mistake #9: Putting your child’s name on the deed

We make mistakes, as people that fact is one of our defining characteristics.  The secret to being successful is:  (1) learning from your mistakes to ensure you don’t make the same one twice, and (2) learning from other people’s mistakes so you don’t have to make the same one once.  Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at the top 10 mistakes that people make with estate planning in the hopes that we can support each other to learn from the mistakes of others, so they stay ONLY the mistakes of others.

Top Estate Planning Mistake #9:  Putting your child’s name on the deed

Land is a strange thing in the eyes of the law.  Really, all property in the world can be classified into two groups:  (1) Real estate, and (2) everything else in the world.  Because land is different, a lot of us feel a special connection with our real estate and we want to make sure that the “family home” stays in the family.  Even folks who don’t do any other types of estate planning at all will often try to do something to provide for the way any real estate they own should pass.

Many times, I […]

By | June 21st, 2016|0 Comments