Do I Need a Trust if I Own Out of State Real Estate?

At WM Law, we like to use the KISS principle when it comes to developing estate plans. That is, we like to set up an estate plan in the simplest form that can achieve the goals of our clients.  Consequently, most of the estate plans that I create don’t include a trust.  I have set up plenty of trusts, of course, but I have found that most people don’t actually need trust.  I feel that trusts add unnecessary complexity to an estate plan if they are not needed, plus, even more concerning, they create a false sense of security.  If I can create an estate plan without a trust that still accomplishes the client’s goals, that’s what we do.

The recommendation to forego a trust oftentimes surprises people. One of the most common concerns I hear is that the client owns real estate in another state, oftentimes a vacation home. They have heard that if you own a property in another state, then that property requires a trust.  Sometimes, that is exactly the case, but that is due to the laws of the […]

By | February 3rd, 2022|0 Comments

¿Necesito un fideicomiso si soy dueño de bienes raíces fuera del estado?

En WM Law, nos gusta usar el principio KISS cuando se trata de desarrollar planes patrimoniales. Es decir, nos gusta establecer un plan patrimonial de la forma más sencilla que pueda lograr los objetivos de nuestros clientes. En consecuencia, la mayoría de los planes patrimoniales que realizo no incluyen un fideicomiso. He establecido muchos fideicomisos, por supuesto, pero he descubierto que la mayoría de las personas en realidad no necesitan un fideicomiso. Siento que los fideicomisos agregan una complejidad innecesaria a un plan patrimonial si no son necesarios y, lo que es aún más preocupante, crean una falsa sensación de seguridad. Si puedo crear un plan patrimonial sin un fideicomiso que aún cumpla con los objetivos del cliente, eso es lo que hacemos.

La recomendación de renunciar a un fideicomiso a menudo sorprende a la gente. Una de las preocupaciones más comunes que escucho es que el cliente posee bienes raíces en otro estado, a menudo una casa de vacaciones. Han escuchado que si posee bienes raíces en otro estado, entonces esos bienes inmuebles requieren un fideicomiso. A veces, ese es exactamente el caso, pero eso se debe a las leyes del estado donde se encuentra el inmueble, no solo porque […]

By | February 3rd, 2022|0 Comments

A Little Bit of Preparation Goes a Long Way

No one really likes to think about what will happen when they finally pass away. However, a little bit of planning and preparation can help your family out immensely. One of the ways to make that inevitable day easier on your loved ones is to set up an estate plan. But, estate planning may seem daunting and bring up a lot of questions. What is estate planning exactly? What if I don’t have anything to give to my family? How is my family supposed to know what my final wishes and arrangements are? How will minors in my family be treated? What will happen to my prized collection of Kansas City Chiefs memorabilia? The questions can seem endless. […]

By | November 23rd, 2021|0 Comments

Estate Planning for New Parents or Parents-to-Be

If you have recently become new parents or parents-to-be, the last thing on your mind is probably doing estate planning.  After all, you’re young, probably healthy, and all of your energy is focused on that new baby.  Why in the world should you worry about preparing an estate plan now – that’s something your parents or your parents’ parents have to deal with, right?

In some ways, estate planning is more vital to a young couple than it is to an older couple.  For the first time in your life, you have or soon will have a completely helpless human being who is totally dependent upon you for his or her care.  And what happens if something happens to you or your significant other or both?

Financial Responsibility of New Parents or Parents-to-Be

There are the financial aspects to address as new parents or parents-to-be, such as determining and obtaining an appropriate amount of life insurance.  And saving for that inevitable college education.  That’s something a financial planner can assist you with, and it is equally important.  But, estate planning deals with the legal […]

By | October 15th, 2021|0 Comments

Dealing with a relative who died without a will


By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President

One of the most considerate things you can do for your family is to make certain that you have an up-to-date estate plan, even if you are in perfectly good health.  It saves a tremendous amount of cost and stress and even heartache to have your affairs in order in the event you pass away unexpectedly.  This blog is written for those people who have unfortunately had a loved one pass away recently, and to make matter worse, that loved one did not have an estate plan.  If you are the person who has the responsibility of wrapping up that loved one’s estate, you are likely feeling overwhelmed at the moment.  You are probably feeling a little nervous as well, especially if there are other family members who are depending upon you to liquidate the estate and share the proceeds with them.  If not done properly, you could even find yourself dragged into court to answer as to what happened to the decedent’s property.

Many times, there are rumors that a deceased family member had assets worth far more than they actually were.  For example, a family member who always lived in a nice house […]

By | September 24th, 2019|0 Comments

Three Key Suggestions to Avoid Disputes in your Estate Planning Process

By Doug Sisson, W M Law Paralegal

Your beneficiaries’ fondness of one another may be out of your control, in life or death. With that in mind, the following tips and considerations will help you avoid future litigation, or at least minimize it to avoid that steep attorney bill many fail to account for:  “The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” – Robert Frost

  1. Plan when you are healthy 

When you fall ill, all of you mental and physical resources should be devoted to getting better, not drafting an estate plan.  One should devise an estate plan and ponder their family dynamics while you are well and of sound mind.  If you wait until you fall ill to draft your plan, it may be poorly drafted, or may not be completed at all.  Devising a plan while you are well also relieving the burden from family members who may be left guessing your final wishes or medical decisions.

  1. Seek quality independent legal advice free from undue influence

Online resources (such as this blog) can aid in a rough idea of what you will need, but not much more than that.  DIY estate plans can also create a huge liability as they […]

By | March 14th, 2018|0 Comments

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