Articles

POD / TOD Accounts are NOT the Answer

The articles and commentary are endless about the fact that Prince did not have a Will even though he was reportedly worth zillions of dollars and had serious “health issues” (at least issues considered serious by his attorney, according to a recent news article). One article “You might not have Prince’s ‘Pop Life' — but you should have a will" in The Washing… Read More
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What Are the Advantages of Utilizing a Revocable Trust as Part of Your Estate Plan?

The revocable (so-called “living”) trust affords another option for the transfer of assets upon death. There are several pros and cons to using a trust rather than a will as your primary estate planning document. A revocable trust can act as a will substitute and in many cases can avoid the need for probating your estate. Much has been written recently on the use of tr… Read More
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Categories: Trusts

How Assets are Titled is Extremely Important!

Recently, I learned a very important lesson: it’s very important to know how our estate planning clients have their assets titled. My lesson? Advise my clients early and often that if the client decides to change the “ownership” of an asset (whether by adding another person to a checking account so that the person can pay bills or by filling out paperwork so that the… Read More
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Financial Elder Abuse: What’s Going On in America?

I am hearing and reading more and more stories about financial abuse of elderly people and a recent article in The Washington Post (Thursday, May 12th) gives me even greater concern. The story reports how “nurses” hired through a reputable agency nonetheless turned out to be crooks, at least based upon the allegations in a complaint filed against the agency and the ind… Read More
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The Importance of Understanding Beneficiary Designation Forms

If you have minor children who are to benefit from assets devised by a beneficiary designation, it’s important to have a mechanism whereby the minor child’s interest in the asset is protected and available for the minor child’s support. This requires careful planning. Read More
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Why Does a Personal Representative / Executor Need an Attorney?

Serving as Personal Representative (sometimes called “executor”) of someone’s probate estate is an honor, of course, but the job can be fraught with complications and pitfalls. Even though the probate process in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia is relatively simple, below are listed some of the most common mistakes made by people who try to go it alone… Read More
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Protect Yourself in Case of Incapacity

Have you thought about preparing a power of attorney document to give a family member or friend power to handle your financial affairs if you are unable to do so because of a disability? Almost all of us have thought about the need to do advance medical directives because of the Terri Schiavo case. But have you thought about the need to prepare a power of attorney document… Read More
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Categories: Power of Attorney

Important Considerations in Creating a Trust

The person who creates and funds the trust is called the “Settlor” or “Grantor”. If you are the person creating the trust, then you should understand why a trust is suitable for your needs. What are your reasons for creating the trust and what are your goals in having the trust in place and funded? Make sure that the person drafting the trust understands and docume… Read More
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Categories: Trusts

How is Your IRA Handled After Your Death?

Distribution of your IRA after your death should be determined by a beneficiary designation form prepared by you, the account owner. It is not governed by your Last Will and Testament (unless you fail to prepare a beneficiary designation form because often your “probate estate” is the default beneficiary in accordance with the provisions of the agreement that u… Read More
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Financial Information Checklist

In these troubled times, it’s important to prepare a checklist of critical financial information about yourself, so your family and loved ones won’t be burdened at a time of crisis. This information should be kept somewhere safe, yet accessible. Don’t keep it in a safety deposit box, but do keep it somewhere secure (for example, with your attorney or your… Read More
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