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Who’s the Client?

Posted by on Jun 18, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Who’s the Client?

Joseph and Janet are siblings who contacted me recently about amending their mother’s trust. Whenever I get a call like this, I wonder what is going on. It’s fine for an adult child to call an attorney,arrange for an appointment and even transport an elderly parent to my office. But we have an important concept in estate planning called: “who’s the client?”  It’s the elder, not the rest of the family. We meet first alone with the elderly client. The reason is that we have to make surean elderly client is capable of stating, in their own plain words, what they are trying to do with their...

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He Already Had a Fine Estate Plan, but…

Posted by on Dec 6, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

He Already Had a Fine Estate Plan, but…

Greg was a new client of mine this year. He should not have needed to come in but he did. In 2002, he had made a perfectly fine trust-based estate plan with another local attorney. It had a pour-over will, a power of attorney, and his attorney had retitled his home in his name as trustee of his trust. There was just one problem. Greg had not followed his lawyer’s instructions about making copies of his documents for his successor trustees, agents and executors. And, he had lost his original documents. He called up his old lawyer and found that the phone number was no longer in service. He...

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Don’t procrastinate!

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Don’t procrastinate!

Here is a true story for you with some details changed to protect the innocent. Jackie was a single, middle-aged woman without any living relatives.  She owned a house and needed to have it in a revocable living trust in order for her estate to not have to pass to friends by way of probate after her death.  But Jackie was loathe to even make a Will, even though her friends kept telling her she needed to do so. Jackie contacted her old friend Marie and asked her advice.  Marie is an attorney who works in personal injury law but doesn’t know the ins and outs of estate planning.  Marie advised...

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Holiday 2014 Greetings

Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Holiday 2014 Greetings

Whew! What a year. It has gone by so fast. It has been several months since I’ve been able to send out this newsletter. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy holiday season and coming New Year. I’ve worked very hard this year in my law practice and that’s why I’ve been remiss in sending out this newsletter. Some of you know that I was previously a published author, journalist and academic. Writing and publishing is something I’ve always loved. While I continue and will continue to practice estate planning law full-time for the long run, I have also returned to being...

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Estate planning—should you do it yourself?

Posted by on Jul 8, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Estate planning—should you do it yourself?

I like do-it-yourself projects as much as the next person. When it comes to professional services, such as legal work (or medical, dental, automobile, tax preparation and on and on) I go to people who know what they’re doing in these areas. Regina attended one of my public talks and then called me for an appointment to review her existing estate planning documents. When she got to my office, it turned out that she did not want to pay for services to have an attorney prepare her documents. She was convinced that this was all a big do-it-yourself project. She showed me her own handiwork in...

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Who gets my stuff?

Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Who gets my stuff?

How do we think about whom we want to name as beneficiaries for our Wills and Trusts? For some people, it’s a no-brainer. A couple or single person may have lovely, well-adjusted children, and there’s no question that they will inherit it all. But one of the not-so-secret features of our society is that we don’t all have lovely, well-adjusted children. Leo Tolstoy wrote that “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” I find that to be so true in estate planning. And, at the same time, I have some general advice. Gina is 80 years old and has had a lively,...

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