A Respectful Deference to Elders Curdles Into a Fight Over Assets

This NY Times article from late November focuses on a film, “Black Heirlooms” that describes a family dispute over a relatively modest amount of money that ended up tearing the filmmaker’s family apart. Besides the strained family relationships, the article mentions that “money goes to lawyers that could have gone to heirs.” That sentence resonated with

February 28th, 2014|Tags: , , , , |

Focusing on the Human Element of Estate Planning

This NY Times article - about estate planners who focus on a more holistic approach to planning than those who laser in almost exclusively on tax strategies and savings – really resonated with me. I often describe my sweet spot as working with “Millionaire Next Door”-type families and helping provide a bridge between legal issues and

7 Tips From Philip Seymour Hoffman, Gandolfini, & Other Celeb Estates

What do Philip Seymour Hoffman, James Gandolfini, Heath Ledger, and Amy Winehouse have in common? Unfortunately, two things: an unexpected and early demise and the other -- problematic estate issues. This Forbes article from earlier this year provides some key lessons to take away from these celebrities’ untimely passings. There are numerous stories about families having

Money Stumbles For You To Avoid

Consumer Reports magazine highlights the top “7 money stumbles to avoid,” and lists “not updating your [estate plan] and beneficiaries” as the number one stumble. The article highlights CR’s finding that 86% of respondents hadn’t updated their estate planning documents or beneficiary designations within the previous five years and then talks about situations in which that

The Talk You Didn’t Have With Your Parents Could Cost You

This New York Times article does a good job of highlighting a bad-case scenario where there wasn’t enough communication about financial affairs between a mother and her daughters. Although it can often be difficult, I almost always encourage my clients to talk with their adult children about their estate plan and their wishes. Often, we will

February 8th, 2013|

More Heirs Wait as Wills Dole Out Money Slowly

A recent Reuters article explored the increasing phenomenon of parents delaying distribution of their loved ones inheritance – even after the parents have passed. I’ve seen this take place in my own practice – most parents are not comfortable with the idea of their children having full access to significant funds until after the age of

February 8th, 2013|

The Good News and The Real News

For those of you who follow such things, the passing of the 2013 Tax Act – which established a $5.25M per person estate tax exemption (indexed for inflation) was welcome news for higher net worth families. But estate planning and financial professionals warn (as illustrated in this NY Times article titled “Estate Planning Remains a Moving

February 2nd, 2013|

Digital Assets

An article on Wall Street Journal has this advice to give: “With Estate Planning, Don’t Forget Virtual Assets.” Failing to include provisions for virtual assets in a will could lead to real-world losses if the surviving spouse or beneficiaries are unable to access the deceased’s online accounts. Here are just a few samples of the digital

August 31st, 2012|Tags: , , , , , |