Three Health Care Documents You Need to Include in Your Estate Plan

Decisions about your health care are some of the most important you will ever make.

Don’t put off making plans until you are unable to assert your wishes. Including health care documents in your estate plan can ensure your decisions are always your choice, even if you cannot speak for yourself.

Health care documents that clearly state your wishes should be included in your comprehensive estate plan. Here are three documents you need to include in your estate plan to ensure your wishes are respected:

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Is Your Family “Too Young” to Need an Estate Plan? 

Young families face different estate planning needs and challenges than those who have had a long life behind them. While established families may be concerned about what will happen to their family when they pass on, young, growing families can be more focused on what is happening to their family in the present. And you even may find it hard to justify planning for an “estate” you haven’t yet established!

But here’s the thing … if you have children, or anyone else you care about, you may not have an “estate”, but you do need estate planning, if you want to ensure your loved ones wouldn’t be stuck in court and/or conflict, if anything happens to you.

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The Real Cost To Your Family of Failed Estate Planning: Not Updating Your Plan

If you’re like most people, you probably view estate planning as a burdensome necessity—just one more thing to check off of life’s endless “to-do” list.

You may shop around and find a lawyer to create planning documents for you, or you might try creating your own DIY plan using online documents. Then, you’ll put those documents into a drawer, mentally check estate planning off your to-do list, and forget about them.

The problem is, your estate plan is not a one-and-done type of deal. 

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The Real Cost To Your Family: Having No Estate Plan At All

When it comes to putting off or refusing to create an estate plan, your mind can concoct all sorts of rationalizations: “I won’t care because I’ll be dead,” “I’m too young,” “That won’t happen to me,” or “My family will know what to do.”

But these thoughts all come from a mix of egoic pride, denial, and above all, we imagine, a lack of real education about estate planning and the consequences to your family. Once you understand exactly what planning is designed to prevent and support, you’ll realize there really is no acceptable excuse for not having a plan, provided you are able to plan and truly care about your family’s experience after you die or if you become incapacitated.

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When to Update My Estate Plan

Is it time to update your Estate Plan.

There are two major mistakes in Estate Planning. The first is failing to have a plan at all; the second is failing to update it. Since no one has the crystal ball to forecast when your time will come, your plan should always be reflect your current circumstances, wishes and desires. Since life so fluid, these three elements are constantly shifting.

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How to Create a Pet Trust

There is no doubt we are a nation of pet lovers. Unfortunately, the law as it is currently written views pets as property, so providing for your pet in your will won’t work. So how do you protect your favorite fur-person? With a pet trust.

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Erica Endykepet, trust, trustee
Life Planning Documents

Most often associate “estate planning” with death. Specifically, what happens to assets after death. However, there are a few documents that are effective while you are living. In fact, they are only effective while you are living so that as soon as you die, they do too. These documents are used when you are physically incapable or unavailable to make decisions on your own. Since statistically speaking, you have more of a chance of becoming incapacitated than dying, these life planning tools are essential for everyone to have. 

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6 Steps to Select and Name the Right Guardians for Your Children—Part 1

One of your most important responsibilities as a parent is to select and legally document guardians for your children. This doesn’t mean just naming godparents or trusting that grandparents will step in if necessary. It means consciously deciding who would raise your children if you cannot. And then it means legally documenting your choices and making sure the people you’ve chosen know what to do if they’re ever called upon.

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Erica Endyke
The 4 Key Life Skills Your Children Need to Have Before They Inherit

Inherited wealth need not be “an albatross around the neck of the children” as Sting so succinctly put it when asked if he was leaving his wealth to his children.

His children will not see much of his millions, but not all wealthy parents feel the way he does. Many a great family fortune has been built by successive generations of the same family — and many lost as well. The difference is that successful families develop skills in the next generation for respecting, protecting and growing inherited wealth.

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4 Critical Planning Tasks to Complete Before Going on Vacation

Going on vacation entails lots of planning: packing luggage, buying plane tickets, making hotel reservations, and confirming rental vehicles. But one thing many people forget to do is plan for the worst. Traveling, especially in foreign destinations, means you’ll likely be at greater risk than usual for illness, injury, and even (wait for it…) death.

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Erica Endyke
5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Since estate planning involves thinking about death, many people put it off until their senior years or simply ignore it all together. I get it though. Procrastinating with planning is common; no one wants to think of death, so why would you spend time planning for it? But the hard to face truth is that we will all die at some point, and no one has the crystal ball to know when. How would you feel knowing that your failure to plan created major hardship, expense, and mess for the loved ones and assets you left behind? I guess that’s a rhetorical question since you won’t be around to know how you feel, so let’s turn the question around. How would you feel if you created a solid estate plan and knew your loved ones were always protected? Peace of mind, right?


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Erica Endyke
The Key Differences Between Wills and Trusts

When discussing estate planning, a Will is what most people think of first. Indeed, Wills have been the most popular method for passing on assets to heirs for hundreds of years. But Wills are not your only option, and in most cases, your worst option. That’s because if you rely on a will alone to pass on what matters, you’re guaranteeing your family must go to court when you die. And that is time consuming and expensive.

In contrast, other estate planning vehicles, such as Trusts, which used to be available only to the uber wealthy, are now being used by those of all income levels and asset values to keep their loved ones out of the court process.

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Erica Endyke
Don’t Forget to Include Your Digital Assets In Your Estate Plan—Part 2

If you’re like most people, you probably own numerous digital assets, some of which likely have significant monetary and/or sentimental value. Other types of online property may have no value for anyone other than yourself or be something you’d prefer your family and friends not access or inherit.

To ensure all of your digital assets are accounted for, managed, and passed on in exactly the way you want, you should take the following steps…

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