The only guarantee we have in life is that we’re all going to die someday. If we’re lucky enough, we’ll do this when we’re old, slipping peacefully away in our sleep. But, inevitably, it will happen to each of us regardless of age or health. Unfortunately, too many people pass away without addressing their estate planning and die without leaving a will. Dying without a will, referred to as intestate, is just one of the issues that can come from not addressing your estate planning while you’re alive.
If you're in the middle of a divorce or about to start on one, you're well aware of the roller coaster ride you signed on for, or your spouse signed you on for, and now you're along for the ride whether you wanted to be on it or not. After long, busy days, I often plopped myself down on the couch, not yet ready for bed but exhausted. I needed to unwind, and I found a great way to do that was to grab a glass of wine and a bowl of popcorn and watch movies.
Once you have established your estate plan, it is important to ensure it remains sound by revisiting it at regular intervals or at key life events. One important reason is that if you fail to account for the death of someone named as a beneficiary in your will, upon your death, your estate may face significant problems as a result. Here is what can happen.
As if co-parenting during a pandemic wasn't complicated enough, a lot of parents have a new worry to add to their plates: a widely controversial COVID-19 vaccine.
According to researchers, imposter syndrome or imposter phenomenon (IP) "is a motivational disposition in which persons who have achieved some level of success feel like fakes or imposters." It's a behavior that describes those who, despite achieving high levels of success on standardized tests, earning advanced degrees, and receiving professional recognition for their accomplishments from colleagues or organizations, still fail to experience a sense of success internally. And I see it affect people during the divorce process all the time.
Are you one of the millions of individuals who moved to Washington from another state? Has the pandemic allowed you to work remotely from any location? Whether you've already made a move to Washington or are considering an upcoming relocation, you likely created a checklist that includes updating your address, obtaining a new driver's license, and possibly purchasing an umbrella. Unfortunately, many people fail to add another line item to the checklist: ensuring they update their estate-planning documents.
You'd be surprised at how what you say and how you say it can make or break a discussion. As a family and divorce lawyer, writer, communicator, and a once-divorced (I've since remarried) co-parenting mom myself, I know how the slightest alteration in my speech can produce a different outcome in a conversation. Those "alternative endings," in turn, can do a lot of damage by derailing my day, my week, and, most significantly, negatively impact my children's lives in a very profound and direct manner. That's why I'm careful about how I speak to my ex. And he's not even a bad guy.
Now more than ever, especially under the stress of the ongoing pandemic, effective co-parenting strategies may be needed more than ever before. A recent study suggests that divorces have decreased over the past year, contrary to what past predictions suggested. The implication is there are many households currently in crisis, with dissatisfied couples on the verge of divorce, who will need guidance in the coming months as the vaccination effort takes effect and the world emerges from the COVID crisis.
When it comes to end-of-life planning and their estate, most people don’t even think about their digital footprint. In its simplest form, a “digital asset” is a non-physical asset that exists online in electronic format. Most clients preserve digital assets either for sentimental or financial value.
This article is the third part of a three-part series on probate. If someone dies owing a debt, does the debt go away when they die? No. Generally, the deceased person’s estate is responsible for paying any unpaid debts. The estate’s finances are handled by the personal representative, executor, or administrator. That person pays any debts from the money in the estate, not from their own money.
You're getting divorced, and it's the first time you've been single in years. You're thinking about starting to date but are wondering whether this is a good idea or not. You anticipate your divorce taking a while, and worry about putting your dating life on hold for months, even years. So how do you decide if now's the right time to dip your toe in the dating pool?
This article is the second part of a three-part series on probate. A lot of confusion can occur following a loved one's death. Fortunately, going through probate is a process with very specific steps and need not be confusing or complicated. After the executor's appointment, the following will occur.
Valentine's Day is coming up, and you may already be thinking about popping the question, or perhaps you are engaged and wondering what to give your soon-be-be-spouse. Why not consider a prenuptial agreement or "prenup"? Maybe it is not as idyllic as picking out wedding décor, but a prenup is one of the best marriage-related decisions you will ever have the opportunity to make.
This article is the first part of a three-part series on probate. The most common misunderstanding I run into in estate planning is that people believe having a will allows them to avoid probate. That is not the case. Having a will requires probate to implement the deceased person's written intentions. But probate is not the end of the world.
Regardless of age, a prenuptial agreement can protect your interests before marriage. Getting a prenup has nothing to do with your outlook on marriage or how committed you are to your spouse. On the contrary, getting a prenup speaks to how much you value a marriage where both partners feel comfortable knowing they're protected — in love and under the law.
Far too many families end up fighting, or at least experiencing tension, over a family inheritance, but it does not have to be that way. Having counseled families for years, we offer the following advice to help your family avoid fighting over your property — while you are here and after you die.
You're at lunch with your friends. Or on the phone with your mother. You get to talking about what a jerk your spouse is and how you wish you weren't with them anymore. You rattle off a laundry list of reasons why you can't stand them. In isolation, none of the reasons seem too bad. Taken together, the thought of this person walking through the door at night sickens you to the point of contempt. And you haven't even gotten to the quality of your sex life — or lack of it.
With the new year comes resolutions, specific intentions to change our lives for the better. For some, that includes getting a divorce. In the U.S., divorce filings typically increase between 25 percent to 30 percent in January. It makes the concept of "Divorce Month" a recorded phenomenon and not just another theme to describe January on social media. But why the sudden rise in divorces?
Many of us love to make New Year's resolutions. So, if estate planning is on your resolution list, here are some suggestions for getting started, no matter what you do or don't have in place now.
I'm thankful that my kids got most of what they wanted for Christmas from my ex and me growing up. The same went for my second husband's kids. And it wasn't because we went on a shopping spree to fill their wishlist to Santa. What we gave them didn't cost a dime. And that was the gift of choice.
As an elder law attorney, I frequently advise adult children who suddenly realize that they must step in to help their aging parents. Perhaps mom is not making sound decisions regarding her medical care, or Dad is showing signs of early dementia. Unfortunately, many seniors are reluctant to plan for this possibility or even discuss it with their close family members. When families delay talking about these matters, the results can be stressful and costly. Failing to preplan can have serious consequences both while an elder is still alive and after they have died. Unfortunately, once a family realizes they urgently need legal documents to help an aging loved one, it's often too late.
There is one guarantee in life that none of us can escape: We will all die someday. If we're lucky enough, we'll do this when we're old, slipping peacefully away in our sleep, but inevitably, it will happen to each of us. Unfortunately, too many of us pass away without leaving a will or other instructions to our loved ones to speak for us when we no longer can, and this can cause hardship and stress for friends and family at an already difficult time.
It's the question Phil Collins posed in court last month after his ex-wife, Orianne Cevey, and her new husband, Thomas Bates, refused to vacate the singer's Miami Beach Mansion, estimated at 40 million dollars. Vanity Fair reported that although Collins holds the property in a company owned by him, Cevey claims she has an ownership interest. Taking legal matters into her hands, Cevey and her new hubby have denied her ex-husband access by changing the locks and alarm codes and otherwise blocking Collins and his representatives from entering.
COVID-19 infections are surging here in Washington and across the U.S. Experts predict infections will continue to rise, and many more people will become ill and require hospitalization in the coming months. CNN states more than 60,000 American's will die from COVID-19 over the next few weeks. Therefore, it is crucial to protect yourself and prepare in advance if you become ill and unable to care for yourself. And the best way to do that is to put together a COVID-19 emergency packet as part of your estate plan.