Who's the New Guy?
Most of the couples we work with share a concern that is often overlooked in estate planning. What happens when one spouse dies before the other? How can we be sure that the deceased spouse's assets remain available only for the surviving spouse and children?
Do You Pass the Goat Test?
One of the most overlooked provisions in living trusts and financial and medical powers of attorney is how to determine your incapacity. This is a crucial issue in anyone's estate plan, but it's usually ignored or treated like an afterthought.
Gift, Loan, or Advance: What's the Difference?
You've created an estate plan through a will or a trust, but you may still intend to make distributions to your loved ones during your lifetime. You may not have considered it, but these lifetime distributions can create some problems later on. To save time, money, and prevent suspicion, it is important that you clarify now whether these distributions are gifts, loans, or advancements.
How to Talk to Your Estate Planning Attorney
Whenever a new client schedules their first consultation with us, they ask if there is are any documents, financial statements, or other materials they need to bring, or if we require potential clients to first fill out a complicated intake form. This is a reasonable question. We try our best to make our initial estate planning consultation as simple as possible, but we understand it can still seem daunting, especially if you are starting from scratch.
What do you owe the next generation?
Many of our clients feel that while leaving an inheritance to their children or grandchildren might be nice, they feel no sense of obligation to do so. Others feel it is their responsibility to leave at least some of their assets to the next generation as a "leg up" in the world.
"I don't have much." Well then, planning is even more important.
Large or small, castle or tiny house, you have an Estate. The size of your estate may affect your goals and which tools will best accomplish your goals, but everyone needs to do some form of planning for their estate. Sometimes when we say this to folks they respond “but I don’t have a lot of assets.” We’ve actually found that those with a relatively “small” estate often derive the greatest comparative value from estate planning.
What even IS estate planning?
A little while ago we posted an explainer of what an “estate” even is. So, now that we’ve all read that, the next big question is, “What is estate planning?” Most people think of estate planning as “what happens to my stuff when I die.” But it starts far, far earlier than that.
Estate Planning Rewrites: Roger Rabbit
As a refresher for those who haven’t seen Who Framed Roger Rabbit? in a while: Part of Los Angeles is a cartoon animation called Toontown, filled with cartoon actors (“Toons”) who star in real live-action films and live amongst real people. Toontown is owned by businessman Marvin Acme, who is tragically murdered, and Roger Rabbit—one of the biggest Toons in the biz—is the prime suspect.
Creating Your Family Bank
Everyone needs estate planning. Everyone. Every. One. But not everyone needs the same estate planning. There are some tools that everyone should have - like a power of attorney and advance directive. There are some tools that many people should have - like a last will and testament and revocable living trust. And then there are those more specialized tools that fewer people need; yet, for those families that need them, they can make a critical and positive difference for many future generations.
Hello. We're Tallgrass. Nice to meet you.
Please allow us to introduce ourselves. We are a team of attorneys who imagine a different way to work and help clients. We are a work in progress, just like you and your family. And here are a few things that drive how we work and where we're headed.
So, you're having a baby.
Was it planned or a surprise? Is it your first or your last? Are you having a girl or a boy? No matter what, I can tell you one thing. You're having a responsibility. I know you know that. I know you're reading or have already read all of the latest parenting books and mommy blogs (or avoiding them like the plague).
Myth: I'm single, so I don't need an estate plan.
People have a lot of reasons to avoid estate planning, like, they don't want to budget for it, it seems complicated, they believe (wrongly) that everything will work out without a plan, or they just don't like thinking about death, disability, family issues, and money. One frequent reason comes from single (or unmarried but coupled) people who think planning is only necessary for married people. (Similarly, married people without children assume planning is only necessary if they have children.)
The Plan: A Blueprint for Getting Started
Just because you're young and broke doesn't mean you don't need to plan for the unexpected. In fact, BECAUSE you are young a broke you may have to solve a few problems that people with families and who are more established in their careers don't have to think as much about.
Blended: Two Important Considerations for "Step" Family Estate Planning
Roughly a third to half of the families we work with are "blended," meaning some or all of the children - whether minors or adults - came into the new family with the spouses. Some families blend easily; others, not so much. Regardless, when it comes to estate planning, blended families have a few special considerations. If you are in a blended family, here are two things you need to discuss with your spouse and attorney.
Procrastination: It's Not a Matter of Time
If you are not someone who struggles with procrastination, congratulations. If you are like me, however, there always seems to be a list of things you just can't bring yourself to get around to. You tell yourself you'll do it tomorrow, because tomorrow, magically, you will "feel like it" or you will have time or the stars will otherwise align.
Resolution: 4 Reasons Why This is the Year We Do Our Estate Plan
A good estate plan clarifies your wishes and values. If you are temporarily or permanently disabled, who should be in charge of medical decisions about you? What types of decisions should they make? And who should be in charge of your finances? How should they use your money? Should they give to your church? Should they take care of another family member?
Do your retirement and estate plans play well together?
If you're saving for retirement, you've likely got an IRA, 401k, or some other type of "qualified retirement plan." In these types of plans, your money grows without incurring capital gains taxes, and, depending on the specific account, your contributions may not be taxed until you withdraw them (after a specific age).
Digital Estate Planning
Your digital estate is everything you have a right to that exists in digital form. This includes your usernames and passwords for all of your social media accounts, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It also includes your online access to your bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and other financial records. AND it even includes the digital versions of important personal, legal, and administrative documents that might also exist as hard copies.