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Iden Law Offices News and Articles

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Avoiding Probate: Debunking Common Myths

You likely know that probate administration is expensive, time consuming and public. Yet, there are commonly held misconceptions surrounding this topic which lead many to make uniformed decisions resulting in the need to have an estate probated. While the best way to avoid probate is to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney, let’s take a look at just a few probate and estate planning myths:

I’ll leave my home to my children through a will to avoid probateThis is the most common of all the estate planning myths!  The truth is that inherited property cannot be retitled, or sold, without the participation and approval of the probate court, which requires probate administration for the deceased. 

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Talking About Death

Sooner or later we all die.   It will happen to me, and as upsetting as it may be to think about, it will happen to you, too.  It’s a fact.   We don’t know when or how death will occur. We hope the end comes peacefully when we are very old, surrounded by those we love, having lived a long and good life.  No one lives forever.  And although death is part of life, most people find the topic very difficult to think about and especially hard to discuss with others.

Talking about what will happen to your family when you pass away can be a very emotional subject.  And as with all emotionally-charged subjects, it is often easier to ignore.  Or think about later.   Is estate planning on your “to do” list?  Perhaps you are  superstitious.  Can just talking about something make it more likely to happen?  

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Friday, September 2, 2016

Simple Estate Planning You Can Do Yourself

Effective estate planning is more about advice and counsel than completing forms.  Downloading a fillable document seems like a very easy and low cost way to obtain a will, trust, durable power of attorney, or other estate planning document.  However, keep in mind that estate planning without an attorney’s counsel may end up hurting your family at the very time you need your estate plan to work.  So while we caution against do-it-yourself estate planning, there are definitely steps you can take by yourself.   One of the simplest and most important things that you should do, no matter your age or marital status, is to verify that assets and beneficiaries are properly titled, and that all beneficiaries are identified. 

Let’s consider the following all-too-common scenarios, based on recent calls to our office.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Finding the Estate Planning Attorney Who's Right For You

Selecting an estate planning attorney can be overwhelming.  Here are some pointers to help you make the right choice.

Qualifications.  It is fair to question an attorney as to how they developed their estate planning expertise.  Often attorneys who are transitioning, or trying to expand their practice, present themselves as an estate planning attorney although they might have little experience.  Ask how many trusts have   you drafted?  Do you hold any advanced degrees?  To which professional associations do you belong?  Keep in mind that it is impossible to be an expert in all areas of the law.


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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Planning for the Unexpected

It’s Tuesday morning.  Your husband just left for a business trip to Venezuela.  In the family room, 2-year old Sophia is amusing herself while waiting for Jennifer, the 16-year old new neighbor who has been babysitting a few mornings this summer.  It’s your special time to run errands or get in some exercise.  Today is the perfect day to try out a new pair of rollerblades. 

Lace up.  Ear buds in.  Sunscreen on.  You tell Jennifer you’ll be back in about 90 minutes and off you go to the local park.  It’s unusually quiet this morning.  While skating along at a fast pace, you hit a rock , lose your balance and fly wildly out of control into a swale of  high grass,  where you hit your head hard and everything goes dark...

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Starting the Planning Process: The Three Ps of Estate Planning

Most clients who initiate estate planning do so to provide for their loved ones’ needs, and to avoid burdening their family after they are gone with probate and administration expense and delay. But, no matter your reason for initiating estate planning, it is imperative that you understand what your options are, and how thoughtful estate planning can work for you.   Your plan may be simple (just a will), or more complex (a revocable living trust).   Let’s examine the estate planning process by exploring the areas we refer to as the three Ps of estate planning.

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Providing for Minor Children

Are you a parent with minor children?  Your days are busy and your life is full.  Probably the last thing you want to imagine is the possibility that someday you may leave for work in the morning, and not return.  Who will take care of your children if something happens to you?  Or to both of you?

Have you even thought about a will or trust?  Perhaps that’s something you’d consider when you’re older.  You’re young, healthy, and, of course, you plan to be around for a long time: to see your children finish college, to walk your daughter down the aisle, to grow old with your spouse or partner, and to play with your grandchildren.  But we are reminded on a daily basis that life doesn’t always follow a plan.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Estate Planning for Your Unique Family

Estate planning is not just about documents.  It’s not about a filling out a form, or completing a checklist.  And contrary to some advertising you may have seen, it’s not a do-it yourself project. The planning process requires a thoughtful discussion with an attorney who specializes in estate planning to identify areas of concern and vulnerability, followed by the design and implementation of a plan with customized documents to address your unique needs and concerns.  The plan can be very simple or more complex, depending on one’s particular situation.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Celebrity Estate Planning Blunders

Let's take a trip down memory lane to highlight a few “celebrity estate planning blunders.”  While you may not immediately relate to these specific celebrity situations, there are lessons that apply to current estate planning choices. 

The legendary actress Marilyn Monroe is making more money than ever although she died over 50 years ago!  Marilyn’s will left most of her estate to her beloved acting coach Lee Strasberg, who died in 1982, leaving his interest to his third wife Anna.  Anna Strasberg hired a company to license Monroe’s products, and auctioned off many belongings, including the dress she wore to JFK’s birthday celebration for more than $1 million.  Although she received millions of dollars from Marilyn’s estate, the two had never met.  Marilyn’s plan should have provided for alternate beneficiaries if her chosen one did not survive.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Estate Planning for Blended Families

Yours, mine, and ours.   Sadly, in America the average marriage lasts only seven years, with one out of two marriages ending in divorce.  As over seventy-five percent of divorced individuals eventually choose to remarry, blended families now outnumber traditional nuclear families.  And while this family dynamic has become the new normal, it’s a far cry from what was portrayed on the classic television series, “The Brady Bunch.” 

If you are part of a blended family, you face some unique estate planning challenges.  These include providing for your current spouse if he or she survives you, and making sure that when your spouse dies your children will be taken care of.  Obviously, after the first spouse passes, the family dynamic can change dramatically; what the surviving spouse ends up doing with his or her assets can often be unpredictable.  As we all know, blood is thicker than water.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Trust Funding Q & A

What does it mean to fund a trust, and why is it so important?   Once you create a revocable living trust there is one last step that should not be overlooked: funding your trust.  Trust funding  is the process of retitling certain assets to name your trust as the new owner or, in some cases,  naming  the trust as the primary or contingent beneficiary of your assets. Unfortunately, many people who invest time and money into creating a revocable living  trust  fail to do this. With some important exceptions, all of your real property, personal property and business interests should be funded to your trust.   If your trust is not properly funded, many assets may still have to go through a probate proceeding after your death before eventually  reaching your trust and its beneficiaries.

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| Phone: 954-885-0085

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