Monday, July 31, 2017

How to Incorporate Family Values in Your Estate Planning

Baby boomers know money isn’t the only important aspect of estate planning.
A 2012 study released by the Allianz Life Insurance, Co. showed baby boomers wanted to leave their family more than just financial assets. Researchers found baby boomers identified family values as some of the most important things to pass down to heirs.
In 2012’s economic climate, it’s no wonder family values imparted through stories, life lessons, and family possessions were at the top of the list. In an economic downturn, financial inheritances are more tenuous, unlike the abiding worth of family values. Thus, family values, tax-free of course, made the top of the list in importance.
But what is interesting is a similar study released by Allianz in 2005 which showed family values were also among the most important legacies boomers wanted to leave behind, even though the economy was more robust.
What these studies demonstrate is the enduring importance of family values, morals and meaningful possessions as part of a carefully crafted estate plan, regardless of the economic climate.
Do you have family values you wish to pass on? Of course you do. And yet you likely haven’t taken action to ensure the legacy you are leaving is the one you really want to leave behind.
Including family values in your estate plan can be easy, when it’s built into the process, though that is not the norm with most estate planning lawyers or with the DIY legal document services. Consider including written memoirs, video or audio recordings of family stories in your estate plan. These are the valuables most likely to be lost after your death. While your finances will be managed according to estate law, intangible values and lessons have no protection and are most often lost when you die.

Could you imagine how valuable it would be to hear your family history directly in the words of your grandparents, great-grandparents or even earlier generations right now?

If you want to pass down a truly holistic legacy, one that manages and preserves both your finances and your family values, start by coming in to meet with us for a Family Wealth Planning Session. As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we will guide you in creating a comprehensive estate plan that protects and preserves your family’s heritage. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what matters most to you and what you want to leave behind.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Commit to Your Estate Plan Before Committing to a Trip Away

If you are planning a vacation, you probably have a lot to prepare for before you get away. Between structuring your itinerary, getting plane tickets or train reservations, and booking hotels, creating an estate plan is probably not something you thought to add to your to-do list. But, think again and consider that now is the time to take action on this vital piece of your legal life planning.

If something were to happen to you while away on vacation, whether an illness, injury or even death, your family would be stuck with a huge mess to clean up.

The Barber family of Southern California is an unfortunate example. Mom, dad and three kids went on a roadtrip to Arizona where they were in a terrible accident. Mom and dad died, and their three boys were injured, but alive.

It took the authorities a couple of days to locate any relatives, during which time the boys were in the protective custody of strangers. A fate no parent ever wants for their children in a time of tragedy, fear and grief.

The family member that was located first was a sister of the mom and she promptly took the boys back to her home and didn’t let any other family members see the boys.

It took many hundreds of thousands of dollars and at least 7 lawyers to sort out the family fighting that ensued over both the boys and the assets left behind by the Barber parents.

And it all could have been easily avoided with a small amount of planning in advance.

Making the commitment now to create a comprehensive estate plan will ensure your loved ones will not be stuck in court or conflict, if the unexpected happens while you are on vacation.

At least 8 weeks before you leave, schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session with us. During that Session, we’ll get you more financially organized than you’ve ever been before (ensuring none of your assets are lost if you are injured on your vacation) and guide you to make
informed, empowered and educated choices for yourself and the people you love most. If you are leaving sooner than 8 weeks from now, call our office and let us know you need a rush Family Wealth Planning Session and we will see what we can do to get you started.

Whatever you do, do not just think a standard set of estate planning documents will serve you or your family. What you and your family need is a plan that properly addresses the care of your children (if you have minors at home), your assets and the parts of your life that go beyond just the money. We can explain more during the Family Wealth Planning Session.

This article is a service of Jennifer R. Cochran-Green, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That's why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session,™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

How to Change Your Name after the Wedding or Divorce

If you are Jason Bourne or some other international spy with numerous fake passports, please disregard this article and go about shooting bad guys in unrealistically spectacular fashion.  For everybody else, primarily brides and divorcees, the following may help you more efficiently change your name.  Although it may appear overwhelming, thankfully it’s a fairly simple process if you have what you need at the outset.

1) You need proof that your name has changed.  Brides should purchase several certified copies of the executed certificate of marriage and divorcees should purchase several certified copies of the final order.  Buy more than you think you will need so you will not have to return later for more copies.

2) Start using your name immediately.  Social media is usually the fastest and easiest way to notify all your friends and acquaintances at once (thus eliminating the necessity of formal announcements). This will also motivate you to complete the rest of the process!

3) Notify applicable government agencies. 
  • Start with getting an updated driver’s license so you can have formal identification with your new name.  Just go to your local Department of Public Safety office with the proof of name change and complete their paperwork.  Be sure to update your voter registration at the same time.  
  • Go to the Social Security Office with your updated driver’s license and proof of name change.  Don’t worry about the IRS, they are notified by the Social Security Administration.
  • Apply for an updated passport with the new social security card.
  • If your profession is governed by a licensing agency, you will need to complete the forms that they require. 

4) Now, notify everyone else.  The most time consuming part is notifying all the other organizations in your life such as your employer, the post office, financial institutions, credit cards, doctors, etc. Some will require a simple phone call, others may require an in person visit or for you to complete  a form and send it in directly.