The Cost of Settling an Estate

What does Estate Settlement Cost?

Unless you have observed an estate settlement close at hand, you may be unaware of the costs of settling an estate after someone’s death.  Every estate is different in terms of the assets and financial obligations of the deceased, so the costs described below will not apply to everyone.  The costs include paying debts incurred during the deceased person’s lifetime, as well as taxes and costs incurred as a result of the death.  [Read more…]

DIY Estate Planning? Buyer Beware!

Low Cost Wills – Are they worth it?

There are many options available to create a do-it-yourself Will for little or no cost.  These forms are popular because they’re cheap.  In some cases, by saving money now, you are setting up your survivors to pay thousands in legal fees to fix what you created with inappropriate documents.

Free or low cost programs and forms available on the internet cannot perform a detailed legal analysis of a person’s estate planning needs. They also cannot address important planning issues, such as leaving money to a beneficiary who is disabled, in debt, or headed for a divorce.  A good estate planning attorney will discuss the details of a client’s financial situation, their goals and their family relationships.  Estate planning is not a “one size fits all” business.  A well-drafted Will or Trust should be carefully tailored to meet the individual’s unique goals.  [Read more…]

Estate Planning: An Opportunity to be your Best Self

The Lasting Memory of Estate Planning

Every time I turn around there is an estate planning or probate horror-story in the news.  Celebrities and ordinary folk alike have provided plenty of examples of how to leave your estate in a way that causes family conflict and ruptured relationships that can last for generations.  Unfortunately, some people use their final wishes to take revenge, show favoritism, or otherwise damage relationships between their surviving family members.

As an antidote to this type of planning, I would like to remind readers that estate planning gives you another chance to be the parent, spouse, friend and citizen that you have always wanted to be.  By this I mean that estate planning is a final opportunity to provide for future financial support and security for your spouse and loved ones.  You can mend fences, express your love, show generosity, forgiveness, gratitude.  [Read more…]