When peace of mind matters most

PLANNING FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE

Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

New Developments Transform the Role Life Insurance Plays in Your Estate and Financial Planning

Within the past year, a combination of new legislation and the recent change of leadership in the White House and Congress stands to dramatically increase the income taxes your loved ones will have to pay on inherited retirement accounts as well as increasing the income taxes you owe on your taxable investments. However, purchasing life insurance may offer you the opportunity to minimize the effect of these developments. To this end, if you hold assets in a retirement account, you need to review your financial plan and estate plan as soon as possible to determine if investing in life insurance

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Does Your Estate Plan Protect Your Intellectual Property?

If you own a business, you almost certainly have intellectual property. However, because your intellectual property is intangible, it can be invisible to you and those who aren’t familiar with the nature of intellectual property and its value, so it often gets overlooked, especially when it comes to estate planning. Yet, if you fail to properly document your intellectual property, your estate plan will likely not protect it—and this could cause your loved ones to miss out on what can be among your most valuable assets. When we talk about intellectual property, we’re referring to creations of the mind, including

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Moving To A New State? Remember to Update Your Estate Plan

Although you likely won’t need to have an entirely new estate plan prepared for you, upon relocating to another state, you should definitely have your existing plan reviewed by an estate planning lawyer who is familiar with your new home state’s laws. Each state has its own laws governing estate planning, and those laws can differ significantly from one location to another. Given this, you’ll want to make sure your planning documents all comply with the new state’s laws, and the terms of those documents still work as intended. Here, we’ll discuss how differing state laws can affect common planning

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

5 Tips For Keeping Kids Connected With Grandparents During the Pandemic

While the quarantines, shutdowns, and social distancing measures related to the pandemic have been difficult for everyone, the elderly have been particularly hard hit. Since seniors face the most health risks from COVID-19, most of them have been careful to avoid close contact with their family members, and this has left many grandparents unable to visit with their grandchildren for close to a year now. This loss of in-person connection for such an extended period of time can cause people to feel isolated and lonely, which can eventually lead to mental health issues like depression. At the same time, children

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

What You Should Know About Long-Term Care Insurance

With people living longer than ever before, more and more seniors require long-term healthcare services in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. However, such care is extremely expensive, especially when it’s needed for extended periods of time. Traditional healthcare insurance doesn’t cover such services, and though Medicare does pay for some long-term care, it’s quite limited, difficult to qualify for, and requires you to deplete nearly all of our assets before being eligible (or do proactive planning to shield your assets, which we can support you with). To address this gap in coverage, long-term care insurance was created. Intensive Care

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Dies Without A Will—Part 2

Last week in part one of this series (Part One) we discussed how Tony Hsieh became an Internet pioneer, starting two wildly successful companies, LinkExchange and Zappos, the latter of which he sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion. It was as CEO of the online shoe brand Zappos where Hsieh developed his vision for life and business: delivering happiness. A Double Life Hsieh outlined this mission in the 2010 book, Delivering Happiness: A Path To Profits, Passion and Purpose, which became a New York Times number-one bestseller. Yet while the young entrepreneur was busy bringing joy to his customers, employees,

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Dies Without A Will—Part 1

On November 27th, nine days after being pulled unconscious from a house fire in a beachfront home in New London, Connecticut, Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of the online shoe retailer Zappos, died due to complications of smoke inhalation. Hsieh, who was single and had no children, was just 46. Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, law enforcement ruled his death accidental. At the time of his death, Hsieh was worth an estimated $840 million, but in spite of his immense wealth, it seems he did not have a will. While it’s not uncommon for the

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Questions to Consider Before Hiring an Estate Planning Lawyer – Part 2

Last week we looked at two questions to ask before hiring an estate planning lawyer.  Choosing a lawyer can be empowering if done right.  Discussing these sensitive topics does not have to be morbid or intimidating. Here are three more questions to ask before hiring an estate planning lawyer. How will you proactively communicate with me on an ongoing basis? The sad truth is lawyers don’t always do a good job of staying in regular communication with their clients. Often, they don’t have their business systems set up for ongoing, proactive communication, and they don’t have the time to really

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Questions to Consider Before Hiring an Estate Planning Lawyer – Part 1

You may think that hiring an estate planning lawyer may be intimidating or morbid because you will be topics like death and incapacity and other dire scenarios.  But it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead, it can be the most empowering decision you ever make for yourself and your loved ones. The key to transforming the experience of hiring a lawyer from one that you dread into one that empowers you is to educate yourself first. This is the person who is going to be there for your family when you can’t be, so you want to really understand

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Remarrying In Midlife? Avoid Accidently Disinheriting Your Loved Ones

Today, roughly one in four divorces involve those over 50, and divorce rates for this demographic have doubled in the past 30 years, according to the study Gray Divorce Revolution. For those over age 65, divorce rates have tripled.  Indeed, the trend of couples getting divorced after age 50 has grown so common, it’s even garnered its own nickname: “gray divorce.” With divorce coming later in life, the financial fallout can be quite devastating. Indeed, Bloomberg.com found that the standard of living for women who divorce after age 50 drops by some 45%, while it falls roughly 21% for men.

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

6 Things You Should NOT Include In Your Will

A will is one of the most basic estate planning tools. While relying solely on a will is rarely a suitable option for most people, just about every estate plan includes this key document in one form or another. A will is used to designate how you want your assets distributed to your surviving loved ones upon your death. If you die without a will, state law governs how your assets are distributed, which may or may not be in line with your wishes. That said, not all assets can (or should) be included in your will. For this reason,

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Getting Divorced? Don’t Overlook These 4 Updates to Your Estate Plan—Part 2

Going through divorce can be an overwhelming experience that impacts nearly every facet of your life, including estate planning. Yet, with so much to deal with during the divorce process, many people forget to update their plan or put it off until it’s too late. Failing to update your plan before, during, and after your divorce can have a number of potentially tragic consequences, some of which you’ve likely not considered. If you are in the midst of a divorce, and your divorce lawyer has not brought up estate planning, there are several things you need to know. First off,

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Getting Divorced? Don’t Overlook These 4 Updates to Your Estate Plan—Part 1

Going through divorce can be an overwhelming experience that impacts nearly every facet of your life, including estate planning. Yet, with so much to deal with during the divorce process, many people forget to update their plan or put it off until it’s too late. Failing to update your plan for divorce can have a number of potentially tragic consequences, some of which you’ve likely not considered.  If you are in the midst of a divorce, there are several things you need to consider. First off, you need to update your estate plan, not only after your divorce is final,

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Dies Without A Will – Part 2

On October 15th, nearly two months after the death of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, his wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, filed documents with the Los Angeles probate court seeking to be named administrator of his estate. Earlier this year, Boseman and Ledward were married, and the marriage gives Ledward the right to any assets held in Boseman’s name at his death. Boseman died at age 43 on August 28th following a four-year battle with colon cancer, and based on the court documents, it seems the young actor died without a will. While Boseman’s failure to create a will is surprising,

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Dies Without A Will

 On October 15th, nearly two months after the death of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, his wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, filed documents with the Los Angeles probate court seeking to be named administrator of his estate. Earlier this year, Boseman and Ledward were married, and the marriage gives Ledward the right to any assets held in Boseman’s name at his death. Boseman died at age 43 on August 28th following a four-year battle with colon cancer, and based on the court documents, it seems the young actor died without a will. While Boseman’s failure to create a will is surprising,

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

CORONAVIRUS TAX CUTS. THE SILVER LINING.

Is it really time to start thinking about filing your 2020 taxes?  2020 is a particularly important year to start planning. In 2020, we have to consider inflation.  The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides individual taxpayers several new tax breaks, most of which will only be available for the 2020 tax year.  The sooner you know about the changes, the better your planning. Here are 6 ways your return may differ this year: Waived RMDs. If you’re 72 or older, you are generally required to take a required minimum distribution (RMD) from your IRA, 401(k) or

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

ESTATE PLANNING FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Why do young adults, as early as 18, need estate planning?  And why should it be a priority for you and them?   Here’s why:  the minute a person turns 18, they become legal adults and you, the parent, no longer have the legal authority to make decisions for them.  And you don’t have legal access to their financial accounts. With you no longer in charge, your young adult could become incredibly vulnerable.  For example if they encounter an illness that renders them incapacitated, such as COVID-19, having a plan in place could literally save their lives. Medical Power of Attorney

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

FOUND $$$

Rarely does a person work for a single employer for decades until retirement. Most people are likely to changes jobs multiple times during their lifetime. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers have held an average of 12 jobs by the time they reach their 50s. With so many job changes, it is easy to see you might lose track of an old 401(k) or retirement account, especially if you only worked in a position for a short time. In fact, forgetting plans is quite common: it’s estimated that roughly 900,000 workers lose track of their 401(k) plans each

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

DO YOU NEED A “GO-BAG?”

DO YOU NEED A “GO-BAG?” Go-bags originated with the US military which requires personnel to keep one on hand packed with essentials for survival. Over the past few weeks we’ve experienced deadly forest fires in California, Arizona and Colorado.  The East and Gulf coasts have suffered hurricanes and tropical storms.  The Midwest has endured tornados and floods.  And on top of all of that, we are still amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  It’s best to prepare for your family’s safety now. Here are some updated items that you may need in your 2020 go-bag. Your updated estate planning and healthcare documents

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

ARE WE THERE YET? ESTATE PLANNING FOR LGBTQ COUPLES

There is a case pending before the US Supreme Court which is on the docket for October 2020.  Fulton v. City of Philadelphia.  A religious-based adoption agency had contracted with the City of Philadelphia and agreed to abide by its anti-discrimination laws.  Regardless, the agency refused to license same-gender couples as foster parents.  The City refused to renew their contract and the agency sued the City.  The lower courts found that the City’s regulation was not a targeted attack on religion. Currently, 11 states allow state licensed adoption agencies to refuse to grant an adoption if doing so violates the

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Avoid These 4 Mistakes When Naming Life Insurance Beneficiaries

You may have life insurance as part of your estate plan. When naming your beneficiaries, there are mistakes you can make that could lead to potentially dire consequences for the very people you’re trying to protect and support. The following four mistakes are among the most common we see clients make when selecting life insurance beneficiaries. If you’ve made any of these errors, contact us right away, so we can amend your policy to ensure its proceeds provide the maximum benefit for those you love most. Failing to name a beneficiary.  Although it would seem like common sense far too

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

COVID-19 Highlights Critical Need for Advance Healthcare Directives—Part 2

In last week’s article, we discussed the vital importance of having updated advance directives in place in light of COVID-19. Here, we’ll look at several additional provisions you should consider adding to your directives to address potential contingencies related to the pandemic. The most crucial planning tools for this purpose are medical power of attorney and a living will, advance healthcare directives that work together to help describe your wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life care should you become unable to express your own wishes. While all adults over age 18 should put these documents in place as soon as

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

COVID-19 Highlights Critical Need for Advance Healthcare Directives—Part 1

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the country, doctors across the nation are joining lawyers in urging Americans to create the proper estate planning documents, so medical providers can better coordinate their care should they become hospitalized with the virus. The most critical planning tools for this purpose are medical power of attorney and a living will, advance healthcare directives that work together to help describe your wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life care in the event you’re unable to express your own wishes. In light of COVID-19, even those who have already created these documents should revisit them

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

I love you all the same. Inheritance Planning when unequal distribution may be appropriate.

Your inclination is to treat all of your children equally when it comes to an inheritance.  Truest Law knows that is not always the best choice for your family.  Below are several reasons when you may want to make an unequal distribution: ·        Children of unequal wealth.  If you have a children of varying levels of income, you may choose to leave more to the less financially advantaged child.  If you choose this option, be sure to explain your values to them or write a letter to be opened upon your death, so that they understand your reasons.  Often children

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Does Your Trust Save You Taxes?

Everyone wants to know. A revocable trust is not a separate entity from you for tax purposes. It is a separate entity for probate purposes meaning that it can take over if you are disabled or you die, without having to go to court.  However, until your death, it is invisible as far as taxes go. If you have an irrevocable trust, created either in life or when you die (your revocable trust becomes irrevocable), that trust has its own Tax Identification Number.  It will pay taxes on any income earned by the trust as a separate tax paying entity.

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Money Talk: When to Talk to Your Kids About Money

Do you talk to your kids about money?  Or your parents? According to the Spectrem Millionaire Corner, a market research group, only 17% of affluent parents said they would disclose their income or net worth to their kids by the time they turned 18. A nearly equal amount, 18% said they would never disclose these numbers to their kids. 32% of the rich parents surveyed by Spectrem said “it’s none of their business” when asked why they would not talk to their kids about money. The amount of money generated by your family and what will happen to it if

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Should You (or Your Parents) Be in the Stock Market Now?

Are you connected with the holdings in your retirement or other accounts?  If you inherited accounts, do you follow them for growth and management? I heard this story from a colleague.  After her grandmother died, the accounts went directly to her mom without incident due to proper estate planning.  Great!  No court.  No conflict After that, her mom did not look at the accounts for over four years.  When they did look, the learned that even though others were experiencing a bull market, the account was losing value to the tune of $70,000!  Fast forward to the daughters finally looking

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Who Will Care for Your Children if You Cannot?

The pandemic may have made you think about things that you should do, even if you have previously put them off. This brings to mine a story of a colleague.  She left her kids with the babysitter to enjoy a night out with her husband.  But she couldn’t stop thinking about what would happen to her kids if she and her husband were in an auto accident.  What would happen? Even though she’s a lawyer and had nominated guardians for her kids, she still was uncomfortable.  Her Will naming the guardians was in her safe and who had access to

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FUNDING FOR YOUR FURRY FRIENDS

How to Create a Pet Trust We love our pets!  But the laws treat pets as property, so putting your pet in your Will won’t work!  How do you protect your pets when you can no longer care for them?  With a Pet Trust. When meeting with your Personal Family Lawyer, discuss your wishes for your pets so that your pet trust will be legally enforceable after you are gone. Here are some items to consider when establishing a pet trust: Before you name a trustee for your pets, discuss your intentions to ensure they can carry out your wishes.

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

PARENT GUILT MUCH?

If you’re a parent, you’re probably feeling guilty right now.  You’re now trying to balance your full-time job and your childcare and your child’s (or children) education.  That’s three jobs! Even before the virus you were probably feeling guilty because your full-time work obligations get in the way of being there for your kids.  Is your guilt compounded by the additional responsibility that was piled onto you by the pandemic?  Let’s alleviate that guilt.  They don’t always acknowledge it, but your kids see how great you’re doing.  They know you’re doing your best. Here are a few unconventional ideas to

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Online Wills? Should You?, Part 2

Are you thinking of doing an online Will?  We’ve previously discussed how a poorly drafted will could cause your intended administrator to get a bond and may well land your family in court. Today, let’s consider your family dynamics and how they can be forever impacted by poor drafting.  Imagine your family if you did your will and you omitted an important asset, say your family cabin.  Could this lead to turmoil as your family tries to figure out what you wanted?  The law will make an assignment for you and it may not be what you wanted.  So now

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Do NOT Trust your Will.

Below, we explain the difference between a Trust-based plan and a Will-based plan.  This will help you make an educated decision for you and your family and you will know what is best for them. A Will-based plan does not include a Trust.  In a Will-based estate plan, your assets will be held in your own name.  With Truest Law, our Family Plan, which is a Will-based plan, your documents will include a Health Care Directive, Financial Power of Attorney, a Will and if you have minor children, a Kid’s Protection Plan. A Trust-based plan includes a Trust which will

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Online Wills? Should You?

Should you do your estate planning yourself, online?  Maybe. Maybe not. If you decide to, you need to know about the pitfalls that could leave your family worse off than doing nothing at all.  Online planning is a trap for the unwary.  Today, we will deal with one pitfall of online planning. To decide whether online planning is for you, you must understand your family dynamics, your assets and what will happen to them if you do nothing.  The state already has a plan for your assets if you die or become incapacitated.  It includes taking some of those assets.

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Ready to talk with us about how you can keep your family out of court or out of conflict when something happens to you.

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