Tag Archives: estate planning

Should Your Executor Be Your Eldest Child?


When we meet with our estate planning clients to talk about who might act for them in the event of disability or death, we talk about who their children are, good, bad and ugly. For those without children, we look at extended family and friends. Often, the client feels obligated to appoint their eldest child even if this might not be the best choice. It is so important to be honest about these things when planning for disability and death. The relationships of your family members, one to the other and to you, are so important to explore openly.”

Being an agent under power of attorney, an executor, or a trustee is a JOB. Ask anyone who had acted in this capacity for another person. We have had clients tell us that they had no idea how big of a job handling another person’s money was until they had to DO it. They say that, if they had known in advance how hard of a job it was, they might have declined to act! Add on top of it that it is often a THANKLESS job. No one who has not acted in such a position can really understand it.

So, who in your family would be an ideal candidate for such a position? Ask yourself these questions:

1. Who has the time to do this? Do not pick someone who works 90 hour weeks!

2. Who will give prompt attention to the job? Pick someone who will put first things first. Do not pick a procrastinator!

3. Who has the experience to know when to rely upon themselves and when to rely upon others? Do not pick the know it all. Pick someone who knows their own limitations and knows when to seek expert advice.

4. Who has honesty and integrity? Pick someone you believe will not treat your money like their own. Anyone who you have any doubt about in this regard should be avoided. They will only get themselves into a whole lot of trouble.

5. Who has your philosophy about money? Pick someone whose thinking regarding money and its’ appropriate use is in line with yours.

6. Who is firm but fair? Pick someone who has the strength to do what is right, even in the face of opposition, someone who will treat all your beneficiaries with loyalty and fairness. People do not change, if they fought as children, it is likely they will fight as adults.

7. Is your eldest child really the one who is best suited to be your executor based upon the above questions? Do not pick your eldest child, just because they are your eldest child, if they do not have the above qualities.

If no one in your family fits the bill, we recommend using a corporate fiduciary (a bank or a trust company that will efficiently, professionally and unemotionally handle finances for you and your family). Yes. There will be costs associated with that, but maintaining family harmony (and avoiding costs of litigation if things go wrong) are well worth it. We have seen too many families be destroyed by money issues! Do not let this be your family.

Please take action today to explore these issues and make tough choices for yourself and your family.

By: Julie A. Kolodziej

MLG – Matlin Law Group, P.C.

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DO “DINKS” NEED ESTATE PLANNING?


DINKs

We often hear the from our married clients who have double income and no kids: “We do not have any kids so we only need simple estate planning, if we need it at all.” This leads to the question: DO “DINKs” (Double Income, No Kids) Even Need Estate Planning? 

The answer is YES! DINKs need at least as much estate planning as anyone else. It is especially important for a couple with no children to carefully choose the people who will make healthcare and financial decisions for them if they are disabled. We find that the worst people step up to the plate to “help out” in the absence of preset direction from YOU. At the very least, powers of attorney and various contingency planning, whether via wills or trusts, are called for.  When our clients think about their family members who might volunteer for the job of handling money for them, they often shudder at the thought. Especially as they get older, the thought of being taken advantage of looms in the horizon.

Why leave it to chance? TOMORROW IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER – PLAN TODAY

In our practice, we treat DINKs as a type of blended family when giving them estate planning advice. DINKs are similar to second marriage situations, where there may be “his,” “her,” or “their” children. Assuming the DINK couple want to primarily benefit each other during their joint lifetimes, then any analysis leads to contingency planning. This is because if either of them wants money to ultimately go to his or her family, friends or charities, the choice is either cashing out those contingent beneficiaries upon the death of the first-to-die or careful trust language protecting the rights of the intended secondary heirs of the first-to die spouse during the lifetime of the surviving spouse.  Leaving everything outright to the survivor with the expectation that he or she will not change the flow of assets to the first-to-die person’s preferred set of ultimate beneficiaries very often results in those people or charities getting nothing.

Everyone needs planning, including DINKs! CONTACT US TODAY FOR A FREE ESTATE PLANNING CONSULTATION

     eric_matlin                         jkolo
Eric G. Matlin, Esq.           Julie A. Kolodziej, Esq.

A blog article by Eric G. Matlin and Julie A. Kolodziej.  Eric and Julie are Principals at Matlin Law Group, P.C.   Please feel free to contact Eric Matlin  or Julie Kolodziej at Matlin Law Group, P.C. regarding this or any other matter.  Phone number 1-847-770-6600.  Our attorneys have the experience to guide you through your estate planning needs.

Disclaimer – The content of this article is not intended to be legal advice and does not create an attorney client relationship with the person reading it.

Should You Use A “Do-It-Yourself” Estate Planning Service?


QUESTION: Should You Use A “Do-It-Yourself” Estate Planning Service? Many people ask whether it is a good idea to use a DIY estate planning service to create an estate plan (Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney). As attorneys, we might seem biased when answering this question. However, the American Bar Association, as a part of its discussion in Do It Yourself Estate Planning, gave the following example, which is compelling:

“A New Jersey resident opted to purchase — surely at a nominal cost — a Will form kit. He carefully handwrote his intended dispositions into the form document. He did not have it properly witnessed. Undoubtedly believing he had completed his “simple Will” properly, he signed it and then apparently committed suicide. His heirs, however, eventually paid for his efforts. In the ensuing lawsuit (Matter of Will of Feree), a New Jersey trial court struggled to find a way to interpret and give effect to his handwritten additions to the form. Under New Jersey probate law, the language on the pre-printed form was not admissible because the Will was not properly signed by Mr. Feree (most states require a Will to be signed in the presence of two witnesses, a few even require three witnesses). The Court’s effort to salvage Mr. Feree’s work — and the ensuing trip to the New Jersey appellate court — almost certainly cost the family tens of thousands of dollars or more. At least Mr. Feree never saw that enormous expenditure — he passed away believing he had saved money.”

http://www.americanbar.org/groups/real_property_trust_estate/resources/estate_planning/diy_estate_planning.html

ANSWER: If you want you make sure your intent is carried out with as little cost as possible, contact an experienced estate planning attorney to implement an estate plan tailored to your needs and concerns.

Tomorrow is right around the corner. Plan today. CONTACT US TODAY FOR A FREE ESTATE PLAN CONSULTATION


Julie A. Kolodziej, Esq.

jkolo   A blog article by Julie A. Kolodziej ©2017. Julie is a Principal at Matlin Law Group, P.C. Please feel free to contact Julie Kolodziej regarding this or any other matter. Phone number 1-847-770-6600.

Disclaimer – The content of this article is not intended to be legal advice and does not create an attorney client relationship with the person reading it.