If you are a single parent, life for you right now probably couldn't get any busier. You are likely being pulled between work, school activities, and home - and the inevitable emergencies that fill the lives of single parents everywhere. It's a huge responsibility, even if you do share time with a parenting partner, and especially so if you don't. Regardless, as a single parent, your children's lives are now largely in your hands, and the best way to protect them is through estate planning.
Wills and trusts are two of the most commonly used estate planning documents. Both documents are legal vehicles designed to distribute your assets to your loved ones upon your death, but the way in which they work is quite different. To know the best way to determine whether or not your estate plan should include a will, living trust, or some combination of the two, meet a Personal Family Lawyer for a Family Wealth Planning Session.
It's sad but true that many pets end up in shelters after their owner dies or becomes incapacitated. In fact, the Humane Society estimates that between 100,00 to 500,000 pets are placed in shelters each year for this reason, and many of these animals are ultimately euthanized. In light of this cold reality, if you're a pet owner, the best way to avoid this tragic event is to use estate planning to ensure your pets receive the best care when you're no longer able to care for them yourself.
Although Britney's story is certainly tragic and we can't be sure how it will ultimately play out, her case has at least shined a spotlight the possible pitfalls within the conservatorship and inspires you to make certain that you and your loved ones have the proper estate planning strategies in place to prevent the loss of autonomy, family conflict, and potential abuse that comes with court-ordered conservatorships and guardianships.
Since the age of 16, when she burst onto the charts with her debut single, "Hit Me Baby One More Time," Britney Spears has been one of the world's most famous and beloved pop stars. Yet despite her fame and fortune, Britney never had full control over her own life. She's been living under a conservatorship for the past 13 years. With the thought that it was only meant to be temporary, yet, it was made long-term, and her father has remained in nearly full control of her life ever since.
When you are a kid, finding a suitable gift for Father's Day can be a struggle. You want to get Dad something he'll enjoy, but you can't afford expensive things. And even after you become an adult, that struggle for the perfect Father's Day gift often continues, albeit in a slightly different way. With this in mind, give your father a tribute to the role he has played in your life by preserving his legacy for generations to come with a Family Wealth Legacy Passage.
Planning for your potential incapacity and eventual death is probably the farthest thing you have in mind, but getting it handled as part of your wedding planning is the greatest gift you can give your soon-to-be spouse. Indeed, once your marriage is official, your relationship becomes entirely different from both legal and financial perspectives, so here's we cover the final three of the six essential items you need to address in your plan.
As we head into the peak of wedding season, if you are a newlywed or are about to tie the knot, add "estate planning" to your do list. And yes, we imagine that at this happiest time of your life, planning for your potential incapacity and eventual death is probably the farthest thing from your mind right now, but getting it handled as part of your wedding planning is the greatest gift you can give your soon-to-be spouse.
Should you become incapacitated without any planning in place, your family should apply to the court for guardianship. In most cases, the court appoints a family member as guardian, but this isn't always the case. If you have no living family members, or those you do have are unwilling to serve or deemed unsuitable by the court, a professional guardian would be appointed. Here's how you can protect yourself in the event of your incapacity using proactive estate planning.
The Netflix movie I Care a Lot provides a dark, violent, and somewhat comedic take on the real-life and not-at-all funny dangers of the legal (and sometimes corrupt) guardianship system. This two-part series discusses how the movie depicts such abuses, how this can happen in real life, and what you can do to prevent something similar from happening to you or your loved ones using proactive estate planning and our Family Wealth Planning process. Learn more here!