Generational Wisdom in 32 Questions

Generational Wisdom in 32 Questions

What can we learn from earlier generations? Quite a bit, says Brendon Burchard, but only if we ask the right questions. Brendon Burchard, famed personal development trainer and author of The Motivation Manifesto (Carlsbad, Hay House, 2014) says asking your mother,...

Watch Out for This Predatory Phone Scam

Today, even the most conscientious can fall victim to phone scams. Claiming everything from free cruise vacations to astonishing tax rebates, phone scammers prey on the financially vulnerable, but that’s not all. As scammers become more sophisticated and find clever...

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...

How to Live Before You Die

In Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University, he said: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.” When Jobs was 17, he read a quote that made an impression on him,...

The Four Tricky Cons

Electronic technology has brought about tremendous benefits for today’s society. We can access goods, services, and information, all at the touch of a button. The flip-side of that coin, however, is that this same technology has also spawned countless new...

How to Continue Your Family Values for Generations

Most of us want to make a mark in the world. That’s a big part of what gives our lives meaning. And whether or not we have children, our history and stories can be a unique and irreplaceable gift to our families. With just a little effort, we can preserve our family...

Work-Life Balance

A Personal Perspective Pick up the latest copy of just about any business magazine, and you’re likely to find at least one article on work-life balance. Employers all over the country are talking about how to retain employees, particularly millennials, by enhancing...

Writing Your Life Story

How often do you wish you knew more about your family? When we’re young, we don’t necessarily pay attention to the stories our elders tell us. Later in life, we often become interested in knowing who and where we come from. We want to learn more about what makes us...

Donate Empty Pill Bottles to Help Others

Donate Empty Pill Bottles to Help Others When we pick up our prescriptions, we take the containers for granted. By contrast, in many countries medical care is very difficult to come by. It is expensive, and not many qualified medical providers work in impoverished...

Family Financial Traditions

Family Financial Traditions To some degree or another, we are all a function of the social environments in which we were raised. Of course, that encompasses both positives and negatives. When it comes to money, the first exposure we have to its management is in our...
Holiday Bonus + Tax Refund Spending

Holiday Bonus + Tax Refund Spending

Holiday Bonus + Tax Refund Spending: Where to Put it For Max Return Did you get a holiday bonus from your employer? Or maybe you have a tax refund coming.  If so, do you have any of it left, have you already got it spent in your mind, or are you thoughtfully...

Am I Due Class Action Settlement Money?

Am I Due Class Action Settlement Money? Class action lawsuits are common in our court systems. Most everyone has received a notice in the mail of a class action suit involving consumer products, from cars to jewelry. Even if the recipient has a valid claim, the...
How Real Men Celebrate Father’s Day

How Real Men Celebrate Father’s Day

How Real Men Celebrate Father’s Day Do you know what it takes to be a real man?  Although the expectations of both men and women have evolved over the last few decades, there are still some fundamental characteristics that most people would agree constitute what it...

Greatest Wealth Transfer in History Underway

Greatest Wealth Transfer in History Underway – What’s Your Plan? A new study from the Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy shows that the greatest wealth transfer in history is currently underway, with more than $59 trillion passing to heirs, charities and...

Your Memorial Should Be More Than Just Money

One of the most striking aspects of the recent opening of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum is the voice recordings left on the phones of the victims’ families of their last messages to loved ones.  We hear so many stories of family members who keep...

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to…Diamonds?

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to…Diamonds?  Creating an Ever-Lasting Memorial Through Science Here are two scientific facts: Diamonds are forever. We are not. However, through science, there is now a way to immortalize ourselves or our loved ones by turning cremated...

Best Mother’s Day Gift Ever?

Best Mother’s Day Gift Ever?  The Kids Protection Planning Kit® By now, the flood of floral commercials has already reminded us that Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12.  But before you plunk down a good chunk of change on something that will wilt and die in a week or so,...

Could an AMBER alert save your child?

Could an AMBER alert save your child? As a parent, your number one job is to keep your children safe, and that’s not always easy. In our imperfect world there is no shortage of potential dangers to innocent children. One of a parent’s worst nightmares is the thought...

Legal Issues Worth Pondering Before Ride-Sharing

Legal Issues Worth Pondering Before Ride-Sharing Ride-sharing pioneers Uber and Lyft are proving to be very successful in markets around the country and the globe. Uber operates in 250 cities in 50 countries, and Lyft is in 70 cities across the United States. The draw...

Should I Pay Off My Mortgage Now?

Should I Pay Off My Mortgage Now or Save More Money? To many people, living debt-free is a lifelong dream. It’s the picture of the easy life. Retired with no debt. . . You may be surprised to learn, however, that debt-free is not always the best decision –...

Can I Benefit from a Reverse Mortgage?

Can I Benefit from a Reverse Mortgage? It seems that we can’t turn on the television or radio without hearing an ad for a “reverse mortgage.” So what is a reverse mortgage exactly, and who can benefit from using one? A reverse mortgage is a type of loan taken out...

Before You Sign a Residential Lease

The Top Three Things to Know Before You Sign a Residential Lease If you own your home or you’ve been renting so long that this information is old hat to you, consider sharing the details with a young adult or almost adult in your family who would benefit from this...
How to Benefit from an Estate Plan

How to Benefit from an Estate Plan

How to Benefit from an Estate Plan When You Own Real Estate Many parents believe that by adding a child’s name to a property deed, they can pass along the property outside of probate. Unfortunately, those who act on that belief often find they have invited more...
How to Protect Your Real Estate Assets

How to Protect Your Real Estate Assets

If you own real estate, chances are you have purchased insurance to protect your assets against damage or loss.  But have you taken the necessary steps to protect your assets against lawsuits or probate? If you own rental properties, there is likely a nagging fear in...
Your Next Home Sale Closing

Your Next Home Sale Closing

What You Must Pay Attention to At Your Next Home Sale Closing A home sale closing is the end of the process of buying a home. It is the point at which the seller gets paid and the buyer receives title to the property. In addition to the seller and buyer, the parties...

Resources for Special Needs Adults

When you have a family member with special needs, it is important to understand that your estate planning strategy is unique and requires the assistance of an attorney experienced in creating Special Needs Trusts. If an inheritancet is left directly to your family...

Special Needs Trust

Families of those with disabilities – physical or mental – are typically concerned with the best way to fund the long-term financial and personal needs of their special needs loved one in a way that will secure a fulfilling life for them. The best vehicle...
Care for a Special Needs Child

Care for a Special Needs Child

How to Create a Lifetime of Care for a Special Needs Child Parents of children with special needs usually share one overriding concern: what will happen to my child after I’m gone? They also struggle with guilt for what they envision as an eventual destiny for their...
How to Care for Children with Special Needs Through Estate Planning

How to Care for Children with Special Needs Through Estate Planning

For many people, the basics of estate planning are simple enough, but for those families with loved ones who are disabled or have special needs, the estate planning process is more involved – and definitely more critical. The latest statistics show that five percent...
How to Create a Pet Trust

How to Create a Pet Trust

There is no doubt we are a nation of pet lovers.  Unfortunately, the law as it is currently written views pets as property, so providing for your pet in your will won’t work.  So how do you protect your favorite fur-person?  With a pet trust. To create a pet trust,...
Planning for the Care of Your Pet

Planning for the Care of Your Pet

How to Include Your Pet in Your Estate Plan If your pet is beloved as a family member, you likely want to ensure that he or she will be well cared for in the event of your incapacity or death. Without explicitly stated wishes, these furry family members could end up...
Pets in Your Will

Pets in Your Will

Pets in Your Will For those of us who have pets that would be left behind after we die, there may be a desire to make arrangements for their well-being. Making provisions for pets in your will can only be done through the establishment of a trust. Pets are considered...
Create a Plan to Ensure Your Pet’s Care

Create a Plan to Ensure Your Pet’s Care

Most of us who have a pet consider them to be a part of the family; unfortunately, the plans we may have so carefully put together to protect our loved ones do not take our pets into consideration. According to the ASPCA, only about 17% of dog and cat owners have...
Multigenerational Family Concerns

Multigenerational Family Concerns

Balancing the needs of a multi-generational blended family with your own wishes can be a complicated task, especially when it comes to estate planning.  With a majority of Americans not only marrying once, but twice, three or even four times during their lives, it is...

Estate Planning for the Post-Nuclear Family

Blended families, unmarried couples, assistive reproductive technology (ART) and same-sex unions and marriages challenge the traditional concept of “family” as it’s been known for legal purposes up until now. Significant changes in the way we define family culturally...

Estate Planning After Marriage Equality

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex couples nationwide finally enjoy marriage equality. And, whether you are legally married in the eyes of the law, or not, there are important additional legal planning steps you need...

Same-Sex Marriage

Landmark Supreme Court Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage Will Have Monumental Effects The United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, a highly publicized case upholding the rights of same-sex couples to marry. This decision has widespread...
Estate Planning for Blended Families

Estate Planning for Blended Families

Estate Planning for Blended Families The term “blended family” has become commonplace in our society and refers to a family where one or both spouses were previously married and have children from the prior marriage. In some instances, the new couple goes on to have...

Windsor Ruling

Windsor Ruling Expands Estate Planning Prospects for Married Same-Sex Couples The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor invalidated the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  The Windsor ruling has led to a number of recent federal rule changes from...
How to Reduce the Cost of Long-Term Care Insurance

How to Reduce the Cost of Long-Term Care Insurance

A person who turns 65 today has a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care at some time in their remaining years, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. On average, women will need 3.7 years of long-term care and men will need 2.2...
Help for Dealing with a Parent’s Dementia Diagnosis

Help for Dealing with a Parent’s Dementia Diagnosis

Help for Dealing with a Parent’s Dementia Diagnosis Alzheimer’s Disease is in the news again thanks to Academy Award winner Julianne Moore’s performance in the movie Still Alice, where she portrays a college professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and...
Steps after Dementia Diagnosis

Steps after Dementia Diagnosis

Legal Steps to Take When Facing a Dementia Diagnosis Maria Shriver knows the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease firsthand.  Her beloved father Sargent Shriver, founder of the Peace Corps and one-time candidate for Vice President of the United States, died of the...

Legacy Planning

Legacy Planning:  Leaving More to Your Loved Ones Than Money That Will Be Lost Quickly The assets you leave to your loved ones can either be a source of relief or, sometimes, a source of panic if they don’t know how to manage those assets. Unless properly prepared,...
Tis the Season to Be Gifting

Tis the Season to Be Gifting

‘Tis the Season to Be Gifting:  How to Do It Right Not many people would view the IRS as a charitable organization, but you might if you plan your gifting appropriately – i.e., in a way that will benefit you on your income and gift taxes. Here are guidelines...

Tips for Charitable Giving

10 Tips for Charitable Giving This Holiday Season According to a recent Forbes article, Americans donated more than $316 billion to charity last year – and most of that came from individuals.  Holidays are a traditional time of giving, and not just because we like to...

Leaving Without a Plan

Leaving Without a Plan: Prince Didn’t Leave a Will & Here’s Why You Should Even after death, celebrities are highly publicized for their mistakes, many of which we make ourselves. This time last year, superstar musician Prince died suddenly, leaving no...

Bill & Hillary Clinton

What You Can Learn from the Clintons’ Tax Returns What can you learn from reviewing the Bill and Hillary Clinton’s tax returns, which they released during Hillary’s run for the presidency, about how to save money on your own taxes? First and foremost, plan ahead...

Queen Latifah

Even Celebrities Like Queen Latifah Act as Caregivers for Their Aging Parents We may not think about it often, but even celebrities take care of their aging parents. Actress, singer, and songwriter Queen Latifah plays an active role in caring for her mother, Rita...

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson Starts Blended Family: What She Needs to Consider   Starting a new family is always exciting and even a tad scary. This natural apprehension can be enhanced when a couple creates a blended family. Bringing children from different parents together...

Prince

Recent Superstar Death Brings Estate Planning to the Forefront of Discussion The untimely death of superstar Prince has brought a surprising issue to American living rooms: estate planning. If current reports are correct that Prince died without a will, state law and...

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg Did Not Pledge 99% of His Facebook Stock to Charity — Here’s What He Did Instead + What He Could Do Even Better   When I heard that Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, were donating 99 percent of their Facebook shares — currently...

Case of the Missing Will

Unintended Consequences from the Case of the Missing Will Even the best intentions can have unintended consequences when it comes to estate planning.  A case now winding its way through the New York appellate court system provides a cautionary tale when it comes to...

L’Oreal Heiress

Protecting Our Family When It Matters Most A drama currently playing out in a French courtroom demonstrates that any elderly person can fall victim to financial abuse, even the second wealthiest woman in the world. Lilliane Bettencourt, 92, is heiress to the L’Oreal...

Robin Williams

Robin Williams’ Family Fight Over Personal Property Not So Funny Robin Williams’ wife Susan has gone to court over personal items she says were taken from the couple’s Tiburon, California, home without her permission. Williams’ children say their father set up a trust...

James Brown

No One Feeling Good About Continuing Battle Over James Brown Estate James Brown was known for his signature song, “I Feel Good,” but no one is feeling good about the battle that is still being waged over his estate almost a decade after his death in 2006. The majority...

Watch “Black Heirlooms” Movie

“And the Estate Planning Oscar Goes To…” Lessons on Film About Family The film “Black Heirlooms” has not received any Oscar nominations. It was made by 32-year-old Amanda Brown, whose grandmother’s long-term illness ripped her once close-knit family apart for...

Hoffman & Walker

Life Lessons From Celebrity Deaths on Updating Your Estate Plan A new year always brings the sad reviews of notable personalities who have died in the past year. Two notable movie stars – Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Walker – provide a cautionary tale...

Sting

Will the Inheritance You Leave Be a Blessing or an Albatross? Rock musician Sting recently announced that his children will not inherit his estimated $300 million fortune, saying that these riches are “albatrosses around their necks.” The product of a British working...

Jerry Orbach

Law and Disorder: The Jerry Orbach Estate Battle Jerry Orbach, who starred as Detective Lennie Briscoe in the popular “Law and Order” television series, died a decade ago, but a battle is brewing over his Chase bank account, according to a recent story in the New York...

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Another Actor’s Estate Plan Screwed Up By His Lawyer Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s will has been filed for probate and provides a cautionary tale when it comes to estate planning mistakes. Here are four things he could have done to correct them: Create...

Paul Walker

5 Fast & Furious Estate Planning Lessons from Paul Walker’s Estate Paul Walker, who starred in the Fast & Furious movie franchise, died tragically in a high speed car accident in Los Angeles last November at the age of 40.  His estate was opened at the end of...

Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers Has Last Laugh Through Use of a Family Trust Famous comedienne, Joan Rivers, who died unexpectedly on September 4, 2014, from what is alleged to be a botched medical procedure, made millions making us all laugh. Some of her most infamous routines centered...

Lauren Bacall

Hollywood Legend Lauren Bacall Leaves Large Estate and Two Potentially Large Headaches for Heirs Legendary Hollywood actress Lauren Bacall died on August 12, 2014, leaving behind an estate estimated at $26.6 million and three children who face a couple of potentially...

Casey Kasem

Casey Kasem’s Estate Planning Not in Anyone’s Top 40 Casey Kasem, the celebrity radio host who counted down America’s Top 40 popular songs for years, died on June 15 at the age of 82 and left behind an estimated $80 million fortune.  He also left a family feud of...

Robin Williams

Robin Williams:  A Lesson in Deeds, Not Words + One Error in Planning One of the most eloquent responses to Robin Williams’ death came from his best friend Billy Crystal, who posted on Twitter simply:  “No words.” When someone close to us dies — especially in a...

James Gandolfini

Learn From the Expensive Mistakes & Smart Decisions Made By Actor James Gandolfini In Planning for His Estate James Gandolfini, the actor best known for his portrayal of Tony Soprano on HBO’s The Sopranos, died suddenly last month while on vacation in Italy.  His...

Ed Koch

What You Can Learn From Three-Time NYC Mayor Ed Koch’s Will About Your Estate Planning Three-time New York City Mayor Ed Koch died on Feb. 1, leaving an estate estimated between $10-$11 million.  And it’s a good thing that “Hizzoner” loved governing, because...

Downton Abbey

What We Can Learn From Downton Abbey About Estate Planning Downton Abbey – the PBS drama about the fortunes and misfortunes of an aristocratic British family in the early 20th century that has taken American audiences by storm – gets most of its gripping plot twists...

Saving for College: Where and How to Do It

If it’s important to you that your children attend college, the time to start saving is now, no matter how young or old they are; the question for you to ask is where to place your savings. If you start saving early in your child’s life, you can afford to be a...