Blog

The Last Important Gift to Give Your Family

As hard as it is for all of us to plan for our deaths, doing so is one of the best things you can do for your family. Adding to their grief and pain by giving them no clue as to where to find your personal and business paperwork should not be a memory you leave...

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How To Leave Your Home To Your Kids

Many parents want to know the best way to leave a home to their children. Before you make a plan, you should first be sure that your children actually want the property. We have seen too many parents take on unnecessary financial hardship in order to keep a home as an...

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How to Fund Your Trust to Avoid Probate

A common estate planning mistake many people make – including celebrities like Michael Jackson – is not ensuring the Trust you have created holds all your assets. Unfortunately, many lawyers do not make sure this is properly handled for their clients because they are...

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What Happens if You Die Without a Will?

Most people know they need a Will. And many of them fully intend to write a Will ... someday. But life is busy and the will keeps getting put off. Eventually, someday becomes never.. In fact, nearly half of American adults will die without a Will in place. So what...

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Legal Strategies to Avoid Guardianship

As senior citizens continue to age, the likelihood increases that they will become physically or mentally incapacitated. Hopefully, people in such a situation have family members who step in and help keep their affairs in order. However, that is not always the case....

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Planning for What Happens Last

Seth Godin is a well-known and oft-quoted American entrepreneur who has authored 13 best sellers that have been translated into 33 languages. Recently, he wrote a post on his blog at SethGodin.com that is a must-read for everyone. I am reprinting it here in its...

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Financial Myths About Getting a Divorce

If your marriage is on the rocks, one of your many worries is probably the impact divorce will have on your financial life. Pierchoski Estate Law can support you with a thorough analysis of your assets and understanding of the financial impact of a divorce, but first...

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The Pros and Cons of Prenuptial Agreements

Americans today are getting married later in life.  Currently, the average age of a first marriage is 27 for women and 29 for men -- an increase of four years for women and three years for men in just the last 25 years. So it may not be so surprising that more...

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Legal Rights of Grandparents:

When all is ideal in a family, the bond between grandparent and child is a special one. Maybe you’ve even heard that grandparenting is the grand reward for parenting. But what happens when the grandparent becomes the parent? Or when parents’ divorce or one parent dies...

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Estate Planning with Gifts to Grandchildren

If you are in your golden years and are looking for ways to spread your wealth, you should consider the various tools that will allow you to financially protect and benefit your grandchildren. Carefully planning your gifts to your grandchildren is not only a generous...

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Cleaning For Your Legal and Financial Affairs

Spring has officially sprung and that means it’s spring cleaning time. Shake out the rugs, clean out the cupboards, and get your legal and financial affairs in order. For plenty of folks, it’s easy to know what to do when it comes to home organization, but the idea of...

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What to Do With a Cash Windfall

Many of us like to fantasize about winning the lottery. We muse with our friends about how we might spend the money, and we dream about never wanting for anything ever again. The odds are against us, of course, at least as far as the lottery goes. But that doesn’t...

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Taking the Complexity Out of Estate Planning

Remember that old joke: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time. The truth about how you tackle any seemingly complex task, taking it one step at a time so as not to overwhelm yourself. Many people neglect to create an estate plan because they see it as...

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The Talk You Need to Have With Your Parents

When you were a kid, your parents dreaded the talk they had to have with you. You know the one. Well, now that you are an adult, there’s a talk you need to have with your parents that is likely to be just as squirm-worthy – which is why so many of us put it off. It’s...

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New Help for Financial Caregivers

Pierchoski Estate Law knows that you have special considerations if you are helping an elderly parent or relative manage their finances or have been given a power of attorney, then you have both legal and ethical obligations in your role as a fiduciary. Basically, a...

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Protecting Your Newborn From Birth

Congratulations! It’s an Estate Plan! In the process of becoming new parents, many couples become experts at planning –scheduling the birthing classes, planning the new nursery, even picking out a preschool. There is so much to think about before you welcome your new...

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Estate Planning Essentials for Parents

A comprehensive estate plan can protect the things that matter most. For many, this means their property and their family. Including provisions for the care of your children in your estate plan is essential for peace of mind. But many parents struggle with including...

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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 risk...

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Before You Take Off for Summer Vacation

It’s no surprise that Americans spend more time planning their summer vacations than they do planning their estate. After all, a vacation is a trip you want to go on, while the eternal trip is not. However, wouldn’t you travel with more peace of mind if you knew you...

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Consider Your Estate Plan Before You Travel

Booking flights and that great destination resort is where everyone’s mind goes when thinking about travel and vacations. And you are also planning for pet care, house sitting and someone to grab your papers and mail while you are gone. But it is also time to think...

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A Duty Checklist for Trustees of a Trust

It’s no misnomer that a position with so much responsibility carries the name trustee. After all, you have been entrusted with a solemn responsibility and you no doubt want to do the best possible job. Here are 10 things to do when you are appointed trustee of a...

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What Happens to Your Data When You Die?

Take a moment and consider how much of your life you live online. If you are like most of us, you bank, pay bills, make purchases, connect with friends and communicate with just about everyone you know online. Think about all the digital assets you have accumulated -...

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Digital Life After Death

Have you ever thought about what happens to your social media accounts after you die? According to the Pew Research Center, 74 percent of Internet users maintain a social media presence using websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. The far majority...

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Debunking 4 Common Myths About Gift Taxes

April 15 is not only the traditional deadline for filing your state and federal income tax returns, but also the deadline for filing gift tax returns via IRS Form 709. Many people are confused about the subject of gift taxes. Here are some common myths and the actual...

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Retirement Planning Guidelines for Every Age

You’re never too young or too old to save for retirement; here are some guidelines by age group: Under 25:  If you graduated from college with debt, you are certainly not alone – the average debt burden is currently $26,500 for 65 percent of college graduates. Once...

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How Can I Plan for a Strategic Retirement?

Not sure how you can ensure a smooth transition from working life to retired life? Walking away from regular paychecks and employer-provided benefits can feel a little nerve wracking. Minimize the impact of these major life changes by planning accordingly. Time It:...

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Know How You Are Invested

If you have money invested in the stock market, whether through a retirement account or a straight brokerage account, I challenge you today to find out exactly what your money is invested in and make a conscious choice about what you are supporting in the world. If...

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Signing Up for Medicare

People who are nearing the age of 65 should be making plans for the transition from private health care to Medicare. It is not a simple process or one that happens automatically. You have to initiate the enrollment process at a specific time or suffer a monetary...

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5 Steps to Fix Your Battered Retirement Plan

It’s no secret that a majority of Americans are ill-prepared for retirement.  A recent Forbes.com post detailed the 5 steps you can take now to being repairing the hole in your retirement plan: Pay Yourself First. Set up an account that is not easy for you to access...

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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,...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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 ashes...

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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,...

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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...

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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 -...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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 to...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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 when...

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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...

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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 will, and...

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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 and...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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 lack...

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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 on the...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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 risk...

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