Financial Wellness @ Work

Estate Planning After Your Will is Drafted

I talk with a lot of people who have absolutely nothing done in their estate planning efforts.No will, no medical directives, nothing. So, I spend a lot of time talking about what would make up the standard “Estate Planning 101” package that they could have an attorney draft.  The basic documents that nearly everyone should have in place are a will, powers of attorney for financial and medical decisions, and advance medical directives.  With these basic documents in place, most people could check “estate planning” off of their to do list.  But, to dig a layer deeper, what are some things that you can do after you’ve signed your basic documents, never to look at them again? Read more

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Lessons From a Tragedy

If you’re like me, you were shocked and horrified when you found out about Robin Williams’ death. I can’t tell you how many interviews I listened to and movie clips I watched of him in the days after the horrible news. Buried in all that media coverage, I also saw this article pointing out that unlike so many other celebrities with untimely ends, at least Williams spared his family additional stress and grief by taking care of his estate planning with a revocable trust.  Read more

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Do You Have An Advance Directive?

As a husband and father of four children, it is important to me to make sure my family is taken care of in the event of an emergency.  I have done a few things such as create an emergency fund, draft a will, and purchase life insurance, but there are a number of things I still have left to do.  One of the more important items I still have left on my to-do list is an advance health care directive. Read more

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Charitable Intentions With Potentially Uncharitable Results

My husband was ecstatic last weekend as the winning bidder of four Ravens tickets at a silent auction. The silent auction was part of a fundraiser for my friend’s niece, Melissa, who has been suffering from a rare illness that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Her story captured the attention of the local newspaper, then went viral when she was the featured recipient of Chive Charities for Hope for a Home. When I made the check out to pay for the Ravens tickets, I was told to make it payable for $350 to Melissa, but my check was miniscule compared to the over $388k raised altogether.  I was so happy that Melissa’s fundraiser had been such an amazing success, but I was also concerned about the consequences these donations might have on her since I was writing the check directly to her.  Read more

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Your Last Wish

Do you have a last wish?  I hadn’t given it much thought until last weekend, when I sadly had to attend a memorial of a friend who died unexpectedly at the early age of 48. Tom left behind a wife, a grown son, and his childhood best friend John, who he’d stayed close with for over 40 years of their lives.   Read more

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A Simple Estate Planning Checklist For a Challenging Topic

What does your current estate plan look like?  If you said you don’t have an estate plan, you’re probably wrong because the state you live in actually has a plan for your estate if you die without a will, trust, or other crucial documents.  If your line of thinking is “what estate…I’m overwhelmed by debt” or “I’m single with no kids” or “I’m young and just getting started in my career,” understand that everyone has an estate and needs an estate plan to make sure your individual, family, and financial goals are met once you die. Read more

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Five Step Check List for Your Estate Plan

What did Heath Ledger and former Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger have in common?  Their career choices couldn’t have been more different but in their estate planning, they made similar mistakes — ones that could have been easily avoided.  Heath Ledger made the mistake of not updating his will when his daughter was born and even though Warren Burger was a Supreme Court Justice, well versed in the law, he made the mistake of doing it himself and ended up leaving out some key provisions.  In both cases, the family paid the price.  If a Supreme Court Justice can make a mistake, anyone can. Read more

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What We Can Learn From “The Will: Family Secrets Revealed”

Sometimes my job is really fun!!!  Today is one of those days.  I had the opportunity to check out a TV show before it airs.  That made me feel a little bit like a celebrity.  Here’s the story.  There’s a show on Investigation Discovery called The Will: Family Secrets Revealed and I had never seen the show before.  Because of our blog here, someone from the channel contacted us to let us know that Season 3 is starting soon and graciously allowed one of us to preview a few episodes.  Luckily for me, I was the one who got to do this.  I think I have a new favorite show and I’ll be DVR’ing the series now!  Read more

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Three Common Estate Planning Mistakes That You Can Easily Avoid

When I made a mistake once on my taxes, I got a notice from the IRS in the mail asking me to pay what I actually owed and a little extra for interest and penalties.  This was certainly not a pleasant experience, but all it really cost me was money and my pride. However, when you make a mistake in estate planning and don’t catch it, you may not know it until it is too late.  The very people you were trying to take care of may end up muttering your name under their breath in frustration because they have some problems on their hands. Read more

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Why Naming a Successor Trustee Is So Important

Last week I shared with you the story of Joe who, as a named healthcare power of attorney for his aunt and uncle, found himself in the difficult position of having to make healthcare decisions for both of them under less than hospitable circumstances.  As though that were not enough, Joe was also named the successor trustee for his aunt and uncle’s trust, which meant that at the same time he was making difficult healthcare decisions, he would also have to make important financial decisions.  Now, at first glance you might think it makes sense to name the same person in both capacities.  After all, one of the decisions Joe had to make was whether his aunt and uncle should receive care in their home or in a facility, and that would certainly depend on what they could afford.  But there are a number of reasons why it may have been better to name someone else as the successor trustee. Read more

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