Can’t I Just Use a Power of Attorney When Someone Passes On?

Legally, Power of Attorney dies when the person who executed it dies. If you think about it, a Power of Attorney is saying, I am empowering you to do anything that I can legally do. Once a person is deceased, he or she cannot legally do anything, therefore that authority ends when the person on […]

What to Do When Your Child Hits 18

You Still Think of Them as Your Babies – But the Law Doesn’t. On top of all the other transitions that occur with children throughout adolescence, they’re becoming adults, and maybe they are going away to college. They’re starting to assert their independence. The law often makes everything cut and dried. They were a minor […]

How Long Does Probate Take?

It takes longer than you think I often get the question about how long probate is going to take. Honestly, it takes as long as it takes. The typical time for probate is between six months a year-and-a-half – and that’s just the average. There are so many different estates that have so many different […]

What Assets Are Actually IN Probate?

It’s kind of a deceptive question because there are a lot of assets that technically avoid probate, but there is so much paperwork involved to prove to the court that they are not in probate, that they might as well be. Examples of assets that avoid probate, but still require paperwork with the court: Joint […]

Why is Probate So Complicated?

The Common Response The usual, flippant answer is: It’s the court system, it’s the government bureaucracy  ̶  of course it’s going to be complicated. Maybe that has something to do with it, but there really are some good reasons why they make the process so complicated. The Real Explanation They make it complicated because, in […]

Do I Need an Attorney to Handle Probate?

As with everything, there’s a lot of cost and benefit analysis involved in answering this question, and what is going to be more efficient for you. Knowing all of this, my answer is Yes – you probably you do. I have seen a lot of people try to handle their estates alone and it ends […]

Why I Wrote “Six Steps”

I wrote my latest book, Six Steps to Take when Someone Passes On,  because I often see people going through the death of a loved one who want to be proactive and are looking for ways to keep their mind busy during an emotional and stressful time. They’ll think, “We’ve got to put a notice […]

Legal Duct Tape Item of the Month: Masking Tape is Not an Estate Plan

With all of the information out there about estate planning, it astounds me how far the misinformation goes. However, there are people who will believe what they want to believe, especially if it means they can be lazy about actually doing something. Recently, a member of my family was discussing their own estate plan and told me and some other family members that all of their furniture was marked with masking tape with people’s names on it, and when they died, that’s who the furniture was supposed to go to. I was speechless for a few moments. I asked if they actually talked to an attorney, and they said they talked to their friend who used to work at a bank, and that person assured them that the masking tape technique would work.

Should I Just Sign Over My House to My Kids to Qualify for Medicaid?

The answer is Maybe. It’s got to be part of a coordinated plan that takes everything into account, not just the house. Last-minute gifting like that can have serious consequences I often see as what I refer to as “Nursing Home Cost Panic.” Suddenly, a family member needs nursing home care that is going to […]