Who Get’s Fido?

It looks like the Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth split should be a relatively smooth one- legally speaking.  By all reports, the couple entered into a prenuptial agreement, in advance of their 8 month marriage. No children, no one in need of support- what could present a legal wrinkle?  Custody of the Pets!! The couple

Avoiding Blended Family Chaos

When you or your partner have children from a prior relationship, some advance planning is critically important. Some thought must be given to likely sources of conflict between one's adult children and a surviving spouse or domestic partner.   The biggest source of contention involves the house.  Adult children often believe it should be left to

Even Happy Couples Should Consider a PostNup!

I believe that all couples should consider a limited PostNuptial agreement to ensure that their estate planning goals are carried out.  Most married couples have wills or trusts that provide for each other upon the first death, and then their children upon the second death.  This plan, however, is often turned on its head when

Never Put the House in Junior’s Name!

The single biggest estate planning mistake is to put real estate into children's names.  The motivations for doing this are understandable.  People wish to avoid probate, protect the home from long term care costs, and tax consequences.  This simple transfer, however, will create a host of problems for both the parents and children.  First, the

Financial Infidelity

Nearly one-half of adults surveyed admitted to keeping financial secrets from their partners.  Some of my clients tell me that they keep spending and/or debt levels secret in an attempt to avoid fighting over the subject.  It is true that financial fights are among the top causes of all break-ups.   Keeping money woes a

Building the Best Structure to Protect Assets

Whether we wish to protect assets from prowling big bad wolves or taxes, long term care costs and family squabbling, choosing the right structure is critically important.  When I hear non-attorney document sellers extol the virtues of Living or Revocable Trusts, I am reminded of the first little pig who constructed his house from straw. 

Estate Planning for College Freshmen

Starting college this Fall? This undoubtedly means stocking up on bedding, toiletries, books, posters, and snacks for the new dorm room. Absent from most checklists are legal documents. This is a huge oversight. When a child turns 18, parents can no longer automatically make their healthcare decisions. A Health Care Proxy allows the new adult

A Good PreNup Can Eliminate Needless Angst

A good prenup will do far more than simply protect the wealthier party from being taken to the cleaners in a divorce.  The document can and should provide some amount of financial security for the poorer spouse.  Without some baseline financial protections, we may worry about being left broke and homeless every time there is

Can I Write My Own Will?

I am often asked if a DIY Will is valid.  The answer is:  "It Depends"  If you are on a gameshow, the correct answer is that a Do It Yourself Will is valid.  This is technically true.  I am free to write my will on a paper towel.  The real question is:  How long will my loved

Estate Planning and Dental Visits are Easy to Put Off!

The results of neglected dental work may be more immediate, but are no less painful to a family than neglected estate planning. Prince and Aretha Franklin are just two examples of wildly successful people whose failure to create a clear estate plan is causing years of legal turmoil and heartache for their loved ones. I