May 7

Who Will Take Care of Your Children?

Who will care for your children in the unlikely event that your death occurs while your children are still minors? This question can keep parents awake at night. Your brother Bob would be great at managing money on behalf of the children but the kids think he’s a cold fish. Your friend Sue is the kids’ beloved honorary aunt with whom they already spend considerable time. However, Sue is a confirmed shopaholic and can never seem to keep any money in the bank.
The good news is that Bob could be named as guardian of your children’s estate, the manager of the money, and Sue could be named as guardian of the person who is in charge of the children’s daily lives. The only caveat would be to make sure that both guardians can work together for the good of your children. It is also important to discuss your plan with all the parties involved including your children, depending upon their ages, to make sure your plan is acceptable to everyone.
Now that you’ve made this tough decision, how do you make sure your wishes are known and followed? The answer lies in effective estate planning. You may either name the guardians in your last will and testament or in a separate stand-alone document. Whichever method you choose, it is imperative that the adults involved know where you’ve placed these important documents so that they may be easily accessed in an emergency.
For more information about guardianships, please contact a qualified estate planning attorney.

April 6

Happy National Humor Month

April is National Humor Month!!!

National Humor Month was founded in 1976 by humor writer, Larry Wilde. Its purpose is to enlighten the public about the value of laughter. After all, humor adds joy to our daily lives, boosts morale, and makes for better conversation.

It’s no coincidence Mister Wilde chose April Fools Day as the official start to National Humor Month. For our part, Streeter Law Group would like to offer the following estate planning jokes.

Math Question …

A fifth grade teacher asked her class this math question … she said: “A wealthy man dies and leaves ten million dollars. One-fifth is to go to the man’s wife – one fifth is to go to his son – one sixth to the butler – and the rest to charity.”

“Now,” asked the teacher, “what does each person get?”

A little girl raised her hand. “A lawyer,” she said.

Optimist / Pessimist …

An optimist sees a glass filled half way and says it is half full.
A pessimist sees a glass filled half way and says it is half empty.
An estate planning attorney sees a glass filled half way and says, “the IRS took half because you didn’t plan.”

Hopefully at least one of those tickled your funny bone. We’ll leave any future jokes to the actual joke writers. However, something we do draft well, is estate planning. Let us know if we can be of assistance, and … Happy National Humor Month!!!

February 27

Planning Documents your College Student Needs

Your son or daughter is headed off to college. You’ve packed the extra-long twin size sheets, the mini-fridge and the laundry bag (that will no doubt be returned to you overflowing). What else could your college-bound student possibly need?
These are the essential documents your adult child should have prepared and signed before leaving to college. *For the purposes of this article, it is assumed the adult child will choose their parent(s) as agent(s):
1. Advance Health Care Directive and HIPAA release. If your child is over the age of 18 it can be nearly impossible to obtain any information from healthcare professionals regarding your child’s care. There is nothing scarier than being thousands of miles away and receiving a telephone call that your child is being transported to a hospital. Without an advance health care directive and HIPAA release, this frightening scenario just became unmanageable and you will be left in the dark.
2. Durable Power of Attorney for Management of Assets. If your child is incapacitated, even temporarily, this document will authorize you to act on your child’s behalf. It may be used to speak to the financial aid office of a college or to access your child’s bank account(s). You may need this form to speak to a health insurer regarding billing and payment matters. It may also be used to assist you in dealing with your child’s landlord or auto insurer.
Those extra long twin sheets will certainly help your college student sleep better at night. Knowing they have proper planning will help you do the same.

For more information about Advance Health Care Directives, Durable Power of Attorneys or other estate planning documents; please schedule an appointment with a qualified estate planning attorney.

January 15

Prince’s Bad Estate Plan

On Thursday, April 21, 2016, singer/songwriter, Prince died in his Minnesota home. He was fifty seven years old. At the time of his death Prince didn’t have either a will or trust despite owning an estate valued at more than two hundred million dollars.

Since a will was never discovered, Prince’s estate went into probate, where it currently remains.

At the time of his death, Prince was unmarried and had no children. He did, however, have six siblings. A full sister named Tyka Nelson and five half siblings.

Under Minnesota law; if a person dies without a will, the siblings and half siblings are treated the same without regard to relationship. This would mean that each of the six siblings is expected to split Prince’s estate evenly.

The problem is that Prince might not have wanted to have his estate split equally. As a matter of fact, it is likely he might not have wanted at least one of his siblings to inherit as much as the others, if he wanted them to inherit at all.

Duane Nelson had been estranged from Prince. Although little is known as to what caused the estrangement, what is known, is that Duane was once the security chief for his famous half brother. Prince later fired and filed for a restraining order against Duane.

Another half sibling named Alfred Jackson told a reporter he and Prince hadn’t spoken to one another in fifteen years.

If Prince wanted either Duane or Alfred written out, or the amount of their inheritance reduced, he missed his opportunity. By not having a will he essentially gave them each a full sixth of his estate. By not having a trust, he reduced all his heirs’ inheritance, as his estate is now responsible for millions of dollars in legal fees, taxes and expenses for which it otherwise would not be responsible.

For more information about wills, trusts or other estate planning documents, please contact a qualified estate planning attorney.

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