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As loved ones age, their physical and mental abilities change. They may not be as quick or sharp as they once were, they may have mood swings, and they may need more help taking care of themselves. But there is a difference between the general decline individuals can experience as they age and the decline someone can experience if living with dementia. The following are signs of dementia provided by the Alzheimer’s Association that caretakers may encounter: Memory loss – the kind that goes beyond occasionally forgetting a...

In September of 2008, Congressional leaders passed House Resolution 1499 declaring the third week in October as “National Estate Planning Awareness Week.” Resolution 1499 estimated over 120,000,000 Americans did not have up-to-date estate plans to protect themselves or their families in the event of sickness, accidents, or untimely death. More recently a 2019 survey, carried out by Caring.com, found 57% of adults in the United States have not prepared any estate planning documents such as a will or trust, despite the fact that 76% of the surveyed adults...

Car accidents have unfortunately become a common occurrence. According to Michigan State Police, there were 312,798 car accidents in 2018, which resulted in over 75,000 people being injured[1]. These injuries can lead to emergency room visits, extended hospitalizations, physical therapy, missed work, and they can also wreak havoc on your accounts and assets if you have not properly planned for your future. Lawsuits can be, and often are, filed over car accidents. These will likely result in the person who was injured being owed money from the person who...

October is Financial Planning Month, a time to check in on any financial goals you may have made this year. Maybe your goal was focusing on becoming more fiscally responsible, maybe you wanted to save for a big purchase or vacation. Or, perhaps it was looking at ways you could plan for your future, your retirement, and your family’s future. Another way to plan for your future and your retirement is through estate planning. Our method of estate planning focuses on how our clients can remain in...

Estate planning may be something you only associate with older adults – those with families that span multiple generations, retirees who have accumulated wealth from work and various retirement and investment plans, or elderly individuals who require assistance through at-home care or nursing homes. But estate planning can be beneficial to young adults as well. The following tools can help an individual plan for many different occasions, no matter what age. If there is an accident that causes incapacitation, most young adults would want their parents’ or spouse’s...

Today, April 16, 2019, our firm, along with other national, state and community organizations, is taking part in a massive effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making — an effort that has culminated in the formal designation of April 16th as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD).  We have been supporting our clients’ healthcare wishes for more than ten years by providing comprehensive estate plans that include the healthcare directives that clients need in a medical emergency. These documents can...

After we now have passed Chinese New Year, it’s a great time to check in with yourself on how you are doing with your New Year’s resolutions. You would not be alone if you haven’t stuck with them as much as you would have liked to – studies have shown most individuals don’t keep their resolutions for the entire year, and some don’t make it past the beginning of February.  But before you say, “well there’s always next year” you can...

Do you own property as joint tenants? Have you considered the planning pitfalls of this way of owning property? Ownership as joint tenants is so pervasive in our society that we don’t look at its downsides. In joint tenancy, each person owns the entire asset, not a part of the asset. This legal fiction of two or more people owning 100 percent of the same asset is derived from the full name given to joint tenancy: joint tenancy with right of...

Blended families by nature bring more people to the table.  The following are only a few of the big challenges we face when planning for a blended family. Your Ex-Spouse A major concern for most divorces is the need to disinherit your ex-spouse. While married to your ex-spouse, you most like designated him/her as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, a pension plan, 401(K) plan, or similar retirement plan, which was provided by your employer.  If you fail to update your beneficiaries...

Many parents purchase life insurance, sign a will, or prepare a trust to ensure the well-being of their children. The majority of life insurance proceeds are left outright to children and other beneficiaries without a single word of instruction. This kind of planning is a travesty. Minor children cannot own property. Leaving life insurance proceeds or any other kind of property to minors is futile. Doing so leaves it directly to the probate court, under whose direction it will stay for...