What to Do if a Family Member Dies Without a Will

Estate planning is an important process that includes setting up trusts, wills, and POAs. No matter your age or asset level, having a will is beneficial. According to a recent survey, nearly 33 percent of Americans have no estate plan at all, and that includes a basic will. With over 1/3rd of the country unprepared, it is likely that you have a parent or family member who will die without
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Estate Planning and Couples with an Age Gap

For couples who get together and are of similar ages, planning for the future is usually a joint effort. Couples who have a significant age gap may have different plans for the future, however. If you are married to someone who is significantly older or younger than you, the future may look different and require different types of planning. To protect yourself, your spouse, and other loved ones in your
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Revocable Trusts versus Irrevocable Trusts: What’s Right For You

There are many different types of trusts for estate planning purposes. The most common trust types are revocable and irrevocable trusts, and many people wonder if they need one or both to be protected. While there are some similar features, these two major categories of trusts carry different purposes in your estate plan. Both can substitute for a last will and testament as an alternative way to distribute property, though
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Reduce Your Risk of Probate Litigation

There are many family circumstances that can increase the risk of probate litigation when someone passes. They all come down to basically the same fight: families disagreeing on how to handle the estate of a loved one who dies. High-risk factors that often bring about probate litigation can include sibling rivalry, a large estate, second marriages with no prenuptial agreement, a dysfunctional family, and a non-standard (or non-existent) estate plan.
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When to Talk About Your Parent’s Financial Future

Finances is one of those topics that many families avoid talking about. The stigma around talking about money can leave many wondering what to do as our parents get older. But financial experts agree that waiting to talk about finances with your aging parent is a mistake, especially if they are already experiencing cognitive decline or signs of dementia. It takes time to gather all the information you need to
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Multigenerational Wealth: An Estate Checklist

Generational wealth is commonly referred to as the assets and money passed down from one generation to another. These assets might include bonds, stocks, properties, jewelry, family businesses, and other investments. With our aging population, and what is known as “the silver tsunami,” the topic of generational wealth is becoming more and more important. However, studies estimate that 70 percent of family wealth is lost by the end of the
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The Power of the Pet Trust

For so many of us, pets are part of the family. Their wellbeing and happiness are important, and we want to make sure they are taken care of in case something bad should happen. Whether you have a dog, cat, bird, horse, or even more exotic pets such as a snake or lizard, the best way to ensure their needs are met after you are gone is to create a
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The King Legacy

Larry King, the legendary talk-show host, lived a long and successful life. He hosted “Larry King Live” for over 25 years, married seven women, and had five children. Despite many years of health problems, he died at the old age of 87 on January 23, 2021. While the exact cause of his death was still being determined, his $2 million estate had already landed itself in probate court. Larry King’s Estate
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What to Know About Contesting a Will

After the death of a loved one, how they prepared and what estate planning they did becomes apparent quickly. When a loved one dies with a will, the family may or may not be happy with what winds up being on the will. They will typically go through a court-ordered process, called probate, to determine the validity of the will.  For many reasons, beneficiaries can become upset by what they
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Estate Planning Terms to Know

National Estate Planning Awareness Week was first established in 2008 to help the public gain a better understanding of the importance of estate planning. Estate planning is one of those things that everybody needs to do, yet only approximately half of Americans have an up-to-date estate plan in place. Regardless of your age or financial situation, you need estate planning to protect you, your family, and your assets should you
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Estate Planning During a Pandemic

Whether you are young or old, COVID-19 has us all thinking about our mortality and health more these days. This pandemic took us all by surprise, did you have your affairs in order before? According to one study, approximately 1/3 of all Americans did not have an up-to-date estate plan as of 2017. We expect and hope that number will rise in 2020. Now that we are all thinking about
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Should I Add My Kids to My Bank Account?

Many clients walk into the Michaelson & Associates law firm saying that they want to leave their bank accounts to their children after death. The easiest solution might be to just make the children joint owners, but that is not always the best course of action.  The idea of making your kids joint account owners sounds better than it actually is. Yes, you will avoid probate court proceedings for the
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Why You Need a Will

Wills and trusts are an essential part of estate planning, and they should be an essential part of planning your life. Many of us like to focus on planning our careers, where we live, and our family lives. Planning the end of your life by completing a will is one important part you don’t want to skip, no matter how uncomfortable it might be.   What’s a Will? Your last
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Michaelson & Associates Talks Estate Planning in Nevada on LV Channel 13 Morning Blend 

Did you catch Michaelson & Associates on Channel 13, Las Vegas Morning Blend? John Michaelson had the opportunity to speak more about estate planning and the importance of estate planning in Nevada. Some key takeaways from John’s interview include the following:  Estate planning is important for people of all ages.  Estate planning consists of saying what you want to happen and the type of care you want if something bad happens, which
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Estate Planning for Blended Families

It is not uncommon for couples to divorce and remarry. People will often bring children into a new marriage from a prior marriage or union, and may choose to have kids in their new marriage as well.  This can be referred to as a blended family. Blended family estate planning is extremely important. Careful estate planning ensures that the needs of each spouse are met, as well as the needs
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COVID 19 Panic Has Americans of All Ages Thinking About Estate Planning

The COVID-19 virus has taken over our lives and many people are thinking about how they and their families are protected. With more people getting sick and/or experiencing the loss of loved ones, there has been an explosion in the numbers of Americans rushing to make their will and living trust. According to Caring.com, the rate of will and estate planning has been on the decline since 2017 but this trend
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Special Needs Trusts – What You Need to Know

October has been designated as Special Needs Law Month with a grassroots effort to help people with disabilities and their families understand special needs planning and the resources available to them.  Special needs planning can involve special needs trusts, care management, advocacy to preserve educational or civil rights, public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid, and other important issues.  In general, a trust is created when property
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Points to Discuss with Your Aging Parent

Your parent is getting on in age, but you don’t have a clear idea if there is a plan in place for their care.  It is a difficult topic to broach; no one wants to talk about death and the financial realities that come with aging. Instead of having a proactive conversation early in a parent’s aging process most families have a reactive discussion under high levels of stress and
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Planning For The Financial Future Of A Troubled Adult Child

Your 3-Step Guide to Creating an Informed Estate Plan Are you concerned about any of your adult children? Estate planning can pose extra challenges for families with adult children struggling with addiction, marital issues, or irresponsibility with money. The last thing you want is for your wealth to end up having a negative impact on your child, or to see them squander their inheritance. Many parents are concerned about what
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