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The different powers of attorney

One of the primary reasons for planning your estate while you are able to do so is to ensure that you and your interests will be cared for when you are no longer able to care for them yourself. This is done by creating legal documents and appointing people to fulfill certain roles. One of those most important roles a person can fulfill is that of power of attorney.

Power of attorney

A power of attorney itself is a legal document. This document provides someone of your choosing with the ability to make legal decisions on your behalf. One of the convenient aspects of assigning power of attorney to someone is that you can give them as much or as little as you want.

Why joint tenancy with your child is a bad idea

Having an estate plan is incredibly important, regardless of age, marital status or financial status. Everyone has assets that will one day be passed along. Joint tenancy is an estate plan option usually used by couples or business partners to obtain joint ownership and rights to assets. It also gives full ownership of those assets to the partner when one person in the joint tenancy passes away.

There are advantages and reasons for joint tenancy, but some may consider entering joint tenancy with their child to avoid certain aspects of the estate process later, such as probate. While this may be tempting to consider, this is not a wise decision for a number of reasons.

Is probate really necessary?

Is probate necessary after a loved one dies? In reality, it depends. The probate process can take more than one year to complete, and may leave you and your loved ones in prolonged grief until the matter is resolved.

The cost of not having a will

Whether just out of college, raising the kids, or planning for retirement, having a will is not just a formality, it is an essential part of managing assets.

Passing away without a will can cause a headache for surviving family members and a drawn-out legal process.

Waiting for resolution is never pleasant - and it also costs money. The average (non-millionaire) estate takes close to 9 months or a year to resolve.

3 reasons why estate planning is important for single people

When you ask people why they don't have an estate plan in place, you'll often get one of two answers. Some people know they need an estate plan, but they just have not gotten to it yet. Others think estate planning is not for "people like them."

Many single people fall into this second category. They mistakenly believe that estate planning is only for people who are married or who have children.

In fact, the opposite is true. It is especially important for single people to take steps to protect their safety and their legacy. 

There is no reason to be scared of bankruptcy

To a lot of people, filing bankruptcy can seem like a frightening prospect. As with many unfamiliar things, the fear of bankruptcy usually stems from misconceptions about what bankruptcy really means and does.

In reality, bankruptcy can be a lifesaver for people who are struggling with overwhelming debt. Here are some of the many ways bankruptcy can help you.

Will contests: Will I lose my share if I speak up?

You have lost a friend or family member, and they have left a will, and there is property involved. Yet, perhaps you have reasonable doubts about the validity of that will, or about some aspect of how it is being administered. What can you do?

You can contest a will in probate court. A will contest is a legal proceeding where the validity of a decedent's will is challenged by one or more beneficiaries of that will (see the law here). The process involves litigating (going to court) over the terms of the will to determine whether it was properly executed (written, signed and witnessed) and whether it reflects the intentions of the deceased.

Top five estate planning mistakes people make

Estate planning done correctly serves as an essential part of your overall financial plan. With that in mind, here are five mistakes people often make that relate to estate planning:

Mistake #1: Not having a plan

Of course, the most serious estate planning error is simply not having a plan at all. Drafting a will and other important estate planning documents may not be the most pleasant type of task to tackle, but it is necessary not just for the wealthy but for everyone.

A lawyer's tips for caring for your aging parents

If you are starting on the adventure of caring for your parents, or have been a parent's caretaker for awhile, you are not alone. According to research by MetLife's Mature Market Institute (MMI), the percentage of adults caring for aging parents has more than tripled in the past few decades. Caretakers do everything from driving their parents to doctor's appointments to feeding and bathing them.

Making the choice to care for an elderly or ill parent is both respectable and kind, but it is also expensive and exhausting. Here are some tips on how you can protect you, your finances and your loved one.

Four estate planning essentials families with young children should consider

Estate planning is different for families with young children. While older individuals often focus on the division of a lifetime of accrued wealth, parents have another main objective: providing for their children in case of an unforeseen event that claims the life of one or both parents.

Of course, a tragedy like that is something that most people do not want to consider. However, having an estate plan in place is a good idea, just in case. You may never need it, but you will gain peace of mind knowing that your children are protected.