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The Hokey Pokey and Your Financial Power of Attorney

SignatureDid you hear what happened when the composer of the Hokey Pokey died? They had a terrible time getting his body into the casket. Supposedly they put his right leg in and . . .

But we digress from a more serious topic: what the Hokey Pokey has to do with the document used when someone’s disabled.

Y’see, the dance worked best when people followed its directions. You did what it told you to do, which was simple. Nobody bumped into anybody else and the dance worked.

Where this is going: we review lots of Financial Powers of Attorney each year. We find that so many of them are missing a simple but required part. Not having this part in the document means the FPOA may be worthless – an impressive-looking document that is only good to ignite kindling. [Read more…]

Three Reasons You Still Need a Will, Regardless of the Estate Tax

FamilyWe heard so much about the “Fiscal Cliff” a few months back, and after all that talk and all the headlines, for most people, the change in the Estate Tax didn’t really change a thing — you still need a Will. Here’s why.

1. The Estate Tax doesn’t decide who raises your children.
We hear it all the time: “I don’t have any assets so I don’t need a Will.” But you do have children, and the change in the Estate Tax isn’t going to name guardians to take care of them if something happens to you.

When both parents die, the Georgia Probate Court will look to see who the parents named as guardians for their children in their Wills. If there are no Wills, then the Probate Court decides who will raise them.

Even if you aren’t sure about the person you choose, you are going to make a better informed choice than a Judge who never met you, and won’t meet your children, your in-laws, siblings, and parents until the Probate Court hearing where they’ll be fighting it out. [Read more…]

Read This Article Before You Create a Will Online

Fine PrintToday’s questions:

  • What good is a “satisfaction guarantee” from an online will company when the problems with the will don’t become clear until you’re dead?
  • Why buy an online will kit from sellers who warn you that the content of their site is not guaranteed to be correct, complete or up-to-date?

I was recently presented with a will prepared through an online service. The person who downloaded it, filled in the blanks, and signed it would never know the problems created by the online form, as he had passed away.  But now, upon review of the document following his death, the problems with it were becoming clear to his family. [Read more…]

It’s Critical to Discuss Your Will with Your Children – Even if it’s Uncomfortable

Certain superstitions are silly: “Handling a toad gives you warts.” “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.” “It’s good luck to find a horseshoe.” (Unless, of course, it’s still attached to the horse).

Other superstitions have intellectual issues: When Punxsutawney Pete looks for his shadow on Groundhog Day, how does he know what he’s looking for? Or does the shadow know?

Other superstitions come with directions: “Pull off the petals of a daisy one by one, naming a boy (or a girl as the case may be) at each one, thus: Jenny, Fanny, Jenny, Fanny, etc. The one named with the last petal is your sweetheart.”

Life and death have their superstitions. If you’re having thirteen for dinner in Brookline, MA, “the last one who sits down will not die.” In nearby Somerville, “the one who rises first from a table of thirteen will not live through the year.” So if you’re invited to dinner in New England, take your time showing up and chew your food really, really well.

Here’s a superstition which is both worthless and dangerous: “If you discuss your Will with your children, you die really soon.”

[Read more…]

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