What “Downton Abbey” Teaches Us About Financial Planning

“Downton Abbey” is a show all about money — those who have it, those who don’t, and the tensions and expectations it can bring. View image | gettyimages.com It stands to reason, then, that we might glean a lesson or two about financial prudence from the British series’ ever-quotable aristocrats. CNN took up that very […]

Tom Clancy’s Estate Plans: Not as Tight as His Novels

In recent months, we’ve had occasion to tell you about a few late celebrities’ apparently airtight estate plans, Robin Williams and Joan Rivers among them. View image | gettyimages.com Celebrities don’t always leave their affairs in such tidy order, though. The very public probate of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s estate is one recent example. Now we […]

A New Year, A New Increase in the Estate Tax Exemption

A new year always brings a number of new changes to the state and federal tax rules. Right off the bat, one of 2015’s more notable changes involves the federal estate tax exemption. View image | gettyimages.com In 2014, estates worth $5.34 million or less were exempted from the federal estate tax — a big […]

Trusts Aren’t Just for the Wealthy

When you hear “trust” — and especially “trust fund” — you probably conjure up images of caviar, silver spoons, and six-wing mansions. That’s the stereotype, and we all carry it around with us. But is it really fair? View image | gettyimages.com Not at all. We’re here to tell you that trusts are for everyone. […]

Estate Planning Is Important for Single Parents

Conversations about estate planning tend to focus on marital units — that is, married parents of children. It is important, though, that we not overlook the many other kinds of families and estates out there. Often, their estate needs are even more urgent. View image | gettyimages.com In particular, single parents need to give serious […]

December is the Time to Talk with Family About Estate Planning

Which kinds of conversations did you have with your family this Thanksgiving? Weather? Careers? Memories of holidays past? View image | gettyimages.com Those are all staples of any year-end gathering, but allow us to suggest one other topic to add to December’s family functions: the future. Strange as it may seem, many experts recommend holiday […]

Basic Estate Planning: Tips for Beginners

Estate planning isn’t always a comfortable topic for people to consider, nor is it an easy process to tackle. But it doesn’t have to be insurmountable. #159955157 / gettyimages.com MarketWatch recently published “9 steps to getting your estate plan in order.” They provide some great advice, geared primarily toward those who’ve just lost a loved […]

Why “Last Will” Really Means “First Step”

We call it the “Last Will and Testament.” But when you’re planning your estate, the will is hardly the last thing you need to do. On the contrary, it’s only the beginning. #102070486 / gettyimages.com The New York Times recently put a spotlight on just how elaborate estate planning has become in the modern world. […]

Joan Rivers: Lessons from a Life Well Lived

It’s been two months since Joan Rivers passed away and she’s still a part of the media cycle. That’s a testament to the impact she made on the culture… an impact we may not have quite realized until she was gone. But then that’s often how it goes. #170147899 / gettyimages.com The estate planning community […]

Is It Really Impossible to Have Both Family and Fortune?

How much is your family costing you? Does “everything” sound like an overestimate? Not according to one Forbes financial writer. #142456905 / gettyimages.com In an interesting but arguably excessively cynical analysis, columnist Phil DeMuth opines that you can either be rich or have a family — not both. And even those lucky enough to pull […]