Building Legacies that Last Estate Planning and Elder Law

Muhammad Ali’s Estate Plan Left A Legacy

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” This was said by no one other that the world’s most renowned heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali. Ali sadly left this world back in 2016 due to complications with Parkinson’s disease, and his legacy lives on even to this day. With this legacy, he left behind approximately $80 million dollar estate to his wife, Yolanda.

Unfortunately for his children, they fought against their stepmother in order to retain the $6 million that they each deserved. Surprisingly, even though his own children despise one another, they are able to work together to make sure the money with Ali’s estate allocated effectively and evenly. His children even accused their stepmother of keeping Ali isolated from his children during his final days.

Besides Ali’s estate, his funeral proceedings went in accordance with the thorough details he laid down years before. Ali claimed that he wanted both his life and his death to become a teaching moment for younger audiences. From a traditional islamic funeral to being praised for being “The Greatest of All Time”, Ali’s legacy will never be forgotten. Even though his estate planning was not considered to be strong, the legacy and funeral proceedings went perfectly as planned.

Michelle Profit is an estate planning attorney serving Maryland and the District of Columbia. A Harvard Law School graduate, she has worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years. A dedicated advocate for all of her clients, Michelle Q. Profit personally handles each client case from start to finish to meet the client’s needs and objectives. Michelle listens in the consultation sessions and works with any other client accountants or financial planners to create a comprehensive estate plan.

How Michael Jackson’s Estate Plan Was A Success

Michael Jackson, the King of Pop culture, not only left behind such a legacy but also left behind a great estate plan. He made the sensible choice unlike Prince, Aretha Franklin, and Whitney Houston. With the help of his chief executor of his estate both his entertainment attorney John Branca and his music executive John McClain, he left an estimated over $500 million value of assets to his heirs. By having this money, his heirs, under Jackson’s will, his legacy be protected. In order for him to create this smart and sensible estate plan, he had to follow the steps which include: Writing A Will, Considering A Living Trust, Naming A Guardian, and Assembling A Good Team.

By Writing A Will, without confrontation between siblings, he ensured that his instruction for dividing his property were followed after he died. By Considering A Living Trust, it spared his heirs the hastle of going through probate court- an expensive and prolonged legal process.

By Naming A Guardian, for his kids, he ensured the right people would protect them.

By Assembling A Good Team, he was able to make sure his heirs got what he wanted them to have instead of setting a prolonged, expensive family fight in court. According to a close correspondent to the King of Pop, “He put two people in charge of the will and trust who he felt were sage, mature, and had a great deal of expertise in how to handle what are probably considerable assets. He couldn’t have put his estate in a better position.”

If you follow these steps, you will be able to achieve what Michael Jackson did, which is a “Good Estate Plan.” Overall, the bottom line is that Estate Planning is important and you should have one in place, just like Michael Jackson did. It will serve you well in the future and protect your family, future heirs and your business.

Michelle Profit is an estate planning attorney serving Maryland and the District of Columbia. A Harvard Law School graduate, she has worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years. A dedicated advocate for all of her clients, Michelle Q. Profit personally handles each client case from start to finish to meet the client’s needs and objectives. Michelle listens in the consultation sessions and works with any other client accountants or financial planners to create a comprehensive estate plan.

Have These Documents Prepared for a Child Headed to College

MP900446487“There are documents pertaining to health, money, and college records, that your child can sign to give you some peace of mind. Not all of these are required, but you may want to consider if you need them or not.”

There’s no end to what parents and grandparents can worry about, when their child or grandchild heads off to college. Will they make the right decisions, choose good friends and perform well in their studies? One thing you can do to help prepare your college-bound student, is to have certain legal documents prepared before they go, advises getintocollege.com in the article “Legal Documents Your Child Needs to Sign Before Heading to College.”

Once your child turns 18, your access to their medical records ends, unless they complete a form called a HIPAA Authorization. Your child must sign the form to give you access to their records, appointments, test results, etc. If your child is going to a school out of state, you may need a state-specific form. Keep these documents in a safe place, where you can access them quickly, in case of an emergency.

Chances are your student is heading off to college with a debit card and a credit card.  However, do you have access to those accounts? Talk with your estate planning attorney about creating a Financial Power of Attorney form, so you don’t run into any roadblocks, if your child needs help handling their finances. Opening a bank account or having a credit card attached to your account makes it easier for you to transfer money to your student. It also makes it easier for you to keep a watchful eye on their spending. Make a copy of the front and back of all cards so you can easily report them if lost or stolen.

Colleges have a form known as FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), which you usually can obtain at some point during orientation. This is a document that gives you the legal right to your child’s academic and financial information through the college. Think of this as the college’s HIPAA law. It’s not the same, but it can create the same level of obstruction, if you do not address it in advance. With it in place, you’ll be able to discuss their finances with the bursar’s office, their grades with their academic advisor and many other offices in the college that will otherwise refuse to speak with you.

College is a transition time for both students and parents, as well grandparents. Having these documents properly prepared, with the help of an estate planning attorney, will give you some peace of mind, as your child leaves the nest.

Reference: getintocollege.com (March 29, 2018) “Legal Documents Your Child Needs to Sign Before Heading to College.”

 

 

Hidden Costs of Probate

MP900407553People will often go to great lengths to make sure that their estates do not have to go through probate. They often fail to take little steps and find themselves in probate unnecessarily for other reasons.

Probate is often thought of as something that happens after a person passes away. If a person has not planned to avoid probate, then the estate must go through probate for administration before any assets can be distributed to heirs. What many people do not realize, is that probate courts handle more things than just wills.

Consider the case of one elderly couple in Arizona. The wife suffers from dementia. She had a modest retirement account of $25,000. Her husband wanted to withdraw funds from the account to pay her medical bills. Before he could do that, he had to go through probate court to be appointed his wife's guardian and conservator. In the process, he incurred $6,000 in attorney's fees as WLTX19 reports in "Man spends thousands in probate costs to help wife with dementia."

This unfortunate situation can often be avoided. Estate planning attorneys do more than just help their clients' estates avoid probate, after the clients pass away. They also help people plan for end-of-life care and what will happen should they ever become incapacitated and can no longer look after their own affairs.

If you have not planned for this, then visit an estate planning attorney and ask about a general durable power of attorney. That document will let you appoint someone to look after your finances, if you become unable to do so.

Reference: WLTX19 (Feb. 15, 2018) "Man spends thousands in probate costs to help wife with dementia."

One Document Parents Must Have

MP900289365[1]Parents with small children want nothing more than to make sure their children are taken care of no matter what happens. A will is an essential document to do that.

There is something about bringing a new life into the world that changes most people. A new child causes most of us to change from being mostly concerned about our own well-being to being mostly concerned about the well-being of someone else.

This change has been much remarked on and studied. It appears to be almost universal for humans.

People who would not have previously sacrificed their own desires become willing to sacrifice for their children. However, what many young parents do not do is to make plans for how to take care of their children should something happen to the parents.

This is a mistake as Nerdwallet explains in "Protect Your Family by Writing a Will."

Parents who want to make sure their children are taken care of, if the parents pass away, need a will. Two important things can be done with a will. First, in a will parents can make sure their children are taken care of financially. Second, and most importantly, a will is the proper legal document for parents to express their wishes about who should act as guardians for their minor children.

The guardian is the person tasked with taking care of the day-to-day needs of the child. Parents who want to have a say in who rears their children need to have a will.

There are other estate planning documents that can be helpful for parents with young children. Accordingly, every parent needs a will and every parent should talk to an estate planning attorney about other important legal documents that might be useful given their own unique family circumstances.

Reference: Nerdwallet (Sept. 19, 2016) "Protect Your Family by Writing a Will."