Articles & FAQs


It's summer time! If you are leaving your children in someone else's care, please also leave a consent form for emergency medical treatement, so that if something happens, doctors can treat your child in your absence. Without your signature on such a consent form, doctors cannot provide treatment to a minor. Click on the title here to download a Parental Medical Release Form in .pdf form, or here to download a Word file.


The new tax law makes permanent a new feature in estate tax law, portability, which allows a surviving spouse to make use of the deceased spouse's unused exemption from federal estate tax.  We summarized this in our 2013 Newsletter.  Click here to download a longer explanation of portability, or read the article below online.

Most of us don't yet think about including information about our digital assets in our estate plans. But we should.  If you die or become incapacitated, your family needs to know your passwords, your online accounts, and your automatic deposits and payments. To get started, click here to download an article and inventory form for your Digital Planning, or read the article below online.

Seniors are being targeted by scammers who call to tell them that they've won a foreign lottery.  All they need to do is send a small amount of money, or provide confidential financial or personal information, to claim their prize.  Don't be fooled and don't let anyone you know be fooled. Click here to download an article and learn more, or read the article below online.


Parental Medical Release

Learning About Portability

Click here to download an article about portability and your options under the new estate tax laws. If you'd rather read it online, it's here as an article too.

Digital Estate Planning

Most of us don't yet think of your digital information as an important part of our estate planning, but we should. Create a list of your most essential digital assets and leave it with your estate plan. Click here to download an article that will help guide you through the process and provides you with a form to get started. If you'd rather read it online, it's here as an article too, see the list below.

Avoiding Lottery Scams

Seniors are being targeted by scammers who call to tell them that they've won a foreign lottery. All they need to do is send money, or confidential personal information to claim their prize. Don't be fooled. Click here to download and article and learn more. If you'd rather read it online, it's here as an article too, see the list below.

Arranging to Donate Your Body

How to arrange a full body donation to a medical institution.

Arranging to Donate Your Organs

How to donate your organs after death.

Charitable Trusts: Tax Breaks for Do-Gooders

If you want to give a big gift to charity, consider a charitable trust.

Checklist for Getting Your Financial Affairs in Order

Take the following steps to help your family should you die or become incapacitated.

Choosing a Guardian for Your Children

If you have children, you should choose a personal guardian -- someone to raise them in the unlikely event you can't.

Choosing an Executor FAQ

Choosing Your Healthcare Agent

Name the best person to direct your medical care if you are unable to do so yourself.

Do You Need Life Insurance?

Not everyone needs life insurance. Find out whether or not you do.

Duty of Medical Personnel to Honor Your Healthcare Directives

Know when health care providers must follow your instructions for medical care -- and when they may not.

Estate and Gift Tax FAQ

Family Members' Right to Inherit

Your closest relatives may have a right to claim part of your estate.

FAQ for Executors

Final Arrangements FAQ

Get Organized Now

Help your family -- and make your executor's job easier -- by getting your paperwork in order.

Getting Your Retirement Money Early -- Without Penalty

Just can't wait for your retirement funds? Painless advice on how to get your retirement money early.

Is It Time to Change Your Estate Plan?

Make sure your will reflects your current wishes and situation.

How Durable Powers of Attorney for Finances Work

Durable powers of attorney for finances -- a simple way to arrange for someone to handle your finances if you can't.

How Healthcare Directives Work

It's smart to make documents setting out your wishes for health care in case you are ever unable to speak for yourself.

How Living Trusts Avoid Probate

Here's the lowdown on basic probate-avoiding living trusts.

Leaving Property to Young Children

It's easy to arrange for someone to manage any property you leave to young children.

Life Insurance Options

When it comes to choosing a life insurance policy, you may feel dazed by your options. Here are the basic types and the pros and cons of each.

Living Trust FAQ

Probate FAQ

Married Couples: Who Owns What?

Be sure you know what property is yours to leave or give away.

Reducing Estate Tax by Making Gifts

Making gifts during your life can provide you with tax savings and more.

Reducing Estate Taxes by Transferring Ownership of Your Life Insurance Policy

Lower your beneficiaries' estate taxes by not owning your life insurance policy.

Retirement Plan FAQ

Should You Treat Children Differently in Your Will?

As your children grew, you loved and treated them all the same. Yet, maybe one of them held a special place in your heart or needed more help from you.

Tax-Saving AB Trusts

Couples can save a bundle on estate taxes with this kind of trust.

The Estate Tax Is Dead (Maybe)

The estate tax will be fully repealed by 2010 but may come back in 2011.

The Executor's Job

What's involved in wrapping up an estate.

The Perils of Prepayment Plans

Tips on shopping for funeral goods and services.

Top Myths About Retirement Plans

Test your knowledge to see how much you know about taking your money out.

Using Life Insurance to Provide for Your Kids

Life insurance may be a good source of income for your children if you die. Here's what you should know.

What You Can Cover in Your Healthcare Directives

An overview of some important medical issues you'll face when preparing a living will and a power of attorney for health care.

What You Can't Do in Your Will

Wills aren't the place to handle certain kinds of property or issues.

Wills FAQ