Where to Start When a Loved One Dies

When a loved one passes away, it is often a sad and painful event.  Most people don’t know what to do in the days immediately following a death to begin handling the loved one’s final arrangements.  In addition, grief, stress, and a lack of information may make it more difficult to get the ball rolling. In general, there are things to do right after someone dies, within the ...
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ICYMI: After A Loved One’s Death – Watch Out For Scams

Very Tall Trees
Scammers are out there and even death isn’t enough to keep some slimy individuals from trying to make a quick buck.  If a loved one recently died, it is important to remain vigilant to guard their identity, protect against unfounded claims, and even protect their home.  Even though your family is grieving, it is important to remember that there are some criminals who prey on th...
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Estate Planning in Pop Culture News

While most of us aren’t rich and famous, we often hear about those who are and what happens when they pass away.  As these stories can attest, sometimes being rich famous doesn’t mean you have all your ducks in a row: Prince: Prince died unexpectedly over a year ago and no will or estate planning documents have surfaced.  The “Purple Rain” singer was famous for his control o...
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Charitable Giving as Part of Your Estate Plan

Many people donate to charity each year, but fewer make arrangements to donate to charity as part of their estate plan.  If you are interested in making a gift, whether big or small, to a charity, there are a number of ways you can support your favorite causes. Make gifts throughout your lifetime. While you are alive, you can support causes you believe in and make donation...
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ICYMI: How to Find Low Cost Legal Services

I get asked all the time if I am taking pro bono (aka free) or reduced-fee cases.  With the economy still bouncing back and with people in all economic ranges needed legal assistance, the demand for low-cost legal services is high and there is an urgent need that needs to be filled. While I do take pro bono and reduced-fee cases from time to time, I, like most attorneys, can...
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When The Small Stuff Is The Emotional Big Stuff

An issue that often arises in both family law and estate law contexts is what to do with a personal property upon the demise of a relationship or the death of the owner.  Tangible items, whether valuable in a monetary sense or not, often have emotional value and can often become symbols of greater family conflicts. When a relationship ends, it is often necessary for the part...
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ICYMI: One Simple Step to Start Your Estate Plan

Thinking about crafting an estate plan, or revising one you currently have, can be daunting and overwhelming.  If you aren’t ready to tackle the whole process, there is a simple step you can take on your own that can yield big benefits for your beneficiaries.  All it takes is a little legwork on your end, costs you nothing, and can ensure that the people you want to inherit you...
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ICYMI: Do Yourself a Favor, Don’t Wait to Get Legal Advice!

Sticking your head in the sand when confronted with a situation you don’t know how to handle is a common reaction.  Unfortunately, especially in legal contexts, failing to act can cause ramifications that make your situation much worse. Whether you have been served with legal papers or confronted with a situation requiring legal advice, if you fail to respond or act in a tim...
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ICYMI: Cohabitation Basics for Couples Who Live Together, but Aren’t Married

Romantic partners are living together all the time these days without getting married (and even without the intention of ever getting married).  There are important considerations to keep in mind when you make the decision to live with someone else, especially when you are romantically involved. Some people choose to enter into cohabitation agreements.  A cohabitation agreem...
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ICYMI: Committed, but Not Married – Estate Planning Tips

Committed couples who are not legally married have a number of estate planning considerations to plan for if they want their partner to inherit from them, as well as handle their medical and financial affairs in the case of incapacity.  It is not uncommon for people to assume that their partner of many years will automatically be able to step into important roles, as well as in...
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ICYMI: Newly Married? Better Revisit Your Estate Plan

If you had a will in place and then got married, your will may have been revoked!  If this is the case, your property will pass as if you had no will. In Oregon, with a few exceptions, a marriage revokes any prior wills.  The only exceptions are 1) if the will evidences intent that it not be revoked by a subsequent marriage or that it was drafted in contemplation of marriage...
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Cohabitation Basics for Couples Who Live Together, but Aren’t Married

Romantic partners are living together all the time these days without getting married (and even without the intention of ever getting married).  There are important considerations to keep in mind when you make the decision to live with someone else, especially when you are romantically involved. Some people choose to enter into cohabitation agreements.  A cohabitation agreem...
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Committed, but Not Married – Estate Planning Tips

Committed couples who are not legally married have a number of estate planning considerations to plan for if they want their partner to inherit from them, as well as handle their medical and financial affairs in the case of incapacity.  It is not uncommon for people to assume that their partner of many years will automatically be able to step into important roles, as well as in...
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Newly Married? Better Revisit Your Estate Plan

If you had a will in place and then got married, your will may have been revoked!  If this is the case, your property will pass as if you had no will. In Oregon, with a few exceptions, a marriage revokes any prior wills.  The only exceptions are 1) if the will evidences intent that it not be revoked by a subsequent marriage or that it was drafted in contemplation of marriage...
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Planning for Young Kids in Your Estate Plan – When Should We Update our Plan?

You should review your estate plan every few years as your children grow up, especially to be sure that the people you have designated to handle their care and finances are still the people you would want to serve in those roles.  Maybe one of those people passed away, moved, or had a falling out with you in some way. As your children mature, you also may get a sense of whet...
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Planning for Young Kids in Your Estate Plan – Who Should Manage Money for Your Kids?

Parents have a lot on their plates when their families expand.  One worry often is “who will manage our money for our kids if something happens to us?” A will allows you to name someone to handle your assets on behalf of your children and to set up a trust for those funds.  This person may be the same person named as guardian, or can be someone different.  Providing for a tr...
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Planning for Young Kids in Your Estate Plan – Who Should Care for Your Kids?

Parents have a lot on their plates when their families expand.  One worry often is “who will raise our kids if something happens to us?”  Estate planning allows parents to put a plan in place for their children’s care should the worst case scenario happen and someone else must raise them. If something happens to you, who should care for your kids?  If you don’t specify a pot...
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Estate Plan Tip: Leave a List of Electronic Accounts and Password Information

The next five blog posts will focus on estate plan tips that may complement traditional estate plan documents and address important topics that they are not meant to include. Estate planning documents, such as a will, trust, healthcare directive, and power of attorney, all have legal significance.  However, these documents may be supplemented by other documents to help your ...
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Picking a Personal Representative for Your Will

In its simplest form, a will is a written statement of your intentions for the disposition of your assets upon death.  A will may also include provisions for the care of minor children and provisions for holding estate assets for their benefits. A critical decision in your will is who will serve as your personal representative (or executor) to handle the probate process and ...
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Virtual Asset Instructions

As technology has integrated into our daily lives, most of us have virtual or digital assets such as: email, banking and financial accounts, social media, online photo/video storage and sharing, and even websites, blogs, or other online lives. A virtual assets instruction letter (VAIL) is a document you can leave with your other important papers to identify your online accou...
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