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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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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Leave Your Fortune to Fido, Porter, Shorty, Ranger, Fluffy, and Your Other Pets

There is a joke in my family that my parents’ order of priority are 1) their grandkids, 2) their pets, and, then maybe, 3) their kids.  Actually, the order between 1 and 2 is also probably debatable.  My parents have had pets that needed regular medical treatment and others that have needed one time major medical interventions to the tune of hundreds (if not thousands) of dolla...
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New Laws in Effect for 2017: Social Media After Death

As of January 1, a new law is in place allowing certain fiduciaries to have limited access to a person’s online user accounts. The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act addresses access to digital data when a user dies or is incapacitated.  The Act allows a fiduciary, such as a personal representative, trustee, or conservator, to access certain content and p...
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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: Explain a Big Family Secret

During the estate planning process it is not unusual for a family secret to come up that has not been revealed, but that someone fears will appear when they are gone.  Maybe it is an issue of paternity, or a long lost love/affair, or a child that their other kids don’t know about – no matter what it is, leaving a letter may help answer some of the questions that come up, but th...
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Estate Plan Tip: Leave Some Advice

Often the most difficult aspect of estate planning for parents can be determining who would be a good choice of guardian for their minor children, as well as deciding why other people would not be their first (or second choice).  A lot of parents know that their decision in this area could cause conflict after they are gone.  For some parents, a letter to the guardian(s) about ...
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Estate Plan Tip: Leave an Explanation

Wills are written with courts in mind and not the feelings of the people you leave behind.  Maybe you would like to explain why you have distributed your assets in certain ways or why certain people received more or less than others.  An explanatory letter can help provide information and guidance to your heirs to answer some of these questions.  You can also leave your wishes ...
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