Posts tagged Family History and Values
Choosing A Guardian and Conservator for Your Minor or Disabled Children

I spoke earlier this week to a group on Estate Planning for families with special needs children. One important issue in planning for families with minor children or adult disabled children is choosing a guardian and conservator. A guardian is the person responsible for caring for the person and the conservator is the person responsible for the person’s assets. While they often are the same person, they need not be. As a parent, special weight will be given to the person(s) you nominate to serve as guardian and conservator. For an adult disabled child it is important to understand that upon reaching the age of majority (18 in many states) they are presumed to be capable of acting for themselves. Therefore, you may need to apply to serve as guardian and conservator when they reach the age of majority in your state if the situation warrants.

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Family Farms and Family Values

When I meet with a farm or ranch client they often speak of the stewardship they feel concerning the farm business. The stewardship is not just about the land, but also what that farm or ranch represents. The business is a connector between the generations past, present, and future. In so many ways, it defines the families shared heritage as well it's aspirations for the future.

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Giving Smart – 7 Tips for Charitable Giving

Tis the season for giving – not only the gifts we give at Christmas, but also gifts to charity. For tax reasons, estate planning reasons, and philanthropic reasons, the end of the year is always a big time for charitable giving. Charitable giving can be a wonderful gift to the giver and the receiver. However, whether it is outright fraud or just bad management, giving can be perilous. Here are seven tips to help you give smarter.

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The Gift of Estate Planning

I was speaking to a couple of groups this week on the topic of “Why You Need an Estate Plan.” There are many reasons that could be given as the rationale for engaging in estate planning. Maybe you are interested in preserving family harmony; you have seen the discord that can be sown among children when no plan exists or a poor plan is implemented and want to avoid it. Maybe you would like to see a gift to your favorite Charity as a way of giving back.

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My Trip to the Tetons – A Beneficiary of Charity

One of the definitions of “charitable” is: “full of love and generosity.” Philanthropy can be defined as: “The effort or inclination to increase the well-being of humankind.” I am a firm believer in the benefits of philanthropy and charitable giving, not just to society as a whole, but to the giver in particular. We are taught by Peter in the New Testament: “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves; for charity shall cover a multitude of sins.” (King James Version, 1 Peter 4:8).

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What the ‘Oracle of Omaha’ has to say about Estate Planning: Warren Buffet’s Advice Applies to All

As is his custom at the 2013 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, Warren Buffett took questions from the audience. Normally, those questions revolve around Berkshire’s investments and the economy, but this year estate planning attorney Marvin Blum asked Mr. Buffett the following question: “I’m an estate planning lawyer, and it’s interesting as we wrap up today to ponder that the baby boomer generation is about to pass along the greatest transfer of wealth in history. I can design plans that eliminate estate tax and pass down great amounts of wealth to the next generation, but many of my clients come to me and say they want a plan like Warren Buffett’s, leaving their kids enough so they can do anything, but not so much that they can do nothing. Now they ask me, and I am asking you, ‘How much is that, and how do you keep from ruining your kids?’” Mr. Buffett’s answer as quoted in the Fort Worth Business Press was interesting.

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Values Based Planning

In estate planning, we often speak of values based planning. For me this phrase really brings to mind two distinct ideas. The first is using your estate planning as a platform to share your values in writing with your loved ones. This can be done in several ways, including the preparation of a value statement. A value statement is a written statement included in or with your planning, where you share life lessons, beliefs or philosophies. It is one last teaching moment. I believe such a statement can inspire your children and grandchildren and become a treasured family heirloom.

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Merry Christmas

In the classic Dickens’ tale A Christmas Carol, upon hearing the ghost of his old partner Marley lament his miserable fate, the yet unchanged Scrooge says: “But you were always a good man of business, Jacob . . . .” To which Marley’s ghost cried: “Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

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The Conversation

I watched a story the other day on ABC News about what they referred to as “The Conversation.” The “conversation” they are referring to is the one about end-of-life care. According to the story, simply having this conversation with your family about what your end-of-life wishes are will dramatically reduce the likelihood of post-death depression in your family members. I concur in the implications of the story. Terminating a loved one’s life support is probably the most difficult decision a family will have to make.

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It’s Not About the Money

As an estate planning attorney I spend a lot of time talking to people about their money or other assets. But as I was blessed to spend several days this last week with my wife and children at a family reunion I was reminded again that good estate planning is not about the money. The reason we plan our affairs is to truly to show our love to those we care about.

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