Planning to Protect Your Assets

Asset protection planning is an important step to take in safeguarding your hard-earned assets from being lost, inadvertently, because you overlooked something important.

 The most foundational level of asset protection is to plan for what will happen to your assets in the event of your incapacity or death because you are 100% guaranteed to have one or both of those happen to you.

If you become incapacitated or die without proper planning in place, your assets will get stuck in the court system, and could be delayed in getting to your loved ones’ or even lost. If you have not reviewed your planning for death or incapacity in the past couple of years (or ever at all), you will want to call us for a Family Wealth & Legacy Planning Session as soon as possible.

And, what about planning to protect assets from things that could happen during life, such as potential litigation, taking on too many debts, accidents or other mishaps?

First and foremost, buy insurance! Insurance can do two things an asset protection plan can’t: pay to defend you in the event a lawsuit is brought against you and pay to settle any lawsuits. Bottom line: insurance says I love you. And, if you need it, you’ll be glad you have it.

As part of your Family Wealth & Legacy Planning Session, we will look at the types and amounts of insurance you have, and determine what else may be needed, or if you are even over-insured.

If you have a business, make sure you’ve fully separated personal and business assets. And that you are using your business entity properly, to ensure that any business activities are kept within your business entity, and that you have us review any personal guarantees before you sign something that could create personal liability for you.

If you need more thorough asset protection, due to an upcoming marriage, or engaging in other risky behavior, please contact us sooner rather than later.

Asset protection cannot happen after something happens. It must be set up ahead of time to be effective, and so it must happen now, if you want to get set up right.

Protecting your assets takes know-how. If you’re ready to develop a smart asset protection plan, consider sitting down with a licensed Estate Attorney. As your Estate Planning attorney, we can help you with your asset protection planning needs. Our Family Wealth & Legacy Planning Session guides you to protect and preserve what matters most. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth & Legacy Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what’s most important to you, and what you can do to ensure your family is taken care of.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That’s why we offer a Family Wealth & Legacy Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today at 832.408.0505 to schedule a Family Wealth & Legacy Planning Session and find out how to better protect your family.

Divorcing? Here’s What You Should Know About How it May Affect Your Trust

Trusts vary in their structure, funding, and terms, so it’s hard to know how divorce will impact your trust without review. It’s safe to say, without question, your trust (and really your entire estate plan) should be reviewed during your divorce to prevent unforeseen negative outcomes.

The impact of a divorce on your trust can depend on:

The Trust’s Structure

Trusts frequently name the spouse as a trustee and beneficiary. In divorce, clarify your wishes in regards to these provisions. Even if you want to keep each other in your financial plans going forward, the trust should be amended appropriately after your divorce is complete, so your intention is clear.

Whether It’s Revocable or Irrevocable

If it’s revocable, changing the terms of the trust is easy, but you may have to wait until after your divorce is final to do it due to “orders” that go into effect when you file for divorce that prevent you from moving assets. If your trust is irrevocable, it might be necessary to petition the court to change the trustees, and the trust assets themselves may or may not be part of the divorce judgment.

Your State’s Laws on Community Property

Divorcing parties sometimes attempt to shield assets in trusts to keep them out of the pockets of the soon to be ex. When done surreptitiously, this could significantly complicate the divorce. Even when the assets in a trust are separate property, the income from the trust might still be considered for child support and alimony purposes.

Trusts can be affected by divorce, so you should take steps to protect your trust and your intentions. If you are ready to take that step, meet with us for guidance.

As your Estate Attorney we can help you navigate your divorce so your assets, including those held in trusts, remain under your direction and control.  Our Family Wealth & Legacy Planning Session guides you to protect and preserve what matters most. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth & Legacy Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what’s most important to you, and what you can do to ensure your family is taken care of.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We don’t just draft documents, we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That’s why we offer a Family Wealth & Legacy Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today at 832.408.0505 to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and find out how to better protect your family.

How to Buy Life Insurance Like a Pro

Life insurance is a purchase only made once or twice in a lifetime, so it is common to be unaware of the ins and outs of policy protection. The potential pitfalls are significant, however, so review the following tips before purchasing a life insurance policy.

Get the Right Type and Amounts

Life insurance policies are generally sold by highly commissioned sales people or by order takers. In either case, you need to be sure you are in the know, before you buy, lest you get sold a policy or amount you don’t need, or you overlook the types and amounts that are right for you. We can help you make objective decisions about your insurance needs, with no commissions payable to us, so you know you’re getting our 100% on your side analysis.

Don’t Name a Minor as a Beneficiary

If you’ve named a minor child as a beneficiary, or even a secondary beneficiary, after your spouse, you could be creating double trouble. First, your life insurance would have to go through a court process and subject to the control of a financial guardian, and then second, whatever is left would be distributed to your minor child when he or she turns 18.

You can easily avoid this by naming a trust as beneficiary of your life insurance, thereby keeping your life insurance out of court and ensuring your child doesn’t receive control until he or she is ready. Plus, then you get to decide who takes care of the life insurance money you are leaving behind, until it’s distributed to your child. And, you can even build in protection against your child’s future divorce, or any creditor issues.

Term Insurance to Fund Divorce Settlements

If you receive child support and alimony, insist that your spouse have a  term life insurance policy to guarantee you are able to collect on your settlement, even if your ex-spouse dies while still paying out your divorce settlement.

Compare Quotes for Whole and Term

Experts suggest most people only need life insurance to cover their working years and while they raise a family. Term life insurance is typically affordable and covers you when you need it most. Permanent insurance is best when you know you will have estate taxes to cover OR if you want to use insurance as an investment vehicle with guaranteed returns, but often big commissions to make up in the early years of the policy. One of the services we provide to our member clients is to review all insurance policies, both in place and those being considered, to provide objective evaluation before you buy.

Don’t Overlook Living Benefits

A living benefits rider could allow you to access funds if you were diagnosed as terminally ill or with a chronic and debilitating condition.

If you are ready to purchase a life insurance policy that works for you, start by sitting down with an  Estate Attorney. As your Estate Attorney, we can walk you step by step through creating a financial plan that will help you provide for your family no matter what. At GP Schoemakers, PLLC, we offer Family Wealth & Legacy Planning Sessions that help you protect and preserve your wealth for future generations. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth & Legacy Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what matters most to you, and what your wishes are when you die.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We don’t just draft documents, we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That’s why we offer a Family Wealth & Legacy Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today at 832.408.0505 to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and find out how to better protect your family.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the Blockchain — What Happens When You Die?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about Bitcoin. But, you may not know what it is or how it affects your estate planning. Or, maybe you’ve got yourself some Bitcoin, but haven’t given thought to what would happen to your digital currency in the event of your death or incapacity.

So today’s article will dive in with some initial thoughts, and then we’ll get deeper in future articles.

There are now over 800 digital currencies available, though Bitcoin is the most well known.

And each one operates a bit differently, and with a different purpose.

What they all have in common is that they are digital currencies, in the form of “tokens” that you can now buy (or invest in) and in some cases use to exchange for goods and services.

For example, more and more providers of goods and services are accepting Bitcoin as a payment method, just as they would cash or credit.

And, even a few accepting the lesser known currency called Ripple (XRP).

But, as of this writing, there are no providers we’ve heard of accepting, for example, the lesser known cryptocurrency of ProCoin (PROC), a coin based on shopping rewards. But, the coin is tradeable on the open coin market, currently at $.12, though it’s been traded as high as $.38.

If you want to learn more about how these digital currencies work, please do let me know and I’ll write more about it in the future.

For today, I want to cover what you need to make sure you’ve got in place from a “what happens when you become incapacitated or die” perspective if you are holding digital currency.

Because if you have not planned for the transfer of your digital currency at the time of your incapacity or death, it could literally be lost to the ethers. And, if you invested in Bitcoin back in the day before it got popular, that could potentially be millions of dollars lost to your loved ones.

There are two things for you to consider if you are holding digital currency:

  1. That your loved one’s (or whoever you would want to have your currency) know about it; and
  2. That they know how to access it and cash it in or hold onto it.

If you are holding your currency in an exchange, such as coinbase, with 2-factor authentication, it could be very difficult for your loved one’s to access your currency. We are in process of setting up a digital account administration system for our clients and you can look forward to that in the coming months. Having that in place would allow the executor of your estate to handle all digital accounts, not just crypto accounts.

Until then, best practice is to transfer your cryptocurrency into a “paper wallet”, which is kind of ironic given that it’s a digital currency. And it basically involves storing codes offline that allow you to access your currency. Here’s the thing, if you lose those codes, or your loved ones can’t find them, it’s the same as all of your currency being gone.

You can read more about the different storage options for cryptocurrency here.

Bottom line: if you have cryptocurrency and you want your loved ones to have it after you are gone, you should probably call us so we can make sure it’s not lost upon your incapacity or death.

As a new technology, cryptocurrency can be a bit confusing, and not many lawyers are even thinking about this issue yet. But we are, so give us a call and let’s have a Family Wealth Planning Session during which we can help you to  protect and preserve what matters most. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what’s most important to you, and what you can do to ensure your family is taken care of.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We don’t just draft documents, we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That’s why we offer a Family Wealth & Legacy Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today at 832.408.0505 to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and find out how to better protect your family.

The Unexpected Costs of Caring for Elderly Parents In Your Home

Multi-generational households are becoming the new (or maybe it’s really old) in vogue way to handle the care of aging parents. And we’re all for it so long as you consider the implications and set your family up for success.

With Mom or Dad moving in, you can anticipate some extra expenses, not just financially, but possibly emotionally as well. But it’s hard to know what to expect, and you might face costs you didn’t see coming. Having an elderly parent move in with you is a major life event that requires financial and emotional preparation. Here are some unexpected costs of caring for elderly parents to get you thinking about what lies ahead, if you decide to move mom or dad into your home.

Remodeling

Many people don’t think about the modifications they might need to make to their home to welcome an elderly parent. If your parent is living with you long-term, you will want to make him or her comfortable, which might entail adding a new addition to your home, creating a private living space out of a shared area, making accommodations for single-level living if your parent cannot navigate the stairs, or adding mobility adaptations such as a walk-in bath or chair lifts.

Lost Work Productivity

Moving your elderly parent in, helping him or her get acquainted with the area, and checking out activities can all eat into your work week. Expect further loss of productivity if you have to take your parent to run errands, to medical appointments, or to therapy sessions. You can look into senior transportation services if you are unable to take time off from work, but remember to budget for the extra expense.

Home Help

In-home care can be a significant expense, but unless you are able to take time away from your busy day, your elderly parent might need it. Long-term care insurance will sometimes cover some or all of the costs, and you might be able to get assistance from certain programs through the VA or other community organizations.

Miscellaneous Household Expenses

The costs of simply having another household member can be unexpectedly high, especially if that member spends most of his or her day at home. You should expect such extra expenses as increased heat and electricity bills, special foods, and personal care products. Remember that elderly parents have special needs, and those needs can be expensive.

Medical Expenses

Even with insurance, your parent might have steep out of pocket costs for co-pays, prescriptions, mobility aids, supplements, vitamins, and other uninsured medical expenses. For certain conditions, these costs can quickly add up.

Long-Term Expenses

As your parent ages, his or her needs will change, too. These changing needs can result in unexpected long-term costs. When your parent’s retirement funds are exhausted or when they face deteriorating health, you might have to consider the staggering costs of long-term care in an assisted living facility or nursing home.

Therapy

Moving mom or dad into your home could bring up all of the unresolved emotional issues that have not yet been addressed within your family dynamic. This isn’t something to be afraid of, so long as you have the right support. On the contrary, it can be a great opportunity to heal inter-generational wounds that would otherwise get passed on to you and your children and their children.

Caring for an elderly parent can result in unexpected expenses and unexpected benefits, as well. Now that they have become dependent on you, you might also need to consider making changes to your insurance policies or revising your estate plan. If you are ready to take the step of officially becoming caregiver for mom or dad, meet with us for guidance.

As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can help you prepare for the unexpected costs (and reap all the benefits) of caring for an elderly parent. We begin all planning with a Family Wealth Planning Session to get to know you, what’s important to you, and to support you to make the most informed, educated and empowered decisions possible for yourself and the people you love. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what’s most important to you, and what you can do to ensure your entire family is taken care of.

 This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate Attorney. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session.

Growing Family? Time to Audit Your Insurance Policies

As your family size grows, there is lots to prepare for and consider. Welcoming a new family member can be a joyous occasion, and requires some planning. Adding a new family member can affect your finances and create a need for more protections. Reassessing your insurance coverage might not be at the top of your list, but policies should always be audited when changes in your family life occur to ensure your coverage will adequately protect your growing family. Remember this: insurance says I love you to the people you love.

Life Insurance

It’s always a good idea to increase your life insurance coverage whenever you add a new member to your family. Life insurance can provide your loved ones with valuable financial support when you die. Determining the right type and amount of life insurance coverage takes assessing your current financial standing and the future financial needs of your family. As your family grows, future financial needs will as well. Think long-term, take into account inflation and any expected big-ticket investments, such as education over the years, plus the needs of a single parent or named legal guardians to care for your children, if you pass on while they are unable to care for themselves.

And always remember that you can name legal guardians to care for the education and health of your children, while directing your insurance to pay to a trust for the benefit of your children, with a separate trustee named to care for the finances. This Trustee would work together with your named guardians to make decisions in the best interest of your children, until they could receive and control the inheritance themselves.

Homeowner’s Insurance

For some, a bigger family means a bigger home. If you are purchasing a new home or building a new addition to your current home, it’s a good idea to reevaluate your homeowner’s policy. Key factors to look for include whether your existing policy has sufficient coverage to repair or replace your home and whether your policy would replace your belongings if necessary. Also, consider adding riders to your existing policy to cover things like damage from natural disasters, which standard policies typically don’t cover.

Auto Insurance

You might need a larger or safer car to meet the needs of your growing family. A new car can affect your auto insurance rates, so check with your provider before you make a new purchase

to see how your rates may change. Also, some auto insurance providers offer policy discounts for married couples, so talk to your agent about the discounts you may qualify for.

Parents want to protect their family from the unexpected. Insurance can help provide this protection, but you need to tailor your policies to meet your family’s needs. Periodically review your insurance policies as your family grows to make sure you have optimal protection for what you value most. And, use us to support you.

If you’re growing your family and want to protect your loved ones, consider sitting down with us. As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can walk you through creating a comprehensive Kids Protection Plan®. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment that will get you thinking about what you own, what matters most to you, and how you want to protect your growing family.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session,™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session TODAY!

Spring Cleaning For Your Legal and Financial Affairs

Spring has officially sprung and that means it’s spring cleaning time. Shake out the rugs, clean out the cupboards, and get your legal and financial affairs in order.

For plenty of folks, it’s easy to know what to do when it comes to home organization, but the idea of legal and financial ordering can be complex and confusing.

This article will give you a few places to start:

  1. Review Your Beneficiary Designations

Request updated beneficiary designation forms from your life insurance account and retirement account custodians. Look at the form and identify whether you have a minor designated as either a primary or contingent beneficiary. If you do, those assets will be tied up in Court, unnecessarily, and may not be available to the people you’ve named to care for your children.

Consider designating your life insurance and retirement accounts to be distributed to a trust for the benefit of your heirs, providing Court and creditor protection, and ensuring your children do not inherit money before they are properly prepared.

  1. Update Your Family Wealth Inventory

Your Family Wealth Inventory is where we document the assets that you own, so that in the event you become incapacitated or when you die, your family will know how to find what you own.

Without an updated Family Wealth Inventory, your assets could be lost to the state department of unclaimed property. There’s currently FOUR (4) billions of dollars of assets in our state department of unclaimed property because most people do not leave a clear record of their assets at the time of their incapacity or death.

  1. Consider If You Need to Name New Guardians (Long or Short-Term)

Review your guardian nomination designations. Have you named guardians for both the short-term (local) and the long-term (people you would trust to raise your kids fully)? If so, do they need to change? Is there anyone you would wish to exclude? Does the ID card for your wallet need to be updated? This is the time to check.

  1. Check Out the Title to Your House

Get a copy of the deed to your house and make sure that your trust is listed as the owner on the deed, if you want your house to stay out of court in the event of your incapacity or death. If you see your personal name on the deed, and there is not a trust listed, you can be sure that would result in your house having to go through the court process of probate in the event of your death. If you don’t want that, now is the perfect time to spruce up your planning.

  1. Come In and Meet With Us For a Family Wealth Planning Session

Last, but far from least, this is the perfect time of  year to come in and meet with us for a Family Wealth Planning Session, whether you’ve done planning in the past or not.  We will have a 2-hour working meeting that will get you more financially organized than you’ve likely ever been before (unless you’ve already done planning with us) and give you the confidence of knowing you’ve made the most empowered, informed and educated legal and financial decisions for the people you love.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents, we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love.

Call our office to schedule a time for a private conversation about your family wealth via a Family Wealth Planning Session, where we can identify the best ways for you to ensure your legacy of love and financial security for your family.

Watch Out for This Predatory Phone Scam

Today, even the most conscientious can fall victim to phone scams. Claiming everything from free cruise vacations to astonishing tax rebates, phone scammers prey on the financially vulnerable, but that’s not all. As scammers become more sophisticated and find clever ways to elude legal consequences, new and convincing scams are on the rise.

A recent phone scam asks unsuspecting callers seemingly harmless questions such as, “Can you hear me?” to illicit easily recorded “yes” answers that are later used to authorize charges. Some callers who’ve later denied such charges have even been threatened with legal action, making this one of the most predatory phone scams yet.

Now that you know, tell your adult children and elderly parents what to look out for so they don’t fall victim to a scam like this. Instead of answering “yes” to a “can you hear me” caller, respond with “who is calling” instead.

Once they happen, dealing with scams isn’t easy. It can feel embarrassing and as if you should have known better.  Accepting that you didn’t and having compassion for yourself is the first step. Then, call us so we can help.

Reluctance to seek help can make you an easy victim. That is why it is so important to know where to turn for help if you or a family member has been scammed. Call us and let us support you to know where to turn, and how to recover your losses, limit your future liabilities and put effective protections in place for the future.

The truth is, anyone can fall victim to a scam. To really know better, you should never be embarrassed about seeking help. A trusted legal advisor, such as your Personal Family Lawyer®, can be there to protect what is most valuable to you throughout all of life’s challenges.

As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we provide the support and guidance you need to make sound financial decisions and establish robust legal protections that ensure your assets are protected from scams and fraud of all kinds. If you aren’t already a client, come in for a Family Wealth Planning Session to make the most empowered, informed decisions for yourself and the one’s you love. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment™ to complete that will get you clear on what you own, what matters most to you and what you need to do to protect all of it.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents, we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today at 832.408.0505 to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session or schedule this session online right now!

The Four Tricky Cons of 2016

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The Four Tricky Cons of 2016 – Beware of Unknown Callers

Electronic technology has brought about tremendous benefits for today’s society. We can access goods, services, and information, all at the touch of a button. The flip-side of that coin, however, is that this same technology has also spawned countless new opportunities for dishonesty and crime.

It is unlikely that any person who has a telephone, cell phone, or computer has not been the subject of an attempted criminal act, or at least of a scam that may precede an actual crime.

According to a survey by True Link Financial, approximately $12.76 billion is stolen from older Americans each year through identity theft and scams. To help protect yourself, be aware of the most common scams out there.

“I am Calling from Microsoft Tech Support.”

If you receive a call from someone saying they are from Microsoft and a problem has been detected on your computer, don’t believe them. Microsoft does not make these types of calls. The people making the calls are trying to lead you to a website that will unleash malware designed to steal your usernames and passwords for online accounts where they can access your banking and credit card information.  If the caller gets you to go to a website, it may look very official, but remember, Microsoft will never contact you this way.

“I am Calling from the Internal Revenue Service. “

According to the AARP Fraud Watch Network, this is one of the most often-reported scams. The caller will state that you either owe back taxes that must be paid immediately or that you are due a refund that can be collected online. In either case, the goal is to get you to a website that will launch malware on your computer in an attempt to seek your financial information and bank account numbers or that will facilitate the theft of your identity. The caller will likely sound very authoritarian and may even be able to state the last four digits of your social security number. Even if the caller gives you a number to call to “verify” that the call is from the IRS, or gives you a “case code number,” don’t participate. Like Microsoft, the IRS will never initiate contact with you by phone. Instead, it will always send a communication through the U.S. Postal Service.

Calls from No One

A common precursor to scam calls is a call on your phone where no one speaks. You may hear clicks on the other end. However, rather than assume it was a wrong number, assume it was an automated call to validate a working telephone number that can be called later by a scammer. It is best to have caller identification on your phone, and you may not want to answer calls from numbers you do not recognize.

Chip Cards

The new chip cards for debit and credit use are much safer than magnetic swipe cards in that they change the code each time they are used. While that provides more protection when a retailer suffers a data breach, scammers are catching up quickly and using new and different tactics. They will send emails pretending to be from your financial institution stating that financial information must be provided via a particular linked website. The link will cause malware to be released which searches your computer for account numbers, passwords, and other financially sensitive information.

The best rule to follow in thwarting scammers is never to navigate to a website or click on a link when directed to do so by an unsolicited caller. If you receive an e-mail or phone message asking you to call a number, don’t call that number. Instead, locate the appropriate number for the entity and call that number to determine whether the communication was legitimate.

Yes, technology makes things much easier for us, but it also makes us more vulnerable. It is best to proceed with caution in all things financial and put the brakes on when things do not seem to add up. That is where we can help. You see, we do not just prepare estate planning documents for our clients and send them on their way. We develop ongoing, lifelong relationships which facilitate our clients’ protection and prosperity in ways traditional estate planning law firms don’t – and quite frankly, won’t. We are here to support and advise our clients about more than just their estate plans – like a “suspicious” phone call from the IRS, for example. If that sounds like the kind of relationship you would like with your lawyer, give us a call.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Personal Family Lawyer,®  who develops trusting relationships with families for life.  That is why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session,™ during which you will get more financially organized than you have ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk because this planning is so important.

What to Do With a Cash Windfall

Many of us like to fantasize about winning the lottery. We muse with our friends about how we might spend the money, and we dream about never wanting for anything ever again.

The odds are against us, of course, at least as far as the lottery goes. But that doesn’t mean – at some point in our lives perhaps – we won’t actually come into a major amount of cash, usually in the form of an inheritance, or perhaps through the settlement of a legal claim.

Planning before receiving such a windfall is critical, if you want to keep it and have it provide for you for the rest of your life and for your loved one’s after you are gone.

Most people who receive a windfall lose it almost as quickly as they receive it.

If you see a windfall coming your way, make these plans:

  1. Consider putting any large windfall you receive into an asset protection trust, first and foremost. You may even want to consider appointing a co-trustee to govern the trust alongside you so you can honestly tell friends and family that you do not have unrestricted control to your assets when they come asking for handouts.
  1. Hire an advisor you trust to help you invest the assets you receive in a manner that is aligned with your values and will support you to use the windfall to support the long-term life you desire; if you need recommendations to a trusted investment advisor, contact us.
  1. Get all of your own estate planning documents updated, including your Will, Revocable Living Trust, Health Care Directives and Power of Attorney, plus establish a relationship with a personal lawyer so if and when anything happens to you, your family will be supported to stay out of court and out of conflict.

If you anticipate receiving a windfall and need legal assistance, or if you’d like to ensure your family stays out of court and out of conflict if and when something happens to you , schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session,™ during which we can review your wishes.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Personal Family Lawyer,®  who develops trusting relationships with families for life.  That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session,™ where we can explain financial management techniques and help identify the best strategies for you and your family. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk because this planning is so important.