When you start a new job, often there are fringe benefits, such as life insurance or a matched retirement account that your employer offers. And as we all know, those first few days at a new job are full of filling out paperwork and learning new procedures. But, one of the biggest mistakes you can make while filling out that paperwork is failing to name beneficiaries of any life insurance or retirement accounts.…
For many, charitable giving is at the heart of their family culture. Indeed, it is often this value and a sense of mission that parents and grandparents most deeply desire to instill in younger generations. Certainly, the most important way this desire is fulfilled is through the relationship of family members. However, to cultivate a knowledge and appreciation of charitable giving in a more formal manner, a private family foundation may be considered both during…
This unique, seldom-used procedure could save you a lot of money. One of the biggest concerns for many people who have just lost a loved one is the cost of probate, also known as the legal procedure through which a person’s assets are distributed either under the terms of a will or not. Probate can be a long and expensive process, which is why many people choose trusts and other probate-avoidance estate planning tools. But…
The person you choose to be your executor (sometimes called a personal representative) will play an extremely important role, as that person will be responsible for gathering, securing, managing, and ultimately distributing your money and property when you pass away. As a result, you should make your selection only after careful consideration regarding who is the best person to fulfill this role. Don’t just choose your oldest child because that’s what you think is expected:…
The short answer is much more than just money.        On a weekly basis, I talk with people who have had a loved one die and want to know what to do. Sometimes, these people are upset, sometimes they are confused, but one thing always seems to hold true – these people want to know what they may receive from the Estate.  The answer varies based on the facts of each individual case, and that…
With most of us working from home or sheltering-in-place and being mindful of social distancing, you may be wondering how could you still get your estate plan done?  Fortunately, in South Dakota, the Supreme Court has made that process easier and safer for everyone. As of April 14, 2020, we can use communication technology, such as Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, or Zoom to complete the signing your estate plan.…
COVID-19 pushed the pause button on life as we know it.  And no, I’m not referring to the 2010 rom-com starring Katherine Heigl. Thanks to the global pandemic, schools are closed, businesses are restricted and suffering, and nearly one out of every three Americans have been told to stay put through shelter-in-place mandates. Even the courts have pushed deadlines, limited their operating caseload, or closed completely. …
Most often, the beneficiaries of your will do not become aware of how you have determined your property will be distributed until after you have passed away.  And despite your best efforts at creating a strong family dynamic, sometimes, after you pass away certain people believe you should have done something different with your property.  The result – a “will contest.” …