Latest Articles

There is no shortage of advice flying around about estate planning, much of it from people who aren't even lawyers. Get insight on the popular pitfalls and how emerging economic shifts like cryptocurrency can affect your plan.

Estate Planning Mistakes
3 Simple Mistakes That Can Derail Your Estate Plan

If you’re tempted to use a DIY estate planning service or have already created a plan you aren’t 100% con...

Estate Planning Mistakes
10 Common Estate Planning Mistakes Your Family Can’t Afford to Make—Part 2

Because estate planning involves actively thinking about and planning for frightening topics like death, ...

Estate Planning Mistakes
10 Common Estate Planning Mistakes Your Family Can’t Afford to Make—Part 1

Because estate planning involves actively thinking about and planning for frightening topics like death, ...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Family Financial Planning, wills and trusts
A Not-So-Happy Accident: Bob Ross’s Estate Planning Failures —Part 2

As the host of the wildly popular The Joy of Painting TV series on PBS, Bob Ross became a pop-culture ico...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Family Financial Planning, wills and trusts
A Not-So-Happy Accident: Bob Ross’s Estate Planning Failures —Part 1

As the host of the wildly popular The Joy of Painting TV series on PBS, Bob Ross became a pop-culture ico...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Kids Protection Planning, Awakened Parenting, Life Planning, Estate Planning
Estate Planning Must-Haves For Single Parents

If you are a single parent, life for you right now probably couldn’t get any busier. You are likely being...

Estate Planning Mistakes, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
Estate Planning 101: Wills vs. Trusts

Wills and trusts are two of the most commonly used estate planning documents, and they form the foundatio...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Family Financial Planning
Legendary Rapper DMX Dies With No Will, Millions in Debt, and 15 Children—Part 2

Legendary hip hop artist DMX—born Earl Simmons—passed away on April 9 at age 50 after suffering a massive...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Family Financial Planning
Legendary Rapper DMX Dies With No Will, Millions in Debt, and 15 Children—Part 1

Legendary hip hop artist DMX—born Earl Simmons—passed away on April 9 at age 50 after suffering a massive...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Planning for Your Pets, Estate Planning
Don't Forget To Protect Your Furry Family: Estate Planning For Your Pets

It’s sad but true that many pets end up in shelters after their owner dies or becomes incapacitated. In f...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Kids Protection Planning, Awakened Parenting, Family Financial Planning, Estate Planning
Estate Planning For A Child With Special Needs: What Parents Need To Know

Estate planning is an obvious concern for all parents, but if you have a child with special needs, it’s c...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Life Planning, Same Gender Couples, Blended Family Issues, Estate Planning
Just Married? 6 Estate Planning Essentials for Newlyweds—Part 2

As we head into the peak of wedding season, if you are a newlywed or are about to tie the knot, add “esta...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Life Planning, Same Gender Couples, Blended Family Issues, Estate Planning
Just Married? 6 Estate Planning Essentials for Newlyweds—Part 1

As we head into the peak of wedding season, if you are a newlywed or are about to tie the knot, add “esta...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Blended Family Issues
Aretha Franklin’s Estate Planning Haunts Her Family —Part 2

Nearly three years have passed since Aretha Franklin, known as the “Queen of Soul,” died from pancreatic ...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Blended Family Issues
Aretha Franklin’s Estate Planning Haunts Her Family —Part 1

Nearly three years have passed since Aretha Franklin, known as the “Queen of Soul,” died from pancreatic ...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, wills and trusts
Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Dies Without A Will—Part 2

Last week in part one of this series, we discussed how Tony Hsieh became an Internet pioneer, starting tw...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, wills and trusts
Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Dies Without A Will—Part 1

On November 27th, nine days after being pulled unconscious from a house fire in a beachfront home in New ...

Estate Planning Mistakes, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
Will Your Estate Plan Actually Work When Your Family Needs It?

November 6, 2020 is “National Love Your Lawyer Day,” which started in 2001 as a way to celebrate lawyers ...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, wills and trusts
Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Dies Without A Will—Part 2

On October 15th, nearly two months after the death of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, his wife, Tayl...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, wills and trusts
Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Dies Without A Will—Part 1

On October 15th, nearly two months after the death of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, his wife, Tayl...

Asset Protection, Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes
What the Netflix Series Tiger King Can Teach You About Asset Protection -Part 3

Anyone who has seen the hit Netflix documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness can attest that i...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, wills and trusts
What the Netflix Series Tiger King Can Teach You About Estate Planning-Part 2

Anyone who has seen the hit Netflix documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness can attest that i...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Blended Family Issues
What the Netflix Series Tiger King Can Teach You About Estate Planning-Part 1

Anyone who has seen the hit Netflix documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness can attest that i...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
A Tragic Oversight: Kobe Bryant’s Youngest Mistakenly Left Out of Family Trust

In January, we reported how the deaths of NBA legend Kobe Bryant (Kobe) and his 13-year-old daughter, Gia...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Blended Family Issues, Estate Planning
Your “Blended” Family Is Likely Headed to Court Unless You Do This

If you have a blended family and do not plan for what happens to your assets in the event of your incapac...

Estate Planning Mistakes, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
Getting Legal Documents Signed During COVID -- A Reason To Not Go It Alone

Wills, trusts, health care directives, powers of attorney, and legal guardian nominations are on many of ...

Estate Planning Mistakes, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
Online Wills? When You Should, When You Shouldn't and Where to Do It

With all of the media about “digital wills” and “online estate planning” it could be tempting to think yo...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Planning for Your Pets, wills and trusts
How to Plan a “Pet Trust” to Protect Your Pet After Your Death

In my previous article, I talked about what to take into consideration when you’re planning for your pet’...

Estate Planning Mistakes, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
False Security: Is Your Will Legally Valid?

A last will and testament can ensure your wishes are respected when you die. But if your will isn’t legal...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Kids Protection Planning, Estate Planning
Buyer Beware: The Hidden Dangers of DIY Estate Planning—Part 2

Last week, we shared the first part of this series on the dangers of do-it-yourself estate planning. Here...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Blended Family Issues, Estate Planning
Buyer Beware: The Hidden Dangers of DIY Estate Planning—Part 1

Do a Google search for “online estate planning documents,” and you’ll find dozens of different websites. ...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Kids Protection Planning
Who Will Be Emani’s Legal Guardian After the Death of Her Dad?

In the aftermath of rapper Nipsey Hussle’s murder this March, his family and ex-girlfriend have been lock...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Same Gender Couples, Estate Planning
Estate Planning Concerns For Married, Same-Gender Couples

Now that same-gender couples can legally marry in all 50 states, more Americans than ever before are enjo...

Estate Planning Mistakes, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
The Real Cost To Your Family of Failed Estate Planning: Not Updating Your Plan

This is the fourth in an ongoing series of NLBM articles discussing the true costs and consequences of fa...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Kids Protection Planning, Estate Planning
The Real Cost To Your Family: Having No Estate Plan At All

This is the third in an ongoing series of NLBM articles discussing the true costs and consequences of fai...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Life Planning, wills and trusts
The Real Cost To Your Family: Relying On A Will Alone

This is the second in an ongoing series of NLBM articles discussing the true costs and consequences of fa...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Life Planning, Estate Planning
Avoid These 2 Common Causes For Dispute Over Your Estate Plan—Part 1

No matter how well you think you know your loved ones, it’s impossible to predict exactly how they’ll beh...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Life Planning, Estate Planning
The Real Cost To Your Family: Not Planning For Incapacity

This is the first in an ongoing series of NLBM articles discussing the true costs and consequences of fai...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Kids Protection Planning, Estate Planning
4 Critical Estate Planning Tasks to Complete Before Going on Vacation

Going on vacation entails lots of planning: packing luggage, buying plane tickets, making hotel reservati...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Family Financial Planning, Estate Planning
Overlooking This Basic Part of Your Estate Plan Can Be Tragic

The recent death of the CEO of QuadrigaCX, a major cryptocurrency exchange in Canada, demonstrates a basi...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Planning for Your Pets, Estate Planning
Pet Trusts Offer Protection for Your Furry Family

If you’re an animal lover and have a pet of your own, you likely consider your pet to be a member of the ...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Kids Protection Planning, wills and trusts
When Something is NOT Better Than Nothing—Part 2

Last week, we shared the first part of this series discussing the hidden dangers of do-it-yourself estate...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Kids Protection Planning, wills and trusts
When Something is NOT Better Than Nothing—Part 1

Go online, and you’ll find tons of websites offering do-it-yourself estate planning documents. Such forms...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Life Planning, Estate Planning
What Happens to Your Facebook Account When You Die?

If you’re active on social media, Facebook probably plays a prominent role in your life. And now the soci...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, Save Money On Your Taxes
Don’t Transfer Ownership of Your House to Your Kids Before You Read This

With the cost of long-term care (LTC) skyrocketing, you may be concerned about your (or your elderly pare...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
Aretha Franklin Dies Without a Will

Aretha Franklin, heralded as the “Queen of Soul,” died from pancreatic cancer at age 76 on August 16th at...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Family Financial Planning, Save Money On Your Taxes
Avoid This Major Mistake When Adding an IRA to Your Estate Plan

Some people assume that because they’ve named a specific heir as the beneficiary of their IRA in their wi...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Kids Protection Planning, Awakened Parenting
Appoint a Guardian to Keep Your Kids In Safe Hands At All Times

Probably every parent who has watched the news lately has felt the heartbreak over what’s happening to im...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Blended Family Issues
Thicke’s Estate Shows Importance of Properly Drafted and Updated Estate Plans

In the 1980s, the late actor Alan Thicke played the wise-but-hip father figure and psychiatrist Dr. Jason...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Caring for Elderly Parents, Planning for Seniors, Estate Planning
Estate Planning Mistakes Seniors Can’t Afford to Make

Estate planning really should be considered as soon as you acquire your first asset, have a child, or ste...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
Estate Planning Best Practices Gleaned From Famous Celebrity Deaths

Discussing death can be awkward, and many people would prefer just to ignore estate planning all together...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Kids Protection Planning, Estate Planning
5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Since estate planning involves thinking about death, many people put it off until their senior years or s...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, wills and trusts
The Pitfalls of DIY Wills: Lessons Learned from a Florida Probate Case

DIY wills are becoming more prevalent as legal services can now be accessed easily online. For better or ...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Life Planning, Blended Family Issues
How Legal Planning Helps Build a Strong Blended Family

Yours, mine and ours … in today’s modern family, it’s oh so common. The blended family is the product of ...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
Planning Pays Off: An Illustrative Look at Carrie Fisher’s Semi-Failed Estate Plan

Whether your estate is modest or movie star worthy, the value of a good estate plan, properly handled, ca...

Estate Planning Mistakes, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
Is California’s New Transfer on Death Deed a Safe Alternative to a Living Trust?

Perhaps you’ve heard from a well-meaning friend or advisor that you can use an inexpensive Transfer on De...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
How “Shopping Around” for An Estate Plan Could Leave Your Family With an Expensive, Unintended Mess

Maybe you’ve heard that before investing in a professional service you should “get three estimates.” Whil...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Family Financial Planning, wills and trusts
Why You Should Never Buy Your Will From Living Social or Groupon

Of the handful of major life events that require your serious consideration, few are as emotionally charg...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Kids Protection Planning, wills and trusts
Leaving Without a Plan: Prince Didn't Leave a Will & Here's Why You Should

Even after death, celebrities are highly publicized for their mistakes, many of which we make ourselves. ...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Kids Protection Planning, Awakened Parenting, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
Estate Planning Essentials for Parents

A comprehensive estate plan can protect the things that matter most. For many, this means their property ...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, Life Planning, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
Why You Need to Update Your Estate Plan After These Life Events

Too many estate plans are created and then quickly forgotten, put on a shelf, and never looked at again. ...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, Family Financial Planning, Life Planning, Planning for Seniors, Estate Planning
The Four Tricky Cons of 2016

Electronic technology has brought about tremendous benefits for today’s society. We can access goods, ser...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
Recent Superstar Death Brings Estate Planning to the Forefront of Discussion

The untimely death of superstar Prince has brought a surprising issue to American living rooms: estate pl...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, Planning for Seniors, Estate Planning
Could This Happen to You or Your Loved One? Town Demolishes House While Owner Is in Hospital

Imagine this: your elderly uncle with no family near his home travels South to Florida for surgery and ha...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, Family Financial Planning, Life Planning, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
How to Protect Family Heirlooms From a Family Feud

The passing of family heirlooms from one generation to another should be welcome tradition in most famili...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
What You Can Learn From the Estate Planning Mistakes of Others

There is much to be learned from the mistakes of others and the celebrity world abounds with cautionary t...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
How to Fund Your Trust to Avoid Probate

A common estate planning mistake many people make – including celebrities like Michael Jackson – is not e...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, Family Financial Planning, Life Planning, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
5 Things You Need to Know Before You Name Beneficiaries

Once you have chosen the people you want to receive any of your assets -- either from a will, a trust, a ...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
Unintended Consequences from the Case of the Missing Will

Even the best intentions can have unintended consequences when it comes to estate planning. A case now wi...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, Caring for Elderly Parents, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
Asset Protection: When a Will Won’t Work

One of the most prevalent misconceptions when it comes to estate planning is that if you have a will, it ...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
Robin Williams’ Family Fight Over Personal Property Not So Funny

Robin Williams’ wife Susan has gone to court over personal items she says were taken from the couple’s Ti...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
No One Feeling Good About Continuing Battle Over James Brown Estate

James Brown was known for his signature song, “I Feel Good,” but no one is feeling good about the battle ...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
“And the Estate Planning Oscar Goes To...” Lessons on Film About Family

The film “Black Heirlooms” has not received any Oscar nominations. It was made by 32-year-old Amanda Brow...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
Life Lessons From Celebrity Deaths on Updating Your Estate Plan

A new year always brings the sad reviews of notable personalities who have died in the past year. Two not...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
Hollywood Legend Lauren Bacall Leaves Large Estate and Two Potentially Large Headaches for Heirs

Legendary Hollywood actress Lauren Bacall died on August 12, 2014, leaving behind an estate estimated at ...

Asset Protection, Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
Robin Williams: A Lesson in Deeds, Not Words + One Error in Planning

One of the most eloquent responses to Robin Williams’ death came from his best friend Billy Crystal, who ...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
Casey Kasem’s Estate Planning Not in Anyone’s Top 40

Casey Kasem, the celebrity radio host who counted down America’s Top 40 popular songs for years, died on ...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
Why DIY Estate Planning is a Bad Idea For the People You Love

America is a nation of do-it-yourselfers, but building a deck and creating a legally valid estate plan ar...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
Law and Disorder: The Jerry Orbach Estate Battle

Jerry Orbach, who starred as Detective Lennie Briscoe in the popular “Law and Order” television series, d...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, Awakened Parenting, Family Financial Planning, Life Planning, Planning for Seniors, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
Give While You Live to Avoid a Family Feud

A recent article in the New York Post about brothers battling over a painting from their uncle’s estate s...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
Another Actor’s Estate Plan Screwed Up By His Lawyer

Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s will has been filed for probate and provides a cautionary ta...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
5 Fast & Furious Estate Planning Lessons from Paul Walker’s Estate

Paul Walker, who starred in the Fast & Furious movie franchise, died tragically in a high speed car a...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, Family Financial Planning, Life Planning, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
How to Preserve a Family Vacation Home with a Trust

If you are fortunate enough to have a family vacation home, you know the emotional value it holds for eve...

Estate Planning Mistakes, Life Planning, Planning for Your Pets, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
How to Create a Plan to Ensure Your Pet’s Care

Most of us who have a pet consider them to be a part of the family; unfortunately, the plans we may have ...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, Family Financial Planning, Life Planning, Planning for Seniors, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
How Much Do You Charge for a Will?

If you came to this page to find out what I’ll charge you for a Will or you are considering calling me (o...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, Awakened Parenting, Family Financial Planning, Life Planning, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
How to Avoid Family Conflict When Making an Estate Plan

Unfortunately, money has a habit of bringing out the worst in people, even in the best of families. One o...

Celebrity Estate Planning, Estate Planning Mistakes, Estate Planning
What You Can Learn From Three-Time NYC Mayor Ed Koch’s Will About Your Estate Planning

Three-time New York City Mayor Ed Koch died on Feb. 1, leaving an estate estimated between $10-$11 millio...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, Family Financial Planning, Life Planning, Save Money On Your Taxes
The Fiscal Cliff Tax Deal: For Most of Us, It's a Wash

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 that Congress passed on New Year's Day extended the Bush era tax...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, Family Financial Planning, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
How to Correctly Name Beneficiaries for Your IRAs

You could be unintentionally reducing your family’s wealth potential if you do not properly designate the...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, Family Financial Planning, Save Money On Your Taxes
What to Do When You Inherit a Retirement Account

As a Personal Family Lawyer®, I am often asked to help people who inherit a retirement account. The actio...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, Family Financial Planning, Life Planning, Planning for Seniors, Planning for Your Pets, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
What a Will Won’t Do

There are a number of essential things a last will and testament can do for you, such as distribute famil...

Asset Protection, Estate Planning Mistakes, Kids Protection Planning, Family Financial Planning, wills and trusts, Estate Planning
Avoid these 10 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

As a Personal Family Lawyer®, I see many of the same estate planning mistakes made time and again by peop...

PFL firms in your area

virginia

Hi, I’m Pam Starsia. I became a Personal Family Lawyer because I’m passionate about educating and empowering people to create estate, life, ...

Juniper Law, PLLC

I became a Personal Family Lawyer to help people like you and families like yours plan for the future. Facing the potential for incapacity a...

Das Law, PLLC

Let’s talk about your death . . . or incapacity. If something unfortunate happens, what will happen to your assets that you’ve worked so har...

Legacy Lawyers, PLLC

Hi. I’m John W. Heck. I became a Personal Family Lawyer because I have seen the consequences of failed estate planning in my immediate famil...

Edris Law

In my practice, I focus on Family Protection, Wealth Preservation, and Value-Based Planning. I’m also experienced with wealth planning strat...

Brown Law Offices

Lisa Brown Esq. is the principal attorney for Brown Law Offices. She received her J.D. from The George Washington University Law School and ...

Millennium Attorney

Naureen Rahman has been practicing law for over twenty years in the Maryland, DC-Metropolitan area. She has practiced across numerous sector...

Reflections Life Planning, LLC

I love being able to guide my clients through a unique planning process that empowers them to live a financially fulfilling life now while e...

I am an attorney dedicated to helping families in Virginia navigate the world of estate planning. With over 22 years of legal experience, I'...

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