Frequently Asked Questions

Estate Planning and Choosing a Guardian for Your Children

In this video, I discuss the important topic of choosing a guardian for your children in the event of your absence. As someone who doesn't have children myself, I understand the significance of this decision and the need to find someone who aligns with your values, parenting philosophy, and religious beliefs. I emphasize the importance of open communication with your potential guardian and highlight the distinction between long-term and short-term guardianship. It's crucial to consider emotional support and unconditional love, in addition to financial resources, when selecting a guardian. Lastly, I address the misconception that a couple must be nominated as guardians and encourage viewers to choose the person who is best suited for the role.

Estate Planning: Why You Need More Than A Will

In this video, I discuss the importance of estate planning beyond just having a will. I explain that estate planning covers aspects such as incapacitation, asset management, medical decisions, and guardianship of minor children. I emphasize the need for a power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, living will, and HIPAA release. Additionally, I highlight the significance of memorial instructions and New Jersey's document for disposition of remains. By addressing these matters in advance, we can prevent conflicts and ensure that our wishes are respected. Watch the video to learn more about the essential components of estate planning.

Estate Planning: Beyond Who Gets What

In this FAQ session, I explain what an estate plan is and why it's important. An estate plan covers more than just who gets what; it also includes contingencies for incapacitation, managing assets, making medical decisions, and guardianship for minor children. I discuss the comprehensive nature of estate planning, including the use of wills and trusts. Additionally, I emphasize the importance of the legacy component, such as leaving behind videos, letters, and photographs, to communicate with loved ones and prevent conflicts in the future

Living Will: Understanding Your End of Life Decisions

In this video, I explain what a living will is and why it's important to have one. A living will is not the same as a last will and testament; it specifically addresses your medical wishes while you're still alive. I discuss how a living will applies to situations where you are terminally and irreversibly ill or injured and unable to communicate. I also emphasize the importance of clarifying your wishes in writing to avoid family conflicts and guilt. Watch this video to learn more about making informed end-of-life decisions.

What Happens if You Pass Without a Will

In this video, I address the common misconception that passing without a will is not a big deal. I explain that state law will fill in the gaps and determine who your heirs and beneficiaries are. I also discuss the implications for blended families and the importance of having a will to ensure your wishes are followed.

Naming Children as Beneficiaries

In this video, I address the question of whether it is advisable to name minor children as beneficiaries of life insurance policies. I explain the potential risks and drawbacks of doing so, including the lack of control over the assets and the possibility of the court appointing someone else to manage the funds. I also discuss the importance of setting up a trust or testamentary trust to protect the money and ensure it lasts longer for the children's future needs.

Probate: Understanding the Court System for Estate Planning

In this video, I explain what probate is and how it relates to estate planning. Probate is a court system that exists in every state, where a judge oversees the distribution of assets and makes decisions regarding guardianship and medical decision-making for minors or incapacitated adults. I discuss the importance of having an estate plan to avoid or minimize probate, as well as the role of a probate judge in filling any gaps or inconsistencies in the plan. Viewers should understand the significance of probate and the need to carefully consider who will handle their estate if they only have a will and not a trust.

Should I Avoid Probate

In this video, I discuss the frequently asked question of whether one should avoid probate. I explain that it is a client-specific question and that at Ralston Law, our approach is to educate clients about probate and how to avoid it. I highlight the importance of considering the public nature of probate, potential delays in the court system, and the desire for privacy and efficiency. Ultimately, the decision to avoid probate or not is up to the individual.

Estate Planning and Trusts

In this video, I answer a common question about estate planning and explain the difference between a trust and a will. I discuss how a trust serves as a will substitute and acts as your last will and testament, outlining who gets what and who is in charge. Unlike a will, a trust does not need to be filed with the probate court, making it a private document. I highlight the efficiency and immediate action that a trust allows, especially in cases of incapacitation or disability. This information is crucial for anyone considering estate planning, particularly those with minor children or charitable intentions.

Do I Have to be Rich to Have a Trust?

In this video, I address the misconception that trusts are only for rich people. I explain that the decision to have a trust is not based on net worth, but rather on the desire to keep your family out of court and conflict. I also highlight the benefits of utilizing a trust, such as avoiding probate court and ensuring immediate and private distribution of assets. Ultimately, the decision to have a trust is yours to make, and our role is to draft the trust in the best way possible to protect you and your family.

Estate Planning Process and Timeline

In this video, I provide answers to frequently asked questions about the estate planning process. I discuss the typical timeline, which is around 6-8 weeks, but can be expedited for specific situations like upcoming travel or the arrival of a new baby. I encourage viewers to start the process early and mention that they can learn more through videos and attending our events. I explain the three main meetings involved: the planning session, the signing, and the legacy meeting. Lastly, I highlight the importance of the fire-resistant, waterproof box where all important documents are stored for added protection.

Exploring the Benefits of Professional Estate Planning

In this video, I discuss the importance of seeking professional help for estate planning rather than attempting a do-it-yourself approach. Drawing from my experience working at H&R Block and as a lawyer, I highlight the potential pitfalls and complications that can arise from DIY estate planning. I emphasize the need for expert guidance, especially as life circumstances become more complex. Viewers are encouraged to consider the long-term implications of their decisions and to schedule a free consultation to ensure their estate plan truly meets their needs.

Estate Planning Myths Debunked

In this episode, I address the biggest myth about estate planning. Many people believe that a will covers all estate planning contingencies, but that's not true. A will doesn't cover incapacitation or disability, and it has to go through probate court. Another myth is that if you're married and incapacitated, your spouse can automatically act for you, but that's not the case. Even if you're married, your spouse may have to go to probate court to make decisions on your behalf. It's important to have the right legal documents in place to ensure your wishes are followed.

Estate Planning Cost and Importance

In this video, I discuss the cost of estate planning and emphasize the importance of finding the right attorney. I explain that the cost of an estate plan varies depending on the attorney and highlight the potential consequences of choosing a cheap option. I draw parallels to doing taxes on your own and the potential issues that can arise. I also stress the need for regular updates to your estate plan as life changes. Overall, I aim to educate viewers on the value of investing in a comprehensive estate plan.

Planning Session Overview

In this video, I provide an overview of what to expect during a planning session, whether it's for a family walk or life and legacy planning. I explain the process of contacting our office, answering questions, scheduling, and completing an intake form. I emphasize the importance of submitting the form online and assure viewers that it's okay to leave some answers blank. The goal is to make the session efficient and productive.

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