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    Joshua and Laura Meier Newport Beach Trust and Estate Planning Attorneys Focused on Helping Families with Young Kids
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    Category Archives: Parents

    Estate Planning Implications When Young Adult Child Lives At Home

    You probably heard that a recent Pew Research Center analysis of census data shows that the most common living arrangement for adults ages 18-34 (aka millennials) is living at home with their parents. This is now a more common arrangement than a young adult living with a spouse or roommate or alone.

    And while there is a lot of discussion about how this new normal is affecting our economy, housing market, and marriage rates, did you know this also significantly impacts the family estate plan?

    Most traditional estate plans assume that young adult children live independently of the parents and outside of the family home.

    If you have a young adult child living at home, here are some unique questions you need to talk about with your family trust attorney so your family trust can best protect you, your adult child who lives at home, and your other family members:

    1. What happens when I pass away and my young adult child is still living at home? Do they have to be given notice to move out?  Do they have a right to remain there?
    2. Should my young adult child who lives at home receive the same inheritance as my other children who live outside the home?
    3. Should my young adult child who lives at home have a right of first refusal to purchase the family home after I pass away?
    4. How can I make medical and financial decisions for my young adult child who lives at home if they became seriously injured or passed away?
    5. Do I need a contractual arrangement with my young adult child who lives at home that addresses rent, rights, eviction, etc. similar to what I would have with a tenant?

    If you have a young adult child living at home, talk with your Newport Beach Family Trust and Estates Law Firm about how your family trust can appropriately reflect your family dynamic and living situation, and best protect the entire family.  Call Bonnie Johnson at (949) 718-0420 to schedule a Planning Session with a Meier Law Firm attorney who can show you your options and help you establish or update your plan.

    Choosing Guardianship

    Father-SonChoosing someone to raise your children if something happens to you is hard to even think about. However, naming guardians is a must. 

    Newport Beach Family Trust Attorney Laura Meier tells ParentingOC Magazine that if parents don’t legally name permanent guardians, a judge would have to choose who would raise their children.

    Luckily, there are three easy steps for you to follow for choosing guardians.

    • STEP ONE: Write down all of the potential people (individuals or couples) who could potentially serve as guardians.
    • STEP TWO: Then write down the top three qualities that you would want them to have (i.e. age, religion, lifestyle, etc.).
    • STEP THREE: Compare both sheets of paper. Rank in order the “potential people” you listed from your first choice down to the last choice, based on your top three priorities.

    This won’t be a seamless process, but to avoid prolonging it, here are the six most common mistakes people make when naming guardians.

    • Naming a couple to act as guardians, (when you really don’t want both people,) and you haven’t said what should happen if the couple divorced or one of the partners in the couple died.
    • Only naming one possible guardian.
    • Considered financial resources when deciding who should raise your children.
    • Only having a Will, which means the court will distribute your money—it’s totally public and doesn’t protect your money from divorce or lawsuits.
    • Not excluding anyone who might challenge your guardian decisions.
    • Only naming guardians for the long-term and not making any arrangements for the short-term if you were in an accident. Your children could end up in temporary foster care until your permanent guardians arrive.

    After you have made your decision, the next step is to make your guardianship legal. You have to legally document your wishes. This should be done in your family estate plan that ensures your family’s complete financial, medical, physical and emotional care and protection. Contact your Newport Beach Estate Planning Lawyers today and discover how estate planning can help you protect your children.

    The Talk You Need to Have With Your Parents

    grandparent and parentWhen you were a kid, your parents probably dreaded the talk they had to have with you.  You know the one.  Well, now that you are an adult, there’s a talk you need to have with your parents that is likely to be just as awkward – which is why so many of us put it off.

    It’s about money.  Specifically, your parent’s money.  The money that may become yours one day. Or may not.

    Whether you or your parents think it’s none of your business, it is.  You are most likely the one(s) who will need to deal with all the financial issues your parents leave behind when they become incapacitated or after they die.

    Not knowing anything about their finances will place you at an immediate disadvantage, making what will be a hard job almost impossible.

    So how do you get the conversation started?  Here are some tips from a recent New York Times column on the subject:

    Think about what you need to know.  You need to know more than where to find the will, you need to know if parents have executed powers of attorney, advance health care directives or a trust as well.  You need to know if they have life insurance or other assets and, if so, where the policy is located.  You need to know if they keep a list of all their debts and, if they bank and pay bills online, you need their log-in information for each account.

    Bring in a support team.  Your parents may feel more comfortable discussing financial issues with their attorney or financial planner present to facilitate the conversation. They may also feel more comfortable talking with all their children at once, or to only one – take family dynamics into consideration.  And call us in at the beginning of the process.  We can help ease the way tremendously.

    Make a plan.  Chances are you will need immediate access to cash in order to pay expenses related to a parent’s passing.  Since probate can be a lengthy process, you may want to plan for this eventuality by having parents establish a revocable living trust, which allows assets to pass outside probate.

    Document storage.  Be sure your parents do NOT store their important documents in a bank safe deposit box because getting at them could require you to obtain a court order.  Use a strongbox or safe that is kept in the home instead. Or make sure you are a signer (and there are back-ups besides you) on the safe deposit box.

    If you would like to have a talk about estate planning for your family, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for a Planning Session, but because this planning is so important, we’ve made space for the next two people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call Meier Law Firm today at 949.718.0420 and mention this article.

    Vacations Are the Perfect Time for Families to Talk About Estate Planning

    If you are like most Americans, you will probably be spending at least some of your vacation time this summer with older family members. While there are few perfect times to talk with parents about their estate plan, the relaxed times you spend together on vacation can be one of them.

    Family on VacationHere are some tips on how to conduct this critical conversation:

    Find a good place to start. One of the best ways to ease your parents into a financial discussion is to bring up your own. Tell your parents that you were looking into your own estate plan and wondering if they had already executed their own. Sometimes you can use scare tactics to good effect – there are lots of stories about celebrities or others who have neglected to plan and paid the price with dire consequences.

    Take it easy. If you feel that parents may need some help with organizing their financial lives, be reassuring rather than applying pressure. Let them know that you want to make sure their financial independence is kept intact for as long as possible. Take things one step at a time, such as extending an offer to help them use online bill pay or assist them with organizing their information at tax time.

    Respect boundaries. Many parents feel uncomfortable discussing their finances with their children. If you face this obstacle, let your parents know that you at least need to know where to find their important documents when it becomes necessary, but that you aren’t attempting to control them in anyway. You simply want to help and make things as easy as possible for you and your siblings when something does happen.

    Sometimes initiating a conversation with parents about estate planning can be easier with the help of a Newport Beach Trust and Estate Planning Attorney at Meier Law Firm. We can help with an Achieve Your Dreams Planning Session. Call our office today at 949.718.0420 to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about designing an estate plan that fits the needs of you and your family.

    Talking Retirement and Estate Planning with Parents in Newport Beach

    Adult children and their parents recognize the need to talk about
    inheritance, eldercare and retirement planning issues, but nearly one in two
    adult children do not feel like they’ve had sufficient conversations with their
    parents about these issues …

    Mom and Daughter FlowersDiscussing retirement
    and elder care planning with aging parents can be difficult for all parties
    involved.  For many parents and adult
    children, these conversations can be awkward and potentially emotional.  A recent study by Fidelity Investments
    documents the extent to which the two generations are failing to communicate on
    this topic, as conveyed by Forbes in
    an article titled “Generations Apart: Talking Retirement And
    Estate Planning Over Turkey
    .”

    According to
    the study, 89% of families agree that health and elder care discussion are
    important.  But only 10% of adult
    children believe the conversations they have had with their parents have been
    “very detailed.”  Similarly, only 19% of
    children say the same about estate planning conversations, and only 11% of
    adult children feel they have discussed retirement readiness with their parents
    in detail.

    There are
    several implications of inadequate discussions. 
    For example, nearly 25% of adult children believe they will have to help
    their parents in retirement while nearly all of the parents in the study said
    they will not need financial help from their children.  Similarly, some adult children underestimate
    the value of their parents’ estates by more than $100,000.  On the other hand, however, some adult
    children may not save enough because they expect a large inheritance from their
    parents. For more on this matter, you can consult the article “Parents and Adult Children Not in Sync as
    Many Families Still Struggle with Financial Conversations
    ” on Fidelity.com.

    To help facilitate these discussions,
    Fidelity also offers conversation starters on their website.  However, an easier way to facilitate the
    conversation may be for both the parents and the children to sit down with the
    parents’ financial adviser.  Advisers can
    structure those conversations to keep focused on the essentials and keep the
    emotions out.

    Contact your Newport Beach
    estate planning attorneys at Meier Law Firm to discuss all of your estate
    planning needs
    .

    ReferencesForbes
    (November 21, 2012) “Generations Apart: Talking Retirement And
    Estate Planning Over Turkey

    Fidelity.com (November 14, 2012) “Parents and Adult Children Not in Sync as
    Many Families Still Struggle with Financial Conversations
    ” and “Conversation Starters




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    phone: 949.718.0420 e-mail: office@meierfirm.com