Charitable Remainder Trusts Are A Win-win Proposition

The fact that the federal budget deficit is over a trillion dollars is a hot topic in the news, and it is clear to most of us that spending money that you don’t have is something that you can’t do forever. At the same time, societal needs exist, unemployment is high, and there is sufficient wealth in the country but it is concentrated in a tiny number of pockets. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are among these few, and they have recognized the need for philanthropic giving as a way to address some of the challenges that we face as a society. They issued a challenge recently, calling on the nation’s 400 wealthiest people to give half of their assets to charity, and this ratcheted up public awareness about the need that exists for charitable giving.

Obviously the uber-rich are in a different position than most of us, but many people of significant means have the urge to make a difference, and this can be done by the creation of a charitable remainder trust. You simply place assets into the trust and donate it to the charity of your choice, although that charity must be approved by the Internal Revenue Service. The charity acts as trustee and manages the trust, making investments and otherwise protecting the assets therein. You receive payments from the trust, and these can be fixed annuity payments or percentage payments that fluctuate along with the value of the trust. At the end of your life, the assets in the trust are owned by the charity.

There are tax benefits to charitable remainder trusts. First, the original donation can be deducted from your income tax over five years, but you have to deduct the anticipated income that you will be getting back from the trust. Second, you do not pay capital gains taxes on appreciated assets placed into the trust. And thirdly, you reduce the overall taxable value of your estate.

If you are in a position to make a substantial contribution to charity, charitable remainder trusts are something to consider. There are benefits for you as the donor, and the charity gets a huge boost as well, making it a win-win proposition for all concerned.

Saul Kobrick is an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of New York and the owner and founder of The Law Offices of Saul Kobrick, P.C. For more information on remainder trusts and other estate planning services, visit our website.

How to handle monetary gift and Wills Disputes

The pressure of dropping a beloved is never an easy issue, and it can become much more warmed when inheritance or wills arguments come into play. Whether it’s an issue of an element of bracelets that has emotional value or the convenience of home or home, close relatives don’t always believe the fact on how to cope with inheritance problems. If you’re looking for inheritance assistance, consider these options:

Respect the Will

Not only is a will an officially joining papers, but it also shows the needs and wishes of your departed beloved. To handle any inheritance disagreement, first seek advice from the will. The will should cope with important issues such as interacting with property or home, inheritance income and personal items. If the will isn’t crystal sure a particular point, it’s up to the executor to make a resolve on inheritance problems. If there is no will, or an executor has not been called in the will, a manager may be designated by probate the courtroom.

Prepare to Compromise

If you and a beloved don’t believe the fact on solving inheritance arguments, look for a satisfactory bargain. If you’re passing away to have a element of fixtures that has emotional value, and the other beloved is only worried about inheritance income and wants to provide it, consider providing that beloved a bigger discuss of the inheritance income in come back for you maintaining the fixtures. This is a typical method of solving inheritance arguments.

Consider Arbitration or Arbitration

Mediation and mediation are two alternatives for solving inheritance problems short of lawsuits. In mediation, the events sit down and talk about their inheritance arguments, and the arbitrator efforts to help them arrive at a bargain. The arbitrator may provide inheritance assistance or several recommendations and jeopardizes to help the events arrive at a contract.

In mediation, each aspect shows its disagreement to the self-sufficient arbitrator, who assess the inheritance problems and makes a resolve. Arbitration is more of a last destination, as each celebration must accept agree to the choice but eventually has no control over it. Arbitration may be the best place for situations where there’s a warmed disagreement over inheritance income and neither aspect wants to bargain.

Probate Court: the Last Resort for Monetary gift Disputes

If you cannot arrive at a bargain, mediation or mediation are failed, or if you differ with the way the executor has removed property or home, you may find yourself in probate the courtroom. Probate the courtroom is where you sue inheritance problems, such as convenience of property or home or inheritance income. Take legal action in probate the courtroom can be a costly probability, as you’re likely to need probate legal professionals to help you get around the network of types and procedures. In many situations, you’ll be better off discovering some other way to handle inheritance arguments.

For more information on What is probate, Executor of will and Grant of probate get in touch with a professional in professional promises. They should be able to offer you with expert consultancy and information, as well as discovering the right expert to take your state on a no win no fee time frame.

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Estate Planning & Qualified Personal Residence Trusts

Home ownership has traditionally been the foundational wealth building vehicle for many people in the United States, so the value of the family home makes up a large percentage of the total worth of many estates. The federal estate tax has been repealed for this year, but it returns in 2011 with a $ 1 million exemption and a maximum rate of 55%. When you apply this rate of taxation to the market value of a house that is being willed to your heirs it is devastating to the value of the estate, and many feel that it is an instance of double taxation. You bought the house with the net income that you earned over the years after paying taxes on the gross, and then this net income that has been invested in your home is taxed once again at an exorbitant rate upon your death.

Fortunately there is an estate planning vehicle called a qualified personal residence trust that can provide a way to avoid paying estate tax. To implement this strategy you place your house in the trust and name your beneficiaries. You may then continue to reside in the house for a specified period of time rent-free, but you are responsible for ongoing maintenance costs and property taxes. At the end of this prescribed term your beneficiaries assume ownership of the home and the estate tax is not applicable.

The funding of the trust with the home is considered to be a gift to the trust and it is subject to the federal gift tax, but the value of the gift is based on the actuarial value of the house, which will be much less than its true market value. There is a $ 1 million gift tax exemption, so if it has not been used, the transfer of ownership is achieved tax-free as long as the actuary value is less than a million dollars.

QPRTs are very effective and commonly used estate planning vehicles, and if your home makes up a large portion of your estate’s value such a trust may be the ideal good solution for you.

Alan L. Augulis is a leading provider of expert estate planning guidance in Warren, NJ. For more information on trusts and other estate planning services, visit our website.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy – An Overview

Bankruptcy is the legal way that many individuals and businesses seek to opt for when they are unable to pay off their debts. It is not a desirable choice but sometimes, during grim economic phases, one is left with no other option but filing a bankruptcy.

Filing a bankruptcy case can be a very difficult decision and involves many complexities. It is not advisable for a person to take over the burden of handling the legal procedures all by himself. One needs assistance from an experienced attorney in order to understand the ramifications of the lawsuit and filling up the paper-work correctly.

One of the options of bankruptcy is chapter 13. The main purpose of this chapter is consolidation of debts and setting up of a feasible monthly payment system. Once you decide to file a bankruptcy case, your attorney will help you to decide as to which chapter will be appropriate for your situation. This is a vital decision and takes into account your whole monthly income status.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves a thorough analysis of your income, monthly expenses and total debts. It is often referred to as the ‘wage earners plan’. The process of the chapter 13 bankruptcy is intricate. After filing a case, a debtor will send in a proposition of repayment plan for obligations and debts, if any. Bankruptcy court will review the proposal and if it gets approved, a trustee will be appointed who will take over the total assets of the debtor and distribute them among the creditors. The trustee will be responsible for controlling the debtor’s financial needs during the repayment phase. The debtor needs to get all the credit-related issues reviewed and approved from the trustee. The repayment phase is usually a period of 3-5 years, during which the debtor’s expenses will be strict and court-imposed. He would not be allowed to make any non-essential expenses during this period.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy has many advantages over chapter 7 bankruptcy, particularly because it offers debtors a chance to save their homes by putting a halt to foreclosure proceedings.

A qualified attorney is the only person who can review your case and help you to decide whether you can file a chapter 13 bankruptcy. Montgomery County, OH citizens who are facing financial problems can contact Bankruptcy Law Office Dayton to get expert advice and consultations from highly experienced bankruptcy attorneys.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy Dayton, OH – The Bankruptcy Law Office Dayton can help you make a fresh financial start, free from debt, lawsuits, creditors, wage garnishments, and more through either Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Three Principles To Help The Bride Read A Good Marriage, “by-law” (map) – Wedding Dress -

As the saying goes: “Every family has its cupboard,” which one is called “by-law.” In the family, intergenerational conflicts and conflict, the most obvious and most common is seen in the relationship between Mother. Sub-law is so many people mention the problem on shake their heads. How to read this well, “cupboard”, making-law live? This of course will not have any “standard answer.” Here are a few points:

Three principles to help the bride read a good marriage, “by-law”
First, do wife’s to respect, care for her mother.
According to relevant surveys, the majority of the family is the wife now, “power”, thus in resolving conflicts in-law, daughter-in-the primary responsibility. Do wife’s pay attention to respect, care for her mother, failing to consult more and the elderly, as far as possible “economic openness”, and regularly or irregularly to the mother of some pocket money. To respect, care for her mother, but also must learn to adapt to her mother. Mother mostly from the old society, ideology, life, sometimes customary to bring some old marks.

Second, every season, or the mother birthday, to remember her mother in law is getting ready to present.

Normal wife to his mother to send food, using the best mother at the same time to prepare. To take into account physiological and psychological characteristics of elderly people, often to do some mother-love to eat, the family table to eat, pay attention to good food to the mother first, not only their own children and husband. Daughter-in-the more the new, often difficult to understand her mother’s behavior, it is a number of moves, often causing her mother’s resentment, which led to sub-law. In this case, the wife should pay attention to control their own as far as temperament and habits to take care of the elderly.

Thirdly, not a matter of principle, we should move as much as possible for the elderly to make their own mind.

Necessary, even forcing some of their habits to accommodate the elderly. And so are her mother’s favor, then the elderly part of the old habits, with ingenious ways to gradually change. This woman will gradually reduce barriers to harmonious relations.

-Law relationship in dealing with them, the son of a very important role. Mother had trouble telling his son to find; daughter had been wronged, to pour out her husband. In this case, if the son did just listen to one side the word, letter side of management, one-sided, accusing the other party, then fuel the flames of conflict intensified.

Son is only equal justice, neither the mother was disappointed, do not let his wife suffer no place to appeal to ease the mother-and daughter conflicts. For example: a wife is not met when her mother scolded, as the wife of his son to take responsibility for as much as possible, to ease each other’s atmosphere. If his wife complained met, then the more appropriate explanations and comfort to her, asked her to look at the husband and wife Qingfen, the excuse for the elderly, eliminate her anger. By the son to act as mediator, make the buffer work-laws, the growing contradiction to improved family harmony be realized.

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Working with Probate Lawyers During Estate Planning and Estate Settlement

Probate lawyers play an integral part in helping clients develop estate planning strategies or settle probate estates. Individuals hire lawyers to assist with drafting their last will and to advise of strategies to ease transfer of inheritance property. Estate administrators often retain probate lawyers to assist with estate settlement duties.

Two types of probate lawyers exist – transactional lawyers and probate litigators. Transactional attorneys handle matters related to establishing estate planning or settling estates. Probate litigators are usually required when family disputes arise over distribution of inheritance property or when heirs contest the last Will.

Estate executors typically work with Transactional lawyers during estate settlement. Attorneys can record the last Will and death certificate to open a probate case. If decedents do not execute a valid Will, Transactional lawyers can be appointed to settle the estate or assist in settlement matters to ensure the estate is settled according to state probate laws.

Some of the more common duties Transactional probate lawyers help with include: submitting notification letters to creditors; executing ‘consent to transfer’ documents for financial accounts; drafting affidavits for titled property transfers; and filing court documents.

Probate litigators are generally required when heirs contest the last will and testament or if lawsuits are filed against the estate during probate. They can also act as mediators if heirs dispute over inheritance assets.

Some probate lawyers are qualified to handle both transactional and probate litigation. When possible, it’s best to consult with 3 or more attorneys to determine which is best suited for the needs of the estate.

It can be challenging to hire a lawyer to manage the estate of a loved one shortly after death. It can be helpful to retain the attorney who executed the decedent’s last will and testament. However, estate administrators should strive to work with a probate lawyer whose personality is compatible.

Settling probate estates can be emotionally difficult. Working with a lawyer who expresses little compassion or interest in the decedent’s estate can make the probate process nearly unbearable.

Being prepared prior to interviewing probate lawyers will make the process more efficient. Ask for a list of required documents when calling law firms to arrange consultations.

For estate settlement, lawyers will require pertinent information about the decedent including date of birth, date of death, and social security number. They will also need a copy of the last will, death certificate, list of personal belongings and titled property, property deeds, tax returns, and life insurance policies.

When real estate is involved, it is best to work with probate lawyers with experience in real estate law. Property transfers must be recorded through the court in order for heirs to take possession.

Estate planning strategies exist which allow individuals to avoid probate. The type of strategies used depends on estate value and type of property owned. Estates valued over $ 100,000 can be protected by a trust. Smaller estates can assign payable-on-death and transfer-on-death beneficiaries to financial accounts and titled property.

When scouting out legal counsel, consider asking friends or family for referrals. The Internet can be a good source for locating probate lawyers, as well as the American Bar Association website at

Working with probate lawyers can help ensure your estate is easily settled upon death. Probate liquidator and real estate investor, Simon Volkov, shares insights on estate planning, ways to avoid probate, and tips for hiring probate attorneys via his website at


Basic Estate Planning – 14 Ways to Make a Mess of Your Estate

Let’s face it. Your alive now and one day you’ll die. You will likely own stuff when you die, and all of your stuff is called your “assets.” Assets have value, and at your death, those assets need to be given to someone who is still alive…unlike you.

Your assets are also known as your “estate.” The Federal Government assesses an Estate Tax on estates. Most estates will not be taxed as they will be under the minimum asset value for the tax. In 2007 and 2008, only the portion of an estate over $ 2 million is subject to federal estate tax. The threshold rises to $ 3.5 million in 2009 before the tax disappears in 2010. But estate planning is not just for tax treatment. Your estate planning is essential for protecting you and your loved ones.

Here are 14 ways you can mess up your estate.

Not having a Will: A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that outlines your wishes for the disposition of your estate. In the absence of a Will at your death, the Probate Court of your state will make one for you. The court’s disposition of your estate might run opposite of your wishes. But without a Will, that’s the way it will be.

Not updating the Will: The circumstances of life change, sometimes rapidly. Serious illness, divorce, death of a spouse, adoption, birth of each child, moving from one state to another, receiving a windfall, getting married or remarried, fluctuations in asset value, and deaths of heirs can change what you wish to do with your estate. Update your Will annually, or at least review it annually to make sure needed updates are done.

Wrong executor: Name an executor who will manage your estate from the time of your death until the time that your assets are distributed. This is a big job, so make sure the person has the time and the ability to do it. Also name a backup in case the chosen person refuses the job at your death.

Couple as guardians: Don’t name a couple as guardian. They could split up or disagree about what’s right for your child.

Same person as guardian and financial trustee: To provide checks and balances, the guardian and trustee should be separate persons.

Not leaving enough to a spouse: Assets left to a spouse aren’t included in the taxable estate. So make sure that your spouse is named specifically in the Will to receive certain assets. A bypass trust provides regular income for a surviving spouse until death. Then the assets go to the children.

Leaving it all to a spouse: This choice may leave out your children, or children from a previous marriage. Be specific in your bequeaths.

Improperly disinheriting a child: You must spell it out in the Will, not just tell everybody that the child gets nothing.

Not planning for worst case scenarios: What if you’re alive but can’t make your own financial decisions? Prepare a Durable Power of Attorney for finances, a living will and, because living wills aren’t always enforceable, a proxy for health care.

Keeping the insurance policies in a bank safe deposit box: The box could be sealed at your death, and it could be weeks or months before the court orders it unsealed. Your executor will need that money to settle your estate.

Being too specific: There may be certain items, such as a ring or piece of furniture that you want to bequeath to a certain person. Fine. But don’t spend time naming everything in your house and who gets it. Try to bequeath assets in groups of assets, such as “Furniture” or “Jewelry” or “Stocks and Bonds.”

Ruling from beyond the grave: It’s usually a bad idea to tie bequests to an heir’s behavior. A testamentary trust or spendthrift trust in the will can control how money is distributed so an irresponsible heir can’t blow it all at once.

Wrong kind of ownership: There are three types of joint ownership. Your share of assets don’t automatically go to the other joint owner on your death. Be sure you have the proper joint ownership in your state.

Not telling where you keep the will: Only have ONE COPY of the will that has been properly executed with signatures. Keep unsigned copies for your own records. DON’T keep the signed copy in a bank safe deposit box, which could be sealed at your death.

Estate planning doesn’t have to be complicated. But it does require careful planning. So be careful and get it done right.

Copyright 2009 by Russell D. Longcore
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Overview of Inheritance Law, Probate and Trusts

Inheritance law refers to laws surrounding assets owned by individuals who have died. Governed under the Uniform Probate Code since 1969, inheritance law governs how property is distributed if decedents die without executing a last will and testament, along with estate settlement procedures.

At present, UPC inheritance law has been adopted in entirety by 18 states, while the remaining 32 states have adopted part of the probate codes. Estate administrators in charge of settling probate estates must adhere to specific protocol. Therefore it is strongly recommended to work with a probate lawyer to ensure compliance.

While inheritance probate laws vary by state, most follow similar protocol. An estate administrator must be designated to settle the estate. This can be done through the last will and testament or a trust. When individuals die without having a Will in place, it is referred to an intestate estate. Administrators of intestate estates are appointed through probate court.

All estates within the U.S. must undergo probate unless assets are protected through a trust. Some states do not require small estates, usually valued below $ 25,000, to undergo the probate process.

Settling estates through probate can be a time-consuming process, especially if decedents did not incorporate estate planning strategies. Intestate estates can drag on for months while the courts determine rightful heirs.

Inheritance property normally transfers to the decedent’s spouse, if one exists. However, the court must abide by inheritance law to ensure property is appropriately distributed. This can prolong probate by several months, particularly if anyone places a claim against the estate.

To minimize the process of probate, individuals should execute a legal Will. There are several ways to accomplish this. Much depends on the type of property owned, who will receive it, and the value of estate assets. It is best to consult with a professional estate planner or probate lawyer to determine which strategies are best suited for your needs.

The only way to avoid probate is to transfer assets into a trust. Several types of trust exist and each can be structured to suit your needs. Establishing a trust requires the services of an estate planner or lawyer. Trusts are normally reserved for estates valued over $ 100,000.

Inheritance property protected by a trust is not considered part of the estate and exempt from probate. Trusts are managed by a Trustee and assets can be quickly transferred to designated beneficiaries upon death. Oftentimes, proceeds from trusts are exempt from inheritance taxes.

People often procrastinate about writing a last will and testament. While no one enjoys thinking about who will receive their belongings when they die, it is important to engage in estate planning. Otherwise, decisions will be left to the court and your loved ones will be left picking up the pieces and may not receive one thing you would want them to have.

Probate lawyers and estate planners can help make the process easier and offer advice about the various options available. They can help execute a last Will or trust to ensure loved ones receive your legacy while abiding by inheritance law.

Confused about inheritance law? You’re not alone. Estate planning, probate, and trusts confuse most people. However, understanding probate laws can help you protect valuable assets. Probate liquidator, Simon Volkov shares a comprehensive estate planning article library to help you make informed decisions at

Presentation by Wilson Tan, CEO, CapitaMall Trust Management Limted.

Our Elderly: At Risk

As there are deals cut between government and major corporations, the elderly in America are at risk. It is time American got off the rids of dependence and save themselves and those at risk.


John Cadwalder has a solution that costs little, takes practically no upkeep, and makes America secure. Cadwalder has answers you need to know – for all of us.

Last winter nearly a million and a half homes in California went without electric power for as long as two weeks.


The cost of electricity rose steadily because of the policies adopted by the present administration. Today, the cost of electric power in the United States is tied in to the cost of oil like two Siamese twins joined at the hip and head.


Last month California was hit by a wave of heat that killed the elderly []. I In California the total was one hundred and thirty. The mostly elderly died at home, some of them had air conditioners that were kept turned off. The elderly, on fixed incomes, could not afford the cost of the electricity to run their units. These elderly and not so elderly died along with their pets.. It was an ugly way to go.


Bodies were stacked two to the gurney because the hospitals could not handle the numbers of dead.


A few days ago, Americans who finally managed escape from Lebanon are trickling back home. Americans were last out because our embassy there ignored their need while such countries as England, Italy and Japan made free emergency transport available for their citizens. Our country had to be dissuaded from charging Americans fleeing for fear of their lives. This also delivered a very different message than we as American expect to hear from those in government.


Your electric company will be quick to tell you they are not liable, and they will be right. Government allows electric companies quasi-governmental status because it deems their interests as superior to those of the people. Government accepts no liability itself and extends that benefit to its friends.


What you demand from your house cleaner or your contractor you cannot get from those who are assumed to supply the needs that, gone unmet, will kill us. That is fundamentally wrong but at this point in time it is impossible to change.


We have learned that it does not take foreign terrorists to put us at risk, our government has done that themselves. We are vulnerable, and as was the case in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the real answer is not government, it is facing the problem as they exists and solving them ourselves from within our communities, churches, and civic organizations.


There are many problems but at the top of the list is energy dependence, especially when the lack of affordable energy kills. Those most on the margin are at risk of their very lives.


We need to get serious about getting off the grid and ensure that our energy needs are met not through this system of tenuous and vulnerable cables but through the means now available that both lowers the cost and secures our continued needs over time. The technologies to accomplish this exist today, they are available as well as affordable, thanks to American innovators and inventors.


You will hear those in authority say this cannot be done, but notice whose interests they have been representing over the past months and years. The emergency infrastructure in New York on September 11th, 2001 completely broke down. It was volunteers who brought relief and ensured that what needed to be done was accomplished. As Californians we have seen this over and over as emergencies bring us together to ensure that our families and communities survive.


It is not rocket science, it is simple common sense to use what is available even when those who would profit from the status quo try hard to dissuade us.

The essential solar and cell technologies have come a long way since they were originally produced in 1900. My own family installed a system for heating water in their home in Hollywood in 1901. It worked perfectly. Today, the application of far more advanced technologies has made our present system a dinosaur as outdated as the levees that held the water back from New Orleans, another governmental program that cost lives because of the false sense of security that lulled people into inaction.


We expected solar to become standard in the 70s. We are still waiting – and now the costs are bankrupting ordinary Americans and our elderly are dying.


More than eighty-one of our elderly died just in California. Grandmothers, grandfathers, Uncles, Aunts, people we knew, with whom we worshiped and lived. We can not bring them back but we can make sure it does not happen again.


This is a problem that the powers that be have ignored because it does not augment their income. It is a problem that we need to acknowledge because it can kill us or those we love. Getting off the grid matters, not just to save money, but for that, too. It matters because we need to know we are caring for our own, being responsible, and loving each other as Christ told us to do.


It will not be easy, but it can be done if we face this together and take action. We need to do it now so next summer no one is at risk.


My father was a practical guy. If there was something that needed doing he would dig out the information and get it done. He would listen to people telling him it was impossible very politely. Then he would just do it. We can do that, too. Like I said, this is not rocket science. We all know many people who have installed their own entirely independent energy systems, either spending a lot or nearly nothing. Finding the best technology means being discerning and asking hard questions.


Americans have always been the kind of people who innovate and, when the chips are down, do it for themselves. America was built on that kind of creativity and initiative. We had it once; we still have it.

Many of those technologies we heard about in the 70s did work. They could have been used. Many patents for those technologies were, surprise, bought up and sat on by petroleum companies. That weren’t a conspiracy, just market manipulation; easy for those who control the markets and government to carry out. This is an obstacle we can overcome because when you understand how it happens it can be avoided.


In the Spiritual Politician we hear from Americans with answers, from those people who find profit in taking the work of Jesus into the world through invention, business, and social action.


John Cadwalder is a good man who has an answer that solves this problem. John has spent his life studying the work of Tesla and other greats and has found solutions overlooked by industries who focused on selling petroleum products. He wants his technology used first to help the elderly and needy. There are lots of people out there who, like John, want to do the right thing and enact change for all of us. John, unlike other Americans, can tell you how we avoid the pitfalls placed by corporations. Getting off the grid is not just a good idea, it is the only idea.


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Calgary Wills and Talking to Your Children about Guardianship

For young parents, or for that matter for parents of young children, probably the most important consideration when writing a will is who should be appointed as a guardian. There are many important and sometimes complicated factors that go into picking a guardian: closeness of relationship, physical proximity, maturity, financial security, immigration status, etc. However, a good litmus test is actually quite simple: Do your kids like this person?

If the answer is yes, then you may have the perfect guardian. If the answer is no, then this person is a horrible choice as a guardian and you should not consider this person further. Keep in mind that courts, at least in Alberta and in other Canadian provinces, are not compelled to honour your choice of guardian. The legal test is what’s in the best interests of the child. It’s as simple as that. And who decides what’s in the best interests of the child? That too is simple. It’s that man or woman wearing a judicial robe. Your thoughts as a parent regarding what’s good for your children will be given some weight. However, if you pick someone your children clearly detest, a judge will in all likelihood not force them to live with this person. 

Admittedly, this might not be the sort of conversation you can have with a five-year-old, except perhaps indirectly. However, even slightly older children should be able to express their preferences for guardianship quite clearly. Listen to them. If they like a family member or friend, they have probably bonded with that person to some degree. If they don’t like someone, they haven’t bonded with that person. The guardian is someone who should always have your children’s best interests at heart. If this person hasn’t developed some connection with your kids, he or she is not right for the job.