July 2012

The Fight Over Gary Coleman’s Estate

Here is the remaining article regarding the messy outcome of poor estate planning which effected the ability for Gary Coleman’s estate to be settled in a timely manner. 

Steve Greenwood an attorney that specializes in estate planning shared this article with me.

steve@caestatelaw.com

“Helping Clients Avoid Estate Disputes

The lengthy arguments over Coleman’s estate should be a wake-up call to advisors to remind clients that changes in marital status can leave their own assets in a similar situation. In the event of any changes in marital status, or even in the case of common law marriage, wills and healthcare power of attorney documents must be kept current to ensure that the client’s wishes are clearly stated.

In an article on the court’s decision, Lawyers.com listed several important questions that advisors should discuss with clients (http://tinyurl.com/7smjoqo):

• Who will inherit my property if I die without a will? How can I ensure my assets are left to my children, partner and other loved ones?
• What legal rights does my partner have if I’m hospitalized or on life support? Who can make healthcare decisions on my behalf?
• Can my partner sign contracts on my behalf? Access my bank accounts and pay my bills if I’m incapacitated?
• If I die, how can I ensure that my partner becomes legal guardian of my child? How can we pick a legal guardian for our children if we both die?”

Without answers to these questions, clients are potentially leaving their estates bogged down in a costly and unpleasant legal quagmire which can drag on for years.

I hope this article has helped you and your clients. As always, if you have a specific case or concern please contact me.

steve@caestatelaw.com

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Gary Coleman

I am sure that most people will remember Gary Colemann and his sad story after his televison career concluded.   After his death, his estate became imbroiled in a lengthly period of litigation.

Primarily due to poor estate planning.   I am sharing an article that was sent to by Steven Greenwood, P.C. steve@caestatelaw.com  discussing this situation and the outcome.

“Invalidated Will Ends Two-Year Court Battle over Gary Coleman’s Estate”

“A judgment handed down in May regarding the estate of late comedic actor Gary Coleman highlights important issues for estate planners and advisors everywhere.

Coleman died May 28, 2010. After two years of legal battles, Coleman’s ex-wife, Shannon Price, is officially disinherited. Utah Fourth District Court Judge James R. Taylor instead ruled in favor of Anna Gray, Coleman’s former business manager and CEO of his company.

Divorce Complicates Inheritance Issues
The judge’s decision (http://tinyurl.com/8ybaqvv) was based on two important pieces of evidence: Coleman’s will, and whether despite the divorce Price could be considered Coleman’s common law wife.

In his 2005 will, Coleman named Gray as executor and primary beneficiary. Price met Coleman later that same year, and they married in 2007. In 2006, Coleman signed a document giving Price power of attorney for healthcare issues.

During the court proceedings in Utah, Price also produced a 2007 handwritten amendment to Coleman’s will naming Price his heir. However, according to Utah law, the couple’s 2008 divorce invalidated these documents.

The divorce would have ended the matter, but Price and Coleman continued to live together until the time of his accident and subsequent death.

In her testimony, Price claimed that though she was no longer his wife by marriage, due to their living arrangements, she was his common law wife and was entitled to all the same legal rights.

 Judge Taylor found otherwise after being presented evidence that Price dated someone else while she and Coleman slept in separate bedrooms without a sexual relationship.

Price could still appeal, leaving Coleman’s estate embroiled in further controversy.

I will post the reminder of the article on 7/19/12

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A Strategy for Single Retirement

Here is the remainder of the article written by Steven M. Greenwood, P.C. about how to plan for retirement if you find yourself to be single.  As the Boomer generation ages, the amount of individuals who will find themselves to be single and without any children is increasing as indicated by current studies.

Many of then have not planned for the day when they will no longer be working or able to and this article has some excellent suggestions on what to consider when making a retirement plan.

This theme of this article is how to plan for your “single’ retirement now, before too many years have passed and you find yourself in your 60’s and without any sort of idea on how to live comfortably alone.  Mr. Greenwood has some excellent suggestions to consider managing your future as you age and hopefully  with abundant funds to maintain your lifestyle.

Planning Is Key

“Helping clients plan for the future is therefore even more important. Talk to them realistically about these facts so that they can be confident in their financial stability going into retirement, regardless of marital status.

Many clients may be reluctant to discuss or even think about the possibility of facing retirement alone, but those conversations are essential in order to ensure that the golden years aren’t filled with constant financial worries.

BMO recommends the following strategies:

  1. Plan for retirement as early as possible.
  2. Build and sustain wealth.
  3. Understand income and expenses.
  4. Consider changes in housing needs.
  5. Focus on social and emotional well-being.
  6. Devise a comprehensive health strategy (including end-of-life decision making).

Open a Dialogue

It’s essential that clients understand that inflation will increase costs across the board for all of their expenses, so they must have a comprehensive financial strategy going into their retirement years. This discussion should always include options for estate and tax planning, as well as how to grow their retirement savings.

I hope this article has helped you and your clients. As always, if you have a specific case or concern you’d like to discuss, please contact our office.”

Steven Greenwood, P.C.

steve@caestatelaw.com

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How to Plan for Retirement if You Are Single

The statistics are showing that more  people are remaining alone and unmarried in the United States and many of them have no children or significant “other” in their lives.   This has a lot of implications when it comes to how these “singles” will enter their elder years and face the challenges of failing health and maintain their financial independence.

One area that needs to be considered, is the question of retirement and how to plan for it when a person lives alone and is single.

I will be posting two parts of the following article, written by Steven M. Greenwood, P.C., a specialist in retirement planning.  steve@caestatelaw.com

Retirement Planning for Singles
“There’s a growing trend among the nation’s retirees – unexpected singlehood.

A March report by BMO Financial Group’s BMO Retirement Institute (http://tinyurl.com/c75r4r4) explains why more seniors are finding themselves living alone in their golden years, and it offers some advice on how to deal with it. I encourage you to download the report and share it with clients.”

Singlehood Is on the Rise

‘According to a 2011 U.S. Census Bureau report, 43% of people ages 65 and over are single, either due to the death of a spouse (27%), divorce (12%), or simply because they never married (4%).

These numbers are sure to rise as baby boomers reach retirement age, especially among women, who tend to outlive men by a large margin and whose salaries and pensions tend to be lower than those of men.

Single retirees have a 40-50% higher cost of living compared to married couples, and single women tend to have half the money saved for retirement than that of couples in the same age bracket.

Trying to maintain the same standard of living on one person’s pension instead of two can be daunting. There are also potentially additional expenses that a newly single person can incur when a spouse is no longer there to help with cooking, cleaning, household maintenance, or other necessary functions.”‘

I will post the reminder of this article on Monday, July the 11th.

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