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Neal Bartlett

Your Time is Valuable: Let's Get a Jump Start on the Estate Planning Process

Time seems to be the one thing we just can’t get enough of. This is especially true if you are one of our nurses or frontline healthcare workers. You work tirelessly caring for others and may not have a lot of free time to work on your estate planning. If you are able to answer the following questions or at least think them through, you can get a jump start on the estate planning process today.
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Neal Bartlett

Special Estate Planning Considerations for Art and Other Collections

Many people have collections about which they are quite passionate: The collections may be very valuable, for example, art collections, coins, stamps, or designer handbags, or they may have more sentimental than monetary value, such as political bumper stickers, postcards, or rocks. Regardless of its dollar value, if you have a collection, it should be included in your estate plan.
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Neal Bartlett

Caught in the Undertow: How No Estate Plan Could Leave Your Family Overwhelmed

Many people love to spend part of their summer vacation at the beach, enjoying the ocean and sunshine. But there may be unseen dangers that are crucial for beachgoers to keep in mind: For example, the undertow is a current of water, often quite powerful, below the surface, that is moving away from shore when waves are approaching it.
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Neal Bartlett

Spring Cleaning: Time to Clean Up Your Estate Planning

Your estate plan, like your home, periodically needs a thorough polishing. Your life circumstances are constantly changing, and an estate plan that perfectly met your needs a couple of years ago may now be cluttered with outdated provisions or documents. With spring fast approaching, now is the time to dust off your estate plan to ensure that it will still achieve your goals, as well as to avoid unintended consequences that may arise as a result of divorces, deaths, births, or other changes that have occurred since the last time your plan was reviewed.
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Neal Bartlett

Things to Be Aware of When Administering a Hoarder's Estate

Hoarding is more than just being a bit messy (or buying a six-month supply of toilet paper): It is actually a mental disorder causing some people to have difficulty discarding items, regardless of their value, and to experience severe distress even at the thought of it. If you have been named as the personal representative of a relative’s estate and discover that the deceased person’s home is packed, floor to ceiling, with collections, clothing, old mail, books, and papers, what should you do?
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Neal Bartlett

How to Create a Valid Will in California

In light of the current pandemic, many Americans are becoming aware of the importance of creating or updating their estate planning documents. With the extension of some states’ stay in place orders, it may be tempting to create your own documents all on your own. Whether you are considering writing your own will or using an online “do it yourself” (DIY) document creator, there are many reasons why this is one project you shouldn’t undertake without the help of a professional.
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Neal Bartlett

Strategies for Your Charitable Planning

There are many reasons why you may want to give to a charity: You may give because you believe strongly in a cause or organization, but it can also reduce your yearly income tax bill and remove value from your overall estate. If you are considering making a donation, but are unsure of how to proceed, we are here to help. Working closely with other members of your financial team, we can craft a plan utilizing the charitable planning strategies that will best help you achieve your goals.
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Neal Bartlett

How to Protect Your Will From Unhappy Relatives

Having an updated last will and testament is more important than ever, especially now. However, a will that is poorly created or not frequently updated can be vulnerable to contestation. What is contestation? It is the formal objection to a will’s (or trust’s) validity because it either: a) doesn’t reflect the wishes of the person who created the will, or b) because the will does not meet legal standards. Will contests should be avoided at all costs. Not only can a contest derail your final wishes, but it can also rapidly deplete your estate and wreak emotional havoc on the family members left behind. Fear not. With proper planning, you can prevent that from happening.
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Neal Bartlett

Unclaimed Property - What is it, Where to find it, and Its Impact on Estate Planning and Administration

For most of us, every penny counts, so it is almost inconceivable that we could have lost track of any money or property. Regardless of how careful we are with our finances, it is possible for utility deposits, credit balances, unused gift certificates, banks accounts, and many more types of property or money to accidentally be forgotten or abandoned. In fact, across the country, there are billions of dollars in unclaimed property being held by the state and federal government. Fortunately, it is often possible to locate this property and obtain it. It is equally important for estate administrators or family members to look for unclaimed property when a loved one dies to be sure that all of his or her property is included in the estate and goes to the intended beneficiaries.
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