Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart

Blog Articles

Blog Articles

Pet Trusts

Posted on September 28, 2018 at 4:50 PM
Check out what Abby has to say this month on the morning blend about her fur siblings.

Disabled children

Posted on September 28, 2018 at 4:45 PM
Tara Peterson, Elder Law Attorney, talks about how to best provide for the future of disabled children.
What can you do to protect your disabled child? #CPAlaw #estateplanning #elderlaw #disabilityplanning

Disinheriting a child

Posted on September 28, 2018 at 4:45 PM

Tara Peterson, Elder Law Attorney, Crenshaw Peterson & Assoc., talks about the process of removing a minor or child from inheritance.  Learn more about disinheriting a child, or alternative options to disinheriting. #cpalaw #estateplanning #elderlaw

Estate Planning and children

Posted on September 28, 2018 at 4:45 PM

Tara Peterson, Elder Law Attorney, Crenshaw Peterson & Assoc., talks about what things you can do in an estate plan regarding children

Blended families

Posted on September 28, 2018 at 4:45 PM

Have you been married before? Find out the best ways to estate plan for your family situation. #cpalaw #estateplanning

Tara Peterson, Elder Law Attorney, Crenshaw Peterson & Associates, talks about issues that might come up with second marriage families and tells us what some of those issues are that we should be thinking about when we estate plan.

Estate Planning is vital now, not later

Posted on September 28, 2018 at 4:40 PM
see why you should be estate planning NOW and get a discount if you call now! 517-347-2100

Pitfalls of Estate Planning 3: Funding your Trusts

Posted on October 13, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Common Pitfall #3, Funding incomplete, or done improperly.

For those out there who already have an Estate Plan put together, let's talk about funding.

Funding is what we use to describe the process of titling all your assets correctly and in conjunction with your Estate Plan. For those with a Trust, this is even more important! The Trust is written on paper, usually a lot of paper, but just paper. It's only as good as what you put into it. Many times we use the bucket example. Having a Trust is like owning a bucket, you are the holder of the bucket and your assets are held within the bucket. The Trust itself, is the outline of the bucket, but we have to put your assets inside the bucket for it to work effectively. Unfortunately, we see all too often, clients who have not 'funded' their Trusts. None of their assets are titled in the Trust, nor are beneficiaries listed as the Trust. So the Trust, is effectively, worthless at death. It's not worth the paper it was written on. Clients came in and we drafted and sign Estate Planning documents and they get a pretty portfolio book with directions for when they leave my office, and then the client leaves my office. After leaving, the portfolio gets put on the shelf, or in the safe and they don't look at it again, forgetting all about their "homework."

The family then comes in after the clients death and it's hard for them to understand why it isn't an easy Trust Administration.  Why does it take so long? Why do we have to go Probate Court? Why are there Court fees?/legal fees?  It's frustrating to them to have more work to do than they had expected because their parent or sibling had an Estate Plan.  But asset titling is just as important as the Estate Planning.  

What this means, is that people NEED to take the time to transfer their assets in accord with their documents and their planning goals. Individuals need to contact their retirement fund companies and get beneficiary changes made. Beneficiaries on Life insurance policies need to be updated, along with Bank accounts, and investment portfolios. A new deed needs to be executed to fund the real property into the trust. There are of course, different methods regarding each type of asset, and how we change that ownership or beneficiary may depend on the tax ramifications associated with it, but everything needs to be changed in some way.  And those changes need to work with, not against the Estate Planning. 

So get in to see your attorney today, and make sure your property titling is working with your Estate Planning. FUND FUND FUND! What good is the paper, if you don't do anything with it?


Pitfalls of Estate Planning 2: Not Updating

Posted on September 3, 2014 at 2:10 PM


An all too common Estate Plan faux pas is not updating.  I love the clients who come in for an update and they pull out their old documents and their now 45 year old child is still going to the neighbor or sibling if something happens to my clients.  We all chuckle over it and get right down to updating, since that plan hasn't been planning correctly for the last 25+ years.  But, at least they came in to finally update it!  

More often I have family coming in to see us after the death of a loved one and we take a look at the documents.  The whole family is sitting around a table with certain preconceived notions regarding what they get or how they get it, usually based off of some other experience they have had. Unfortunately, their loved one hadn't looked at their Estate Planning documents in the last 20, 30, 40 or 50 years.  What that means is that some key provisions could be missing to allow us to do what the family wants us to do.  Or they didn't even have those documents way back then.  The assets may not be titled correctly.  Or the money is split between people the deceased hadn't talked to in 30 years.  And no, just because we don't think it's fair, we can't just delete that beneficiary. If the deceased put them in his/her Will or Trust, then we don't have the authority to change it.  If they wanted to change it, the client should have gotten an update while they were living and competent to do so.  

The other important aspect of updating is that the laws are ever changing.  I know we don't like to think about it, but the state and federal branches do pass laws, they change laws, they interpret laws and that effects not only how we draft documents but also what we draft.  Some of those changes are big and others are small, but we as estate planners want to make sure we are utilizing any current language to your benefit, or avoiding certain new law pitfalls that didn't exist at the original time of your planning. 

Our Firm prides itself on giving individuals tailored estate plans.  The template version of doing things doesn't work when you have different family situations, different asset situations and different feelings on distribution.  So we don't plug people into generic one size fits all templates.  But making sure something continues to fit you requires constant upkeep.  The same way you keep in touch with your dentist or doctor, the same way you visit the gym to maintain a certain weight, your estate plan needs attention too.  We recommend people pull out their documents at least once every 3-5 years.  Make sure it still fits.  In today's fast moving world, life changes happen more frequently than we think they do. Be it more children, new grandchildren, death, selling of property, property gain, new friends, loss of old friends, or moving to a different area.  All these things may impact how you have established your life time planning and/or your after death planning.  

Pitfalls of Estate Planning 1 Not planning!

Posted on August 19, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Not Estate Planning is a detriment to you and your family!

I've been doing a lot of Estate Plan reviews lately.  Seeing what happens when clients leave my office is always interesting.  Seeing what happens after individuals have left our free seminars is equally as enlightening as it is frustrating.  So what are the common pitfalls that people run into?  We'll be discussing them one at a time. 




The most common pitfall is people who do not plan.  No Last Will & Testament, No Powers of Attorney, no long-term-care preparation, just nothing. 

This is not only frustrating to me, as the Estate Planning attorney.  But it's equally frustrating, if not more so, to the family that is left to administer your estate.  I hear so often, "I know I need to do something, I'm just not sure I've decided what I want to do," or "I haven't had the time," or "It's too expensive," and the most common, "I don't have much, so what do I need to plan for?"

Estate Planning covers more than what happens to the money you are leaving (or not leaving) behind for your family.  Who makes medical decisions for you if you are in an accident? And the most common misconception is that the spouse can make the decisions without issue.  That is not always the case. And more importantly, what happens if your spouse is not there, or was in the accident with you?  Not preparing for that can lead to some great expense and time spent with your local county court and adult protective services agents.  So to, what if the problem you face is not physically related, what if it is mentally related. Alzheimers, Dementia, and Parkinsons are becoming all to common amongst seniors today.  So be prepared for the possibilities.  Powers of Attorney are necessary for everyone! Better to have it and not need it, then not have it in a time of need!

Where will your assets go? Whether youhave only one bank account with a few hundred dollars in it, or several with a financial planner and investments, you need to establish how your assets are going to be divided, and to whom.  Meeting with us as estate planners, allows us to guide you to the perfect plan for you.  There are many new estate plan techniques that don't always involve a trust or a will.  But to know and understand them, and more importantly to utilize them, you have to come see us.  We at Crenshaw Peterson pride ourselves on giving our clients tailored plans.  We don't stick everyone in the same templated generic estate plan. We want to give you something that works for YOU!  No two people have the exact same life situation and asset levels, so we're not going to give them the same estate plan.  

Finally we need to discuss long-term care potential.  The longer we live, the longer we have expenses, and the potential for in home care or nursing home care becomes more likely.  Many of our seniors have saved over their life times and they want to be able to leave a legacy to thier children, big or small.  In order to preserve the assets, your family, powers of attorney, and agents all need to have the powers to do what is necessary, and your property needs to be titled, and addressed in a way that protects it from long-term care needs.  Without the proper planning, it is a certainty that your estate will be dwindled down.  At an aproximate cost of $7500 a month in a nursing home, your estate will be depleted quickly without the proper planning.  And if you have a spouse at home, what do they have left to live on? 

So come see us! It all starts with a conversation.  We ask a lot of questions to get you thinking, and we provide a lot of answers to guide you to making those decisions that are so tough to decide.  Give the reassurance to your family, prepare for your future!  Mention this blog article, and the consult is free.