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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 25, 2011 / 21 Nissan, 5771

Don't second guess the deceased

By Alan Douglas




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Last week I told you how much mischief and sorrow you can create with your will. You can fall into the trap designed by others to create feuds and animosity from the grave. When I was drafting wills and dealing with estates after clients died, I learned enough about family dynamics to keep me up many nights.

Here is the usual warning: See your attorney if you want legal advice. Don't think any book or a website will substitute. And if you have enough money to make it worthwhile, see an attorney who is also an accountant or has a LLM (post-graduate degree for law) in estate law. An inheritance is what you get as an heir or a beneficiary. The estate is a legal entity that is fiction. Estates are formed by the government to settle (and so they can tax) the deceased person. You can't avoid the government, even after you die. The estate pays the tax, not the beneficiaries receiving the money. You can plan using trusts, gifts, and a whole range of devices, but ultimately you have to determine who gets what, when, and how. Life changing events, changes in the law, and the wisdom gained with age, all necessitate the future periodic review and possible revision of your estate plan.

It is hard enough to figure out what is fair when you don't want to make trouble. If you don't have a will, then the state where you live will determine who gets what (depending upon the form of ownership and relationship). But if you draft a will there is plenty to ponder. If one child is richer than another child, should the estate be divided equally? If one child who lived near their dying mother cared for her during her last few years, should that child be rewarded with more than the other children? If there are two children and one has a grandchild and the other does not, should the two children each receive the same amount? When minors are involved it gets even more complicated. If thinking about doing right by the kids is problematic, what about the pets left behind? The law says they are property, and just like the old beat up couch in the living room they get disposed of.

By naming someone to serve as the executor or personnel representative to handle your estate after you die; don't view it as anything but a pain in the butt. It is not an honor, it is a thankless job. And some people want their friends to undertake these responsibilities without compensation. People often find the best approach to planning for their demise, is to ignore it and to let the surviving family deal with it.

So, if you don't have a will, then write one. Sure you might save some taxes that Uncle Sam will grab, but more importantly, you can save your family a lot of grief. In your will, make clear who gets what and why. By making the gesture to plan for your family, you minimize the friction at a time when everyone is grieving and often itching for a fight. Sure, some of them will be unhappy with you, but if family peace is important to you, then a will is important. After you die, your popularity becomes less important here on earth as the centuries go by; and it was never important elsewhere anyway.

And for all of you waiting to inherit, here is the answer to your all questions. It isn't your money. Your parents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives may be very rich, but it isn't your money. They may be very rich thanks to unethical behavior, good luck, hard work, sacrifice, or inheritance, but it still isn't your money. Don't count on ever seeing a penny of it. You aren't entitled to it unless some court says you are. Even if your rich relatives adore you, they have a right to spend every last cent for their own pleasure. Parents with young children or children with elderly parents may recognize an obligation to provide for the financial well being of those they love. But don't count on it. When money is involved, families go for the gold. The named beneficiary in a life insurance policy trumps an instruction in a will. When beneficiaries for life insurance policies aren't changed after marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child, very ugly things happen. Haste, forgetfulness, and war make for situations where people have to choose between the windfall of insurance money (tax-free) or doing the right thing. An unhappy childhood, or the chance at winning the insurance proceeds, doesn't change that fact that it isn't your money. Others may be entitled to it.

Don't second guess the deceased. Once you get the money, then it is up to you to decide who is entitled, and who isn't. When it is your money, then you can decide. The crowded line on the left is made up of people who think they are entitled to whatever they can get. The small line on the right is composed of those who are thankful for whatever they get. Life may or may not be what you make of it, but estates certainly are.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

JWR contributor Alan Douglas, an author, media executive, speaker, and attorney, lives con brio- except when he is grumpy.


Previously:

Pain and legacies
Being in the No
The Sixth Sense
Dogs in Danger
Facebook, LinkedIn and the Zuckerberg Exit
Simon Bolivar Would Tell Glenn Beck to, ‘Put A Sock In It’
Children and Grandchildren
Swearing, Shoes, and Mark Twain
How my poor man's Porsche, Virgil, prepared me for life
Leases and Landing Gear
The Oscars, Obama and Job Creation
Damages and Penalties
Obstacles with Impossibilities
Making Others Feel Bad
Referrals and Recommendations
Woodpecker Frustration
Phrases, Not Resolutions
I Was A Crime Fighter and Super Hero
Comforting with Sympathizing
Nautical Worry Killers
Can You Keep A Secret?
Holiday Card Hazards
Gifts
Sharing, Transparency and Dumping
Red Alert
Readers Respond Regarding Rabbi
Readers: I Need Your Help with my Rabbi
Humphrey Bogart and P. T. Barnum on Fighting with Family and Friends
Columbus, Honors and Hound Dogs
The Free Lunch
When your child suffers
Conversational Transmitted Diseases
Conservative, Liberal or American
Paris, Antarctica and Shopping
Personal Protection
Dispute Resolution
Jumped or Pushed?
Friends and Acquaintances
Revenge and Vindication

© 2010 Alan Douglas

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