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Orange City Estate Planning Blog

3 Things To Do Before You Retire

One of the biggest threats to your financial security isn’t the markets, interest rates or even your job security. It is a lack of preparation, particularly for unexpected events, that usually leaves investors reeling when markets swoon. If you haven’t protected yourself from the potential downsides in life, after all, then it’s difficult to maneuver when the unforeseen strikes.

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High Five: Mistakes with DIY Wills

Not surprisingly, online do-it-yourself legal services have a huge customer base, likely because they are cheaper and more convenient than using a local lawyer. Sites like LegalZoom say you can “get a will” that’s the same as what you get from the lawyer down the street. But, unfortunately, DIY or form wills are prone to any number of problems which cause your estate to be divided incorrectly, your probate to be administered inefficiently, or your wishes to be completely ignored. [Read More]

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Watch Your Language: Spenddown

When a Medicaid applicant is married, the rules allow their spouse to retain a minimum amount of assets and income. We’ve already talked about the community spouse resource allowance (CSRA); the minimum income level is called the minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance (MMMNA). [Read More]

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The Biggest Job in Probate Court

There are several responsibilities that come along with being a personal representative in Northwest Iowa, and there are personal qualities which may make one person a better choice than others. For example, a good personal representative will have a sense of fairness and will be able to remain impartial when it comes to following the decedent’s instructions. [Read More]

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101 Death Hacks [Part One]

Everyone loves ‘hacks’. From party hacks to Halloween costume hacks to garage organization hacks, if you want to simplify a project or task you can do a quick Google search or pay a visit to the Lifehacker website to find ways to effectively shortcut a complicated job. Why should that be any different for estate planning? Well, a DIY will is probably going to create more problems than it solves, but you can still simplify the estate planning process. Check out this first post in our five-part series to learn how. [Read More]

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FAQ: What Happens if I Revoke a Will in Iowa?

There are some common questions which go along with revoking a will, but one of the most asked is whether or not revoking the will revives a prior one. The answer to this question is “probably not.” When setting up your estate planning needs, your attorney will likely help you create a will. If you decide to make changes and create a new will later, the previous version is no longer in effect. [Read More]

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High Five: The Zen Guide to Planning for a Nursing Home Stay

If you’re dealing with a nursing home, it will quickly become clear that the options for paying the care bill are dizzying. Paying out of pocket is cost prohibitive. Long-term care insurance is probably not workable. For many, that leaves Medicaid, but those rules are spread over hundreds of pages of federal and state statutes, regulations, and policy manuals. What you need is an oasis from the stress, not the exponentially increasing stress that comes from trying to make sense of all those rules. Don’t despair. You can achieve calm in this whirlwind. Follow these five steps and you’ll soon find that the zen of nursing home planning is easily reached. [Read More]

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High Five: The Zen Guide to Creating a Will

Over the last seven years of advising clients, I have come to the realization that many people aren’t doing estate planning because it’s intimidating. It’s scary. Depressing. That’s a lot of negative emotion! But I don’t think estate planning is a negative experience – quite the opposite. Follow this guide to finding the Zen of creating your will, and you’ll soon discover that all those negative thoughts have been replaced by peace of mind about your final affairs. [Read More]

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