Estate Planning Involves More Than a Sticky Note

There are some moments in life that merit planning and focused effort beyond just writing something down on a sticky note to place on your refrigerator. Example: someone calls an attorney’s office “just to ask a question” about a legal issue and is surprised to be told that a consultation is required before advice can be provided. Estate planning and asset protection involve complex legal strategies that need to be applied in the right combination to provide a customized solution for one’s unique circumstances.


1. There are several ways to avoid probate, including joint ownership of property, using beneficiary designations and transfer-on-death deeds, gifting property, and establishing a revocable living trust. The right combination of these strategies will provide sure-fire protection. But a wrong decision here can result in disaster.

2. A properly drafted and up-to-date power of attorney gives your designated decision-makers sufficient authority to handle your affairs during incapacity and avoid conservatorship court proceedings when banks and other institutions will otherwise decline to cooperate.

3. There are substantial differences between wills and trusts that most people fail to consider or even understand. Worse yet, do-it-yourself and online documents simply give you the tools to commit moral malpractice. A plan, tailored to your specific objectives, takes time with the guidance of an experienced professional.

4. There are little-known strategies available to reduce your financial burden for nursing home expenses of $8,000 (or more) per month when long term care insurance is out-of-reach. Such strategies include irrevocable trusts, Medicaid-compliant “safe harbor” annuities, gifting and other divestments; but these must be engaged only with the guidance of a qualified legal professional, or severe penalties will result.

5. With a standalone retirement trust, you can ensure the optimum stretch-out, asset protection, and management of your unspent IRAs, 401(k)s, and other retirement plans you leave your children and grandchildren. Otherwise, these substantial assets can be lost or squandered.

6. The remarriage of a surviving spouse oftentimes results in a disinheritance of children and beneficiaries of the first spouse to die. Most people don’t even consider this possibility. With proper “remarriage protection,” it can be completely avoided.

7. Planning for yourself or family members with special needs (disabilities) is crucial to prevent an individual from being inadvertently removed from government assistance programs designed specifically to protect the most vulnerable in our society. A complete estate plan will provide for this contingency just in case a child or grandchild suffers a disability in the future.

8. Outright distributions to children or other beneficiaries are likely to result in losing an inheritance to divorce, creditors, predators, or destructive personal habits. This can be prevented with the use of continuing trusts tailored to the needs of your beneficiaries.

9. Advisors who are not law-trained, and even attorneys who are not specialists, presume to offer advice to clients on complex estate planning and asset protection legal strategies. Failure to recognize the specific qualifications and, conversely, the limitations of your advisors is likely to lead to poor decisions on your part and resulting outcomes.

10. With a carefully designed, advance plan customized to address your specific objectives and circumstances, you will achieve lifetime protection and peace of mind. Procrastination is your enemy so get started today.


There are resources available that families can use to deal with these deeply complex issues. Local workshops by estate planning professionals, such as the Aspen Legacy Planning developed strategies to achieve protection and peace of mind through Estate Planning., are available to pre-qualified individuals addressing the most comprehensive and modern strategies to provide security for you and your family. These workshops are informative and sign-ups are available now, followed by individualized no-obligation consultations to evaluate your unique estate planning needs and solutions.

FREE Workshop dates: Thursday, March 8th @ 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm; and Tuesday, March 13th @ 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

At the Turnac Tower, 909 St. Joseph Street, Suite 202, Rapid City

Seating is limited. To reserve a seat, call (605) 610-4016, click on the e-mail link appearing on this page, or go to our Contact page and submit your reservation in the "Quick Message" section.

Attendees will be able to schedule no-obligation consultations to address personal objectives and planning strategies.

Give yourself the gift of lifetime protection and peace of mind.