image area

Wills and trusts aren't just for celebrities. Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers encourages dialogue for young families.

Friday, December 05, 2008


We've all heard about estate planning gone bad. The late James Brown, “the godfather of soul,” left family members singing the blues by not updating his will to include a young son and a new wife; or the late Leona Hemsley whose “mission statement” for her multi-billion dollar trust literally left everything to the dogs.

Does this mean that wills and trusts are really meant to be just for the rich and famous? Nothing could be further from the truth according to Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers, P.C. of Boston, which has sponsored interactive discussions with young families to help them learn more about current estate planning strategies.

Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers attorney Perry Ganz, who is himself a dad with young children, notes that having a child is usually the impetus for young families to start considering issues that had never before crossed their mind.

In addition to the needs of a new baby, young families ponder questions that often keep them up at night as well, such as:

? What happens if I die without a will?

? Who will be the guardian of my children?

? How can I protect my children’s inheritance?

? Who will make medical decisions for me if I can’t make my own?

? How do I minimize estate taxes?

? How much life insurance do I need?

“Having a solid estate plan addresses many of these questions,” explains Ganz. “It provides a roadmap to go forward if the unthinkable happens and a family’s life is altered by death or disability. Estate planning is particularly important for the owners of family businesses where continuity, succession, and liquidity issues become paramount.”

Fundamental components of estate planning for young families include the basics: designating guardians for children in a will, providing for distribution and asset management through a trust, investing in life insurance, and drafting a health care proxy.

“In addition, any asset that has a beneficiary, such as an insurance policy or IRA, should be reviewed to make certain that the disposition of this account is consistent with the remainder of the estate plan. Because these assets are governed by a beneficiary designation, they are often overlooked,” notes Ganz. “This includes a life insurance policy, a 401(k), or IRA.”

A word to the wise, don’t throw caution to the winds in the face of a divorce and re-marriage, or the birth of a new child, to avoid singing the blues, families need to update estate plans as their needs change.


About Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers, P.C.

Formed in 1991, Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers, P.C. is committed to providing high quality, comprehensive legal services to its clients. Featuring a breadth and depth of experience and perspective usually found only at larger law firms, Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers. P.C. offers sophisticated legal counsel to entrepreneurs, businesses, individuals, families, and institutions.

Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers’ areas of expertise include corporate law, employment matters, mergers and acquisitions, litigation and dispute resolution, estate planning, taxation, real estate, bankruptcy, and municipal law.

To help clients make informed decisions and achieve their goals, Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers P.C. develops creative customized solutions for its clients by emphasizing careful listening and considerate evaluation. Utilizing the expertise and collegiality of the firm’s fifty plus members, associates, and support staff has consistently resulted in the building of lasting relationships of trust and confidence.

The offices of Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers, P.C. are located at 101 Huntington Avenue, Prudential Center, in Boston, MA 02199. For additional information, or to arrange for a consultation, please call 1-617-218-2000, e-mail, or visit