It’s Not the 80’s Anymore…

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Your Parent’s Estate Plan: Made in the 80’s… Out of Date Today!

by Darlynn Morgan,
Orange County Estate Planning Lawyer 

As with anything from the 80’s… hairstyles, clothes, VHS, cassette tapes, fads and trends, rest assured that mom and dad’s estate plan is probably right up there with shoulder pads: painfully out-of-date!

If you take the time to ask your parents if they have an estate plan, you may find them proud to say that they have a will or trust.  They probably feel confident knowing that at some point in their lives, they created legal plans to do the right thing by their family…

…or did they?

When to Update an Estate Plan 

Even if mom or dad HAS a will or trust, your next question to them should always be, “when is the last time you UPDATED your plan?”

when to update an estate plan

What you’ll likely find is that the documents mom or dad created in the 80’s, or even earlier, have simply gone untouched and unaltered as their life (and the law!) have changed through the years.  And guess what?

That great plan made decades ago is now likely worthless and out-of-date!

It’s not unusual for parents to create plans while their kids are young and then stick it in a drawer believing it’s good forever.  But again, the way your family’s life looked in the 80’s is probably not anything near what it looks like today:

You, your brothers and/or your sisters are now grown up.  Those documents that name who could raise you if something happens to mom or dad really don’t apply any longer.

What about the issues facing your parents TODAY?

1. HIPAA laws didn’t exist.  There are likely no documents in place that would allow a doctor or hospital to speak to someone else on your parents’ behalf if they become sick or incapacitated for any reason.

2. Grandkids!  If you were just a kid when their plan was created, then you know for sure the grandkids have been left out of the picture.

3. You are probably NOT named as their power of attorney.  Again, if you were just a kid when they made their plan, if they had a power of attorney, they likely named someone else.  That person could live thousands of miles away now or might have even passed away.  Another worthless document in the pile.

4. The laws are different.  For example, a lawyer who created a plan in the 80’s had to account for more complicated tax laws that caused a lot of aggravation after the first spouse passed away.  Most of these are not an issue today and plans can be changed to protect the family from unnecessary expenses, court drama, and lRS headaches.

5. Institution requirements have changed, too!  After a few years, legal documents often go “stale”.  Most banks or institutions will no longer accept powers of attorneys and other estate planning documents created longer than three years ago.  The old documents your parents have would likely be rejected if you tried to use them.

Eye opening, isn’t it? And, these are just a HANDFUL of concerns.  Let’s not forget that mom or dad’s assets are probably way different now than what they owned when you were young. There may also be health concerns to worry about, retirement planning to deal with and so much more.  If your parents’ plan doesn’t account for all of these issues, you and/or your family members will find yourselves in a lurch when a crisis happens.

So what should you do?


The first step is to have them pull their old documents out of the drawer, dust them off and give them a look through.  It shouldn’t take long for them to identify if the life they planned for in their documents is way different than the life they lead today.

The second step is to get educated!  Don’t allow them to start hand writing changes on their documents!  They won’t likely hold up in court anyway.  Instead, empower them to take back control of their legal and financial affairs by becoming educated about what needs to be done today.

I have two FREE estate planning workshops coming up here in Orange County to help your parents do just that.

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015
Morgan Law Group Offices
11:45am – 1:30pm

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
Morgan  Law Group Offices
9:30am – 11:00am

I walk attendees step-by-step through everything they need to know about estate planning in a straightforward and easy-to-understand way. There’s no pressure to buy legal services either, so mom or dad can relax, gather their facts and begin to make a better plan to protect themselves, their assets and the people they love.

Send them to or call (949) 260-1400 to reserve them a space as it is limited.

Finally, UPDATE the plan!  When your parents are ready, have your documents officially reviewed by an estate planning attorney.  If you need help with this step, simply contact my office at (949) 260-1400 and ask to schedule a Trust Review.

These sessions are normally $750, but because you’ve come this far in learning how to help your family, I will waive 100% of the fee.

Just mention Tiny Oranges!

Do what you can now to help them out while they are still in good health and in the right frame of mind to make changes.  Getting up to speed in the new millennium with their planning will likely save them thousands (…and in some cases, millions!) of dollars and a ton of aggravation during the remainder of their life, and for your family after their passing.

P.S.  If YOU haven’t yet had a chance to get your own planning in place, then we have two seminars geared just for parents with small children, whose focus is on ensuring that the kids would be totally protected under every circumstance.  Join us at Once Upon a Story Book or Granola Babies in July for FREE. Register now at

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Free Guardianship Planning Workshops

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Free Guardianship Planning Workshops


DeDe Soto of The Soto Law Group is hosting two free guardianship planning workshops next month at newly opened (and amazing) The Dailey Method Newport Beach barre studio.

Here three reasons why you should sign up today:

1. Choosing the right guardians for your kids is one of the most important decisions you can make as a parent. DeDe will teach you how to avoid making any of the six common mistakes families make when naming legal guardians for their minor children.

2. Have you ever wondered what exactly an estate plan is? Or if you need one? DeDe will tell you exactly what is entailed in putting one together and how to get started.

3. These two guardianship planning workshops are free to attend and offer free childcare! Essentially, you have nothing to lose by going and everything to gain.

Here’s the info!

Date Night for Parents

Friday, April 4th, 2014 at 6:30pm
Couples can attend together, enjoy some much deserved Friday night drinks and apps

Light Brunch

Thursday, April 10th at 10:30am
Light brunch will be served

Free childcare is available both events at The Dailey Method. Registration for attendance and childcare is required due to limited space.

There will also be raffles and other fun prizes.

Reserve your spot by calling 888-735-7686 or click here to sign up online.

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Bringing Sexy Back To Parenting

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Orange County Family Lawyer

I had a little chuckle when I saw our Sponsor, Orange County family lawyer, Darlynn Morgan‘s guest post title today and I was intrigued to find out how family estate planning could bring sexy back to parenting. But I have to say, she makes a very compelling argument. Make sure to read to the end of the post to get the info on her three free workshops this month.

Read on…

Bringing Sexy Back to Parenting 

“I’ll admit it. I was never a huge Ashton Kutcher fan until I watched his acceptance speech from the Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards.

If you haven’t watched the clip yet, take the 4 minutes to do it. You won’t regret it. (This is Jen talking now – seriously – WATCH IT! I got the chills. Amazing message.)

Revealing that his real name is Chris, Ashton let his young fans in on the “secret sauce” to his success; namely that fame and fortune doesn’t just fall out of the sky, but is the result of a strong work ethic and opportunities that “look a lot like hard work.”

He also schools his ‘tween and teenage fans about the real meaning of “sexy”.

“Don’t buy it,” he said. “The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart, and being thoughtful, and being generous. Everything else is crap. I promise you.”

A powerful message for our kids indeed…but even more relevant for young, savvy parents who desire the very best for their kids.

Let’s face it. Every parent dreams of giving their children a beautiful home, nice clothes, top-of-the-line gear, luxurious vacations and even more opportunities than we may have enjoyed.

But living a truly fabulous and sexy lifestyle goes beyond just material things; it’s also about making SMART choices now to ensure your family is never robbed of those opportunities in the future.

No matter what your net worth or future goals are, every parent needs a crash course on how to protect their family from life’s risks such as lawsuits, divorce, financial problems or the death or incapacity of one or both parents.

These things can happen to anyone, but a there are a few easy, pro-active steps you can take to lessen the blow and enjoy the confidence knowing that your family would be prepared to ride out the storm.

Can confidently answer these questions about YOUR family?

~ I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that my kids would be raised by the people I WANT if something happens to me or my spouse.

~ If I’m temporarily incapacitated (…in a car accident, for example), I’ve created the legal documents necessary that would allow police or first responders to leave my kids with loved ones, and not place them in the care of social services until a judge shows up to make that decision (this is what they MUST do under the law!).

~ If something happens to me, I’ve put “speed bumps” around my children’s inheritance so they can’t blow their money at the vulnerable age of 18.

~ If I’m remarried, I know how to properly hold title to my house and “blend” our assets in a way that protects my kids from a previous relationship and my interests if I unexpectedly pass away or the marriage ends.

~ I have the RIGHT insurance and other financial protections in place to ensure my kids always enjoy the lifestyle I want for them if the unthinkable happens.

~ If you can’t confidently answer YES to any of these questions, NOW is the time to take back control of your financial future and learn how to get your legal house in order once and for all.

You may be scared to face your own mortality, or maybe you’ve never handled financial issues for your family… but learning how is empowering!

There is no greater peace of mind than knowing that you can take a romantic date with your spouse or head off on vacation without worrying about what would happen to your kids if something happened to you.

And the best part? You can learn how to implement these savvy legal protections for your family in a way that’s easy to understand, FREE and at a fun place here in Orange County (…or from the comfort of your own home!).

I’m talking about my Kids Protection Planning seminars, which are happening THIS MONTH at Xpecting, Granola Babies and via teleseminar.  Hundreds of smart OC parents have gone through our workshops and left feeling totally in control, empowered and equipped with an action plan to make great legal and financial decisions for the future.

What real OC parents have to say…

We recently had two children and knew we had to get our custody and financial distribution in order… Darlynn was so generous with her wisdom, time, and personal experiences. She gave honest opinions only when asked with no judgments given. Everything was very professional, timely, and easy to follow. Thank you! – Leane and Alex H., Glendale

My wife and I were ‘first timers’ and had a lot of estate planning questions, especially relating to protecting our two young boys. There is nothing scarier than the thought of what would happen to your children if you were gone. Darlynn truly cares, and it comes through. — Michael S., Irvine

We have been wanting to do it for awhile, but a trip out of the country propelled us to do it and stop procrastinating…. this was a great, easy process because of your sincerity, kindness and organization.  I loved how personable you are, and family friendly.  The process was very smooth and almost effortless on our part. — Jeff & Faith F., Santa Ana

We appreciated your thoroughness, professional presentation using visual aids, friendly atmosphere [and] the warmth of hospitality expressed. — Monte & Darleen H., Yorba Linda

Or, check out this post from Tiny Orange’s very own Susanne Henderson who blogged about her entire experience firsthand.

Three free workshops this month

So what are you waiting for?  Choose from one of the following dates and times and visit to register.

Attendance is free but seating is ALWAYS limited.  Bring your spouse, grab a girlfriend…you can even bring your kids, but RSVP now to ensure you have a space.

Xpecting Maternity

September 12th at 6 pm

Granola Babies

September 17th at 1 pm

Teleseminar (call in with your hubby in your jammies!)

September 18th at 8 pm

Come learn how building a fabulous lifestyle on a solid foundation and making SMART choices for the future can be fun after all!  Set the example of what is really SEXY for your family. They will thank you for it if the unthinkable happens.

[Disclosure: Morgan Law Group is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor]

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Setting Up Our Kids Protection Plan

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Recently, my husband and I finally had our meeting with Darlynn Morgan, of Morgan Law Group, our focus: setting up our Kids Protection Plan.

I can’t wait to have a catch-all plan in place for the not so pleasant to think about “God forbid what if something happened to us” scenario.

I say finally because it is something we’ve had on our to-do list for a very long time. And actually, we had initially scheduled the meeting for January, but had to reschedule with Darlynn, because just days before my Mom tripped and broke her knee cap, and her emergency surgery was scheduled for that day.  My poor Momma.

Just a reminder that sometimes we get thrown curveballs we can’t plan for…

I know Darlynn, and what a nice woman she is, but I must admit, walking from my car to her office, the importance of what we were meeting to do had left me slightly anxious.Upon entering Darlynn’s office, I was greeted by her super friendly staff and the serene decor was instantly comforting.

To start the meeting Darlynn briefly shared her heart-wrenching story of having lost her husband at a young age. It was her experience working with a traditional law firm that was hard to get on the phone during an extremely difficult time that lead her to pursue Family Estate Planning Law.

She knew she could do a better job taking care of families, and built her firm based upon this premise.

Next, Darlynn walked us through how they like to do things differently, and quickly outlined their Kids Protection Plan.

Their plan makes sure that children are covered by naming short term guardians (who live within 20 mins of your home, who your children are very comfortable with) and long term guardians (taking care to name the specific individual in case of a future divorce).

The plan includes specific instructions for the babysitter if she were to get the horrible call that something had happened to you.  It also includes forms to give to your chosen short term guardians so they could step in and show the police, ensuring there is no confusion and your children wouldn’t end up in Child Protective Services.

Next Darlynn bridged the topic my husband had been waiting for: the fees. Being completely honest, before we left for the meeting, my husband said: “Susanne, I know you know Darlynn, but if it’s too expensive we’ll have to say no.”

What we really liked is she offers her services on a flat rate.  She doesn’t want her families to feel discouraged from calling her with a question by high hourly fees.

After going over everything with us, she offered us time to discuss our decision alone, and if we wanted to get started we could get our plan in motion today.

We were ready.

Darlynn’s calm and sweet nature with these difficult decisions put us at ease.  The plan is so organized she swiftly moved through the important topics and we answered what we could right there.

There were a few questions we needed more time with, which we took home as homework.

Before leaving we set up a signing date for early April.

What I really have loved about this whole experience is I honestly feel like I have someone in my corner.  And my husband really loves knowing that if something happened to him, I would have someone I trust and feel comfortable with to be there to help me work through that difficult time.

You can meet Darlynn and learn more at these three upcoming free workshops for parents. Please RSVP here; space is limited.

Kids Protection Planning Workshop, Legal Planning for Busy Parents

“9 Easy Steps To Make Sure Your Kids Are Protected No Matter What!”

April 13 at 2:00pm

Granola Babies

3315 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa


April 20 at 1:00pm

My Gym

2040 Quail St, Newport Beach


April 25 at 6:00pm

Xpecting Boutique

369 E.17th Street #20, Costa Mesa

[Disclosure: Morgan Law Group is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor]

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Preserving Your Life Stories

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This guest blog was written by Peter from South County Law Group.  Peter helped us with our estate planning awhile back.  We loved working with him – click here to read about our experience. As part of his estate planning process, he records an interview where parents get to talk about their beliefs, values and how they would like their children raised for the guardians named.   To me, this was priceless and something that can be passed on down to future generations.    Isn’t it cool to think about your great-great-great grandchildren getting to hear an audio recording talking about who you are and what you believe in?  Such a special heirloom.

Here are some of his thoughts on the importance of preserving your life stories:

by Peter Sahin

The following is a summarized version of a story my father shared with me not too long ago….

“A longing for some sleep is the earliest memory I have from childhood…from the age of 6, my day on the farm started at 3AM slogging gallons of milk a couple miles to sell to a vendor before school started…as the youngest of 8, I somehow became the first in our family to make it through elementary school by studying under the light of a single small candle flame after my chores were done well after dark.  I remember getting in trouble once when my sister discovered I had been using her little mirror to reflect extra candlelight onto my papers so I see better!  I left home at 14 and moved to the city with a distant uncle and worked in his suit shop so I could attend high school there.  I barely graduated after being held back two years because one teacher refused to give me a passing grade for reasons I’ll never know.  After graduating, I spent an entire summer in the public library studying for a highway department scholarship to pay my way to America.  One year later, I receive a call that I had won 1 of the 10 engineering scholarships awarded nationally (apparently someone had gotten sick and couldn’t go)…6 months later I was handed a government issued paper suitcase with a one way airline ticket to NYC, 2 black suits, 2 black ties, 2 white shirts and my signed promise to return to work for the highway department after graduation…I was about to be the first person from my village to leave the country!…”

You may be asking yourself why an estate planning attorney is sharing this personal family story.  Hearing and preserving stories like these, of which every family has their own, are what I enjoy the most about what I do.

Traditionally, estate planning has only been focused on passing on assets between generations.  Your family’s monetary wealth should absolutely be preserved and protected.  Heck, you and yours have worked hard for it and it only makes sense to protect it from outsiders so there will be enough protected resources for your loved ones if anything were ever to happen to you.  But to me, your money is only one small part of your overall Family Wealth.

Preserving and passing on stories (or lessons, values, and beliefs) that are personal to your family so they can be heard directly in the storyteller’s voice by your children, grandchildren, and beyond is to me, far more valuable than all the money in the world.  Because I believe so strongly in their value, we conduct  recorded interviews for all our planning clients (on a yearly basis for member clients) so they can preserve their Whole Family Wealth, including who they are and what’s important to them for their children and loved ones.

If you’d like more information about Family Wealth Protection and Preservation for your family, click here for information on  our upcoming free workshops on October 24th or November 7th.  Bring the kids!  Registration is required. Click HERE to register online.

To your wealth, health, and happiness!

Follow Peter and his firm South County Law Group: LinkedIn * Twitter * Facebook

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