In a general sense, life insurance can enhance your estate plan, and it can satisfy a couple of specific objectives. We will provide an overview here, but first, we will explain the two most commonly used forms of life insurance.1. Whole LifeWhole life insurance is coverage that will pay a death benefit, and it accumulates a cash value. There is a guaranteed rate of return, so it serves as an investment instrument.This is permanent life insurance that will remain in place unless you … [Read more...] about Is Life Insurance Part of Your Estate Plan?
They say that the only constant is change, and this reality can affect your estate planning efforts. Your original actions will reflect your mindset and your family dynamic at that time, but as life goes on, circumstances can change in many different ways.With this in mind, we will look at the matter of trust revocation in this post.Revocable Living TrustsThe most commonly used trust is the revocable living trust, and the name is self-explanatory to a large extent. This type of trust … [Read more...] about Can You Change Your Mind and Dissolve Your Trust?
The most important decision you will make when you are getting your affairs in order is which legal device will serve as the centerpiece. Many people automatically assume that you should use a will because they have misconceptions about trusts.For example, the idea that trusts are not useful unless you are a millionaire... This is patently false, because there are different types of trusts that satisfy very different objectives.Aside from a simple will, the most commonly used estate … [Read more...] about Living Trust vs. Simple Will: Which One Is Right for You?
The estate tax exclusion is the amount you can give without facing an estate tax. Under current law, you may give this amount during life or at your death and after that amount is used, you face a federal tax of 40% on assets beyond that amount. The amount has fluctuated a great deal over the years. It was $675,000 as recently as 2001. In 2021, the exclusion is a whopping $11.7 million per person. This exclusion consists of a “permanent” exclusion of $5 million, adjusted for inflation since a … [Read more...] about Biden Administration Could Reduce Estate Tax Exclusion
Surveys that are conducted consistently find that most people do not have estate plans in place, but curiously, the majority of these people think that estate planning is important. Many of these folks drag their feet because they are not very anxious to address what they perceive as a very complicated matter.In fairness, there are some relatively complex legal structures that are sometimes used in the field of estate planning. But our attorneys have refined their knowledge of every strategy … [Read more...] about Don’t Overcomplicate the Estate Planning Process
One of the most dangerous misconceptions about getting your affairs in order is the idea that trusts are only useful for very wealthy individuals. This false concept is based on a half-truth.Indeed, high net worth individuals use rather complicated irrevocable trusts to gain estate tax efficiency. At the same time, the revocable living trust that can be ideal for a wide range of people who are not among the financial elite.Let’s look at some of the major benefits that living trusts … [Read more...] about You Don’t Have to Be Rich to Use a Living Trust
The simple will is the most commonly used estate planning document, but many people who utilize them make the mistake of overlooking trusts. In this post, we will share five key pieces of information about wills so you can go forward with a more complete understanding.Guardian DesignationEveryone is aware of the fact that you can use a will to state your wishes regarding the way you want your assets to be transferred after you are gone. You can also name a guardian for dependent children if … [Read more...] about Five Key Facts About Simple Wills
As elder law and estate planning attorneys, we pay close attention to legislative changes that can impact our clients. At the end of 2019, one of these situations started to come to light, and it became a reality when the SECURE Act was enacted in December.The changes took effect in 2020, and they affected some key rules for individual retirement accounts. In October, a fresh piece of bipartisan legislation that is being called SECURE Act 2.0 was introduced to expand the IRA … [Read more...] about SECURE Act 2.0 Would Bring Big IRA Changes
This is the first in a two-part series of articles on updating your plan. This first article examines the importance of updating Powers of Attorney, both Financial and Medical. The second part of the series looks at the importance of updating your primary estate planning documents, such as your Trust or Will. Together, these documents are the keystone in even the most basic estate plan and it’s important to keep them up-to-date.First, what’s a Power of Attorney? It’s a document by which you … [Read more...] about Updating Your Plan: Powers of Attorney
As 2020 draws to a close and a new year dawns, we need to think of…tax planning! Some years Congress tweaks the laws more than other years. While 2020 held plenty of surprises with coronavirus and an election, it was a relatively quiet year for legislative changes. Still, even in a quiet year, some things change due to inflation increases, etc.Estate Tax PlanningApplicable Exclusion rises from $11.58 million in 2020 to $11.7 million in 2021.GST Exemption rises from $11.58 million in 2020 … [Read more...] about Tax Planning for 2021