There is a presidential election looming over the horizon, and some changes are possible. As estate planning attorneys, we follow these events with interest, because a shift in the political winds can impact the federal estate tax and other relevant laws.Federal Estate Tax ExclusionMost people do not pay the federal estate tax because there is a credit or exclusion that is rather high. Prior to the 2016 presidential election, the exclusion was in the $5 million range. At the end of 2017, a … [Read more...] about Election Could Impact the Estate Tax
A lot of people harbor misconceptions about trusts, and as a result, they make uninformed decisions on their own. In this post, we will provide some insight in question and answer format.Aren’t trusts only for very wealthy people?There is a federal estate tax in the United States that can be applied on the portion of an estate that exceeds $11.58 million. Clearly, given the size of the exclusion, this tax impacts a very small percentage of Americans.Individuals who are exposed to the tax … [Read more...] about Answers to Common Questions About Trusts
If you were to state your final wishes regarding the desired transfer of your estate, you would name an executor to act as the estate administrator. This individual or entity would not be allowed to proceed individually without any court supervision.The will would be admitted to probate, and the probate judge would preside over the proceedings. Though it does serve a purpose in a general sense, it is not really positive for the heirs to an estate.Probate can be avoided through the … [Read more...] about Four Reasons to Avoid Probate
The novel “coronavirus” (also called “SARS-CoV-2”) causes the disease “COVID-19.” It first appeared in late 2019 and was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 31, 2019. Here’s a link to the WHO’s site for the latest global information. COVID-19 has impacted the lives of millions of people and countless events around the world.The coronavirus has infected over four million people around the world, including over a million in the United States. It has killed over 80,000 … [Read more...] about Avoiding Family Chaos in the Coronavirus Age
Unfortunately, people often harbor misconceptions about certain aspects of the estate planning process. This can often yield very negative outcomes, and family members are forced to deal with the fallout.In this post, we will look at some inheritance planning myths in an effort to help you steer clear of these mistakes.DIY estate planning is the way that it’s done these days.It is true that there are websites out there that sell legal documents, including last wills. They guide you … [Read more...] about Don’t Buy Into These Inheritance Planning Myths
Making preparations for the distribution of your monetary resources to your loved ones after you are gone is at the core of the estate planning process. At the same time, you should also think about eventualities that may confront you toward the end of your life.These are not very pleasant things to consider, but if you meet them head on in advance, you can minimize potential negative consequences.Aging and Alzheimer’s DiseaseIt is important to see a clear picture with regard to the … [Read more...] about Take Steps to Prevent a Guardianship
There’s a new virus that’s emerging, novel “coronavirus,” also called “COVID-19.” It first appeared in Wuhan, China in late 2019 and reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 31, 2019. Here’s a link to the WHO’s site for the latest global information. At this point, the virus has infected near 100,000 people in 81 countries.There are hundreds of cases in the United States. Here’s the latest from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). However, there is no reason to panic. … [Read more...] about Preparing for Coronavirus
For most people, taxation is a small factor when inheritances are being distributed. There are no regular income taxes to pay on may assets, and if you inherit appreciated assets, you get a step-up in basis. This means that for capital gains purposes, the value of the assets would be equal to the date the original owner died, even if they appreciated considerably during the life of the person who left you the inheritance.This being said, high net worth individuals do have to be concerned … [Read more...] about How Can You Reduce Estate Tax Exposure?
It’s important to consider whom you’d want to get your assets when you die. Most of us have an idea of whom we’d choose. But, it’s also important to consider who should get those assets if your preferred recipient isn’t around. Life is full of odd twists and turns. Unfortunately, sometimes people don’t die in the order you’d expect. (The deaths of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a helicopter accident demonstrated this.)Let’s look at an example of the importance of naming contingent … [Read more...] about Whom Do You Want to Get Your Assets?
Beneficiary designations and other non-probate transfers are an often-overlooked part of estate planning. They are overlooked by clients and sometimes even by professionals.When planning what would happen to your assets at death, most of us think, “Oh, that’s simple, I need to do a Will to take care of that!” But, that’s just part of the process. You almost certainly have assets that are controlled by beneficiary designations or other non-probate transfers.Let’s look at an example. Mary … [Read more...] about Beneficiary Designations and Other Non-Probate Transfers