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
They say that elections have consequences, and this is true on multiple different levels. When a new administration enters the White House, there are usually some changes to the tax laws, and they sometimes affect estate planning strategies.There are a couple of specific provisions that are in the crosshairs, and one of them is the step-up in basis that applies to inherited appreciated assets. We will explain this scenario first, and then we will move on to the second potential … [Read more...] about Stepped-Up Basis Is Under Siege
If you use a Will to facilitate the distribution of your estate, the executor who you name in the document would act as the administrator. The executor would be required to admit the will to probate, and the court would supervise while the estate is being administered.During probate, the assets are identified and inventoried by the executor, and they are prepared for distribution. The court will determine the validity of the will, and creditors will be notified and paid by the … [Read more...] about Four Key Facts About Probate
There are websites that sell generic, boilerplate legal documents, including simple wills. Their commercials make it sound like it is easy for anyone to get their affairs in order using DIY estate planning forms they purchased online.Since so many people put estate planning on the back burner, this can sound like a simple solution, but this is actually a shortsighted perspective. In this post, we will look at four reasons why you should probably steer clear of do-it-yourself estate planning … [Read more...] about Four Reasons to Steer Clear of DIY Wills
Families sometimes seek legal assistance because they are looking for damage control after a loved one has passed away. Estate planning mistakes were made, and the surviving family members are forced to deal with difficult circumstances.These situations are frustrating because they could have been avoided if the decedent had received the right guidance. With this in mind, we will look at some of the mistakes that can damage your legacy in this post.DIY Estate PlanningThere have been many … [Read more...] about These Mistakes Can Damage Your Legacy
When you’re planning your estate, among other things, you decide who should inherit your assets. You choose your beneficiaries, typically your children, grandchildren, or other close relatives. But what if all the beneficiaries you’ve chosen and all their descendants have died? Then it would fall to the “contingent remainder” beneficiary.Often the “contingent remainder” beneficiary has a slang nickname, like the “atom bomb” beneficiary or “exploding turkey” beneficiary. The contingent … [Read more...] about What’s an “Atom Bomb” or “Contingent Remainder” Beneficiary?
There are good reasons why you may be somewhat confused about wills and trusts. You are told that you should definitely have a will, and at the same time, the benefits of living trusts are touted by estate planning lawyers.On one level, you do choose between a trust and a will as your primary vehicle of asset transfer. However, even if you make a living trust the centerpiece of your estate plan, you still need a will.This may sound counterintuitive, but we will provide an explanation … [Read more...] about Do You Need a Will AND a Trust?
All of us face difficulties and tragedies in our lives. Some of these difficulties are expected and some are unexpected. 2020 has been a year of many unexpected difficulties. While all of us get sick from time to time, nobody anticipated the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 9 million Americans have caught the disease, resulting in the deaths of over 230,000 Americans.Apart from coronavirus, there are many unexpected tragedies, such as 795,000 Americans suffering a stroke each year, according to … [Read more...] about Preparing for the Unexpected…and the Eventual
Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks and for community with family and friends.While 2020 has been a difficult year for many of us, there is still much for which we can be grateful. As we gather around the Thanksgiving table with our loved ones, let’s be grateful for the food on our table and the companionship of our loved ones around us, both those seated at the table and those joining us electronically.While the pandemic has altered this traditional holiday and the way many of us … [Read more...] about A Time for Thanks and Community