Some people think that they do not need a will because the state will step in and take care of everything appropriately. In fact, there are some very good reasons why everyone should have a will or some other estate planning document, and we will give you a quick rundown in this blog post.The Condition of IntestacyIf you pass away without a will, the condition of intestacy would exist. Under these circumstances, the probate court would supervise the estate administration process during … [Read more...] about Do I Really Need a Will?
People often have questions about inheritances and taxation, and they are usually pleasantly surprised when they hear the answers. First, heirs who receive bequests do not have to report them as taxable income, so that can seem like a break, but it is only fair.This is because an estate is comprised of property that was retained after the decedent paid taxes throughout his or her life.Another positive from a tax perspective is the step-up in basis for appreciated assets. If you inherit … [Read more...] about Are You Aware of the Gift Tax?
One of the major reasons why you should seek out personalized attention from a licensed estate planning attorney is because there are some minute details that you may not consider. Some of them are going to be naturally relevant to you, and others could be if you are aware of the possibilities. We will provide some clarity in this post.Latter Life Decision-MakingPeople naturally think about the events that will take place after they pass away when they are involved in their getting their … [Read more...] about Three Estate Plan Components You May Overlook
First, we should explain why you may want to use a living trust. If you have a will, or think you should use a will, you may be surprised when you learn more.A revocable living trust is a very useful alternative to a last will, and the avoidance of probate is a major benefit. Why is this something that you may want to avoid? The answer is that it comes with a number of drawbacks that negatively impact the inheritors.When a will is used, it must be admitted to probate, and the heirs do … [Read more...] about Who Should Act as Your Trustee?
This is the third in a three-part series of articles on Powers of Attorney. The first article examined the Financial Power of Attorney. The second article examined the Healthcare Power of Attorney and Advance Directive. This third article in the series focuses on a “HIPAA” Authorization. These three documents are the keystone in even the most basic estate plan.Earlier in the series, we saw that a Power of Attorney is a document by which you appoint someone as your “Agent” to act on your … [Read more...] about The Basics: “HIPAA” Powers
This is the second in a three-part series of articles on Powers of Attorney. The first article examined the Financial Power of Attorney. This second article examines the Healthcare Power of Attorney and Advance Directive. The third article in the series will focus on a “HIPAA” Authorization. These three documents are the keystone in even the most basic estate plan.As outlined in the first article in the series, a Power of Attorney is a document by which you appoint someone as your “Agent” to … [Read more...] about The Basics: Powers of Attorney for Healthcare
This is the first in a three-part series of articles on Powers of Attorney. This first article examines the Financial Power of Attorney. The second article will address the Healthcare Powers of Attorney. The third article in the series will focus on a “HIPAA” Authorization. These three documents are the keystone in even the most basic estate plan.First, what’s a Power of Attorney? It’s a document by which you appoint someone as your “Agent” to act on your behalf. If that Agent is unwilling or … [Read more...] about The Basics: Financial Power of Attorney
Probate can be succinctly described as the legal process of estate administration. If you use a last will to state your final wishes, the executor who you name in the will would admit the document to probate. The court would provide supervision during the administration process.In this post, we are going to share five important facts that you should know about probate. This knowledge will help you make more informed estate planning decisions.It Serves a PurposeThe probate process exists … [Read more...] about Five Things You Should Know About Probate
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