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
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
More and more Americans are dying at home rather than in hospitals. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, in 2017 29.8% of deaths by natural causes occurred in hospitals while 30.7% occurred at home. The percentage of people dying in hospitals has been declining for several decades. While in 1912 two-thirds of people died at home, this evened out in the 1950s. By the 1970s, at least two-thirds of people died in hospitals. Since the 1970s, the trend has reversed. Now, more people are … [Read more...] about How Will You Age in Place and Be Able to Die at Home?
As 2019 draws to a close and a new decade dawns, we need to think of…tax planning! Some years Congress tweaks the laws more than other years. This was a relatively quiet year for changes. Still, even in a quiet year, some things change due to inflation increases, etc.Estate Tax PlanningApplicable Exclusion rises from $11.4 million in 2019 to $11.58 million in 2020.GST Exemption rises from $11.4 million in 2019 to $11.58 million in 2020.Annual Exclusion for present interest gifts … [Read more...] about Tax Planning for 2020
Estate Planning is often misunderstood. Some people think it only involves preparing a simple Will. Some think it only involves preparing a Will or a Trust. How hard could that be? But it entails so much more than that. It involves coordinating all the various aspects of a person’s assets so they achieve the goals of the person. Typically, this involves a Will and / or a Trust. But it also involves coordinating beneficiary designations on life insurance, IRAs, retirement plans, etc. It also … [Read more...] about The Questions of Estate Planning, Part 2
Estate Planning is often misunderstood. Questions often arise regarding “where.”First, where should you go to do your Estate Planning? The answer is simple, an attorney who focuses his practice in Estate Planning (or the related areas of Elder Law and Taxation). Estate Planning is far too intricate to rely on a general practitioner. You certainly don’t want to rely on an attorney who does multiple practice areas like patent law, corporate law, and personal injury law.Next, Estate … [Read more...] about The Questions of Estate Planning, Part 4: Where
Estate Planning is often misunderstood. People often think it’s only for the really rich, the really old, or both. But the truth is Estate Planning is appropriate for all of us. Any of us could have a tragedy strike, even early in life. And it’s not just our death that Estate Planning considers, it’s also for our incapacity. Estate Planning can provide sophisticated solutions for those with substantial means and complex needs. But, perhaps most importantly, Estate Planning also appoints those … [Read more...] about The Questions of Estate Planning, Part 3: When
Estate Planning considers many factors. But when most people think of Estate Planning, they just think it answers the question of who gets what. Certainly, it should answer that question. But it is so much more. This is the first in a series of articles on the Questions of Estate Planning.While Estate Planning is about more than just who gets what, it does include that question. If your plan did not include directions as to who should get what, you would have died “intestate.” In other … [Read more...] about The Questions of Estate Planning, Part I: Who
Whether or not we plan to do so, each of us will face death eventually. However, by planning, we can make our passing easier and better in many ways for those we leave behind. This is the first of a series on the ways we can ease the transition through planning. This first article focuses on privacy. The next article will focus on how you leave assets to your loved ones.Let’s look at two people who die in the same car accident. It’s a tragedy for both of them and their families. But, the … [Read more...] about Many Reasons to Plan