Estate planning can seem like an overwhelming task. You want to make sure you do everything right and this can lead to procrastination if you don’t know where to begin. While there are different approaches, the basic framework is the same for everyone and it boils down to four essential elements. Asset Transfers You should use an asset transfer vehicle when you plan your estate. Many assume a simple will is the right choice, but this is not optimal unless the situation is very … [Read more...] about You Should Have These Estate Planning Documents
You can learn lessons from estate planning mistakes made by others. There is no estate planning “beat” that the press covers on a day-to-day basis, so this subject is rarely addressed. However, the death of a high-profile individual will be covered by journalists on occasion, and one of these situations came to light recently. Tony Hsieh Tony Hsieh retired in August of 2019 after spending 20 years as the CEO of Zappos online shoe store. He acquired an interest in the company when it was in … [Read more...] about Tony Hsieh, Retired Zappos CEO, Died Without a Will
There is a great deal of legislation pending and much is uncertain. But this much is certain, the estate tax exclusion will go down by half beginning 2026 under current law. Now is the time to plan for your clients and yourself. by Steve Hartnett The estate tax exclusion is currently at an all-time high of $11.7 million. This consists of the permanent exclusion of $5 million, adjusted for inflation from the 2011 base year, and then doubled by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. However, the Tax … [Read more...] about Plan Now for the Incredible Shrinking Exclusion
As elder law attorneys, we advise clients about legal and financial eventualities they may face during their senior years. Assisted living costs certainly fit into this category. We will look at one aspect of the subject here. Aging in Place Change comes in increments. This applies to your ability to adapt to encroaching physical challenges. It is natural to think about assisted living communities and nursing homes when you envision physical challenges, but few people are anxious to leave … [Read more...] about Age in Place With a Home Health Aide
Some people adopt a random, haphazard approach to the subject of estate planning. They create a will or a trust as a pie slicing mechanism, and they are done. They do not take proactive steps to shape their legacies in any particular way. The other approach is intentional and holistic. You envision the legacy you wish to leave to your loved ones and do what it takes to actualize that vision. Life Insurance Coverage Life insurance can help you bolster the resources you are able to pass … [Read more...] about Life Insurance Can Fortify Your Estate Plan
Can you dissolve a trust after it has been created? The answer is yes and no, so we need to provide an explanation in this post. Irrevocable Trusts Irrevocable trusts cannot be revoked or dissolved, though there are limited exceptions. Why would you use this type of trust? You may want to get assets out of your name for some particular reason, such as if your estate will be liable for federal estate tax. The current exclusion is $11.7 million, so you could transfer that amount tax-free and … [Read more...] about Can You Dissolve a Trust at Any Time?
Social Security plays an important role in most retirement plans, and the Biden administration has proposed significant changes to the program. We will take a look at them, but before we do, let's look at the existing parameters. Eligibility Age The age of eligibility for Medicare is 65 for everyone, so you might think the Social Security eligibility age is just as straightforward. In fact, it's a bit more complicated. For people born between 1943 and 1954, the eligibility age is 66, and it … [Read more...] about Biden Administration Has Proposed Social Security Reforms
The revocable living trust is a very popular estate planning device and is the right choice for a wide range of people. It is an effective alternative to a simple will because you can accomplish more objectives with a living trust while also avoiding court intervention. You probably want your loved ones to receive their inheritances timely and probate slows down everything. A will must be admitted to probate, but a living trust doesn't. Distributions through a living trust are not subject … [Read more...] about What Are the Duties of a Living Trust Trustee?
We have all been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in many ways. From an estate planning perspective, it has underscored the fragility of life itself. If the 2021 Caring.com survey is any indicator, it has gotten the attention of younger adults, but others have continued to shirk the responsibility. Preparedness Statistics Caring.com conducts surveys on an annual basis to gauge the estate planning preparedness of American adults. Even though death is one of the two certainties of … [Read more...] about New Survey Measures COVID Impact on Estate Planning
Disclaimers can be a good way of getting assets where you want them to go. If the disclaimer is a “qualified disclaimer,” the client isn’t treated as having made a taxable gift. Sometimes a “double disclaimer” is necessary to achieve the desired outcome. by Steve Hartnett It’s difficult to even think that someone might not want to accept inherited assets. But sometimes clients don’t need any more assets and a newfound inheritance simply may compound their estate tax issues. This … [Read more...] about Using Disclaimers to Achieve Client Goals: Double Disclaimers – Part 2