Monthly Archives: December 2019

Passing on Assets to People with Special Needs

As the year comes to an end and the holidays approach, many people consider making gifts to their loved ones. Not only is passing assets on an excellent way to show your love and consideration for your family members, but it is also a great strategy to reduce the risk of taxes. This is because current federal tax law allows taxpayers to gift amounts of up to $15,000 each year to a recipient without this being counted against a person’s lifetime gift exemption of $11.4 million.  There is also no better time than the present to make these distributions because the $11.4 million threshold will reduce to $5.49 million in 2026. This article reviews some special considerations that you should remember to follow, however, if you decide to transfer assets to a loved one with special needs. Anticipate the Risks If not properly navigated, passing on assets to loved ones with special needs can end up interfering with that person’s eligibility for government benefits. This is not the only risk involved with transferring assets, though. Even if a loved one does not receive Social Security Insurance or Medicaid, directly transferring assets might still not be a good idea if one     Read More

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Three Critical Estate Planning Considerations for Business Owners

Creating a business presents many challenges. While you are likely worried about day-to-day financial issues including printing payroll and collecting on unpaid debts, there are several other critical factors that you should consider like estate planning.  If your business is part of your estate plan, you should focus on how to best protect the business’s legacy as well as how to make sure that your family and loved ones are financially secure.  Without adequate estate planning, there is no guarantee that you wishes will be carried out. To make sure that your goals are fully achieved, it can be helpful to retain the services of a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer.  Make Sure You Cover the Basics Regardless of the size of your business, it is important to have several critical estate planning documents, which include: A healthcare power of attorney to appoint an individual to make healthcare decisions for you in case you become incapacitated A financial power of attorney to appoint someone to handle your finances in case you are incapacitated A will that expresses how your assets should be distributed following your death Before creating an estate plan for your business, you should make sure that you have     Read More

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Alzheimer’s and Your Estate Plan: Three Celebrity Lessons

Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer Today Dementia refers to several symptoms including memory loss, foggy thinking, and a decline in problem-solving abilities. Several conditions that can result in dementia include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s Disease.  While it can be frightening to think of a time when dementia impacts your ability to make a decision, if you fail to plan for the future, there is a risk that you might end up placing your estate at risk. Unfortunately, after dementia reaches a point where you are unable to control your assets, you will no longer be able to alter your estate plan.  In these situations, the only options that your family has to file for guardianship. To help reduce the risk that you make an estate planning error, this article reviews three lessons learned from how the estates of celebrities with Alzheimer’s were administered. Glen Campbell Glen Campbell first admitted to the public that he had Alzheimer’s in 2011. When Campbell later passed away in 2017, he left eight children and a widow. Even though several of Campbell’s children sued over the administration of the estate, it was later determined that Campbell’s estate planning documents were valid because he     Read More

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What to do Now That You Have an Estate Plan

If you have finally made the substantial step of creating an estate plan, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you are done planning for the future. In reality, you are not finished yet. Instead, there are several important steps that you should take to make sure that your estate plans are properly maintained. Monitor Asset Ownership Your estate plan should consider how you own your assets. In many cases, you will likely want your loved ones to be able to easily access your assets in case something suddenly happens to you. It might be a good idea to create joint ownership with accounts or take other efforts to define who can access details about your accounts. Regardless of what options you choose, it is important to understand that asset management is often one of the most critical issues following a person’s death or incapacity. Monitor Beneficiary Designations Beneficiary designations are important for deciding how assets that are not included in your will pass on to beneficiaries. Some of the most common accounts where beneficiary designations are found include 401(k)s and IRAs. It is a good idea to routinely check beneficiary designations to make sure that     Read More

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