Monthly Archives: April 2021

Making Critical Estate Planning Changes During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

One of the many indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is that many people have begun to review their estate plan and assess whether things are in place for the unfortunate day when they become incapacitated or pass away. If you are one of the many people who has not taken the time recently to review your estate plan, this article reviews some helpful strategies to make updating your estate plan easier.  Keep Estate Planning Documents Organized and in One Place Many people know that they need to make various changes to their estate planning documents, but when it comes time to revise the documents struggle to find where important information is located. While details about a new birth in the family might be located in one location, other details about an appreciated asset might be located elsewhere. By doing your best to keep your documents organized and centralized, you can greatly cut down on the amount of time it takes to revise your estate plan. This holds even if you are relying on the assistance of an estate planning lawyer to make these changes.  Consider Triggering Moments A power of attorney refers to a legal document and legal relationship [...]

2021-05-05T02:58:01+00:00Tags: , |

Four Issues to Consider About Lifetime Gifts

Most of us are familiar with the quote that it is better to give than it is to receive. No place does this quote hold more true than the field of estate planning. By making gifting part of your estate plan, you can realize some substantial tax-savings advantages as well as other benefits. If you are debating making lifetime gifting part of your estate plan, this article reviews some important issues that you should consider. Current Lifetime Gift Exemption Amounts A person in 2021 can transfer $11.7 million during his or her lifetime without being subject to any estate or gift taxes. If the assets that you are passing on are greater than this amount, a 40% tax will be placed on the amount that surpasses this threshold. If your estate is subject to federal estate taxes, gifting assets while you are still alive is one of the best ways to reduce the taxes that are ultimately placed on your estate. Gifting Can Avoid Substantial Future Taxes By gifting assets from your estate today, you can sometimes avoid future appreciation and subsequently substantial future taxes in your estate. The taxes today that you might face today could be substantially less [...]

2021-04-26T00:26:57+00:00Tags: , , |

Four Helpful Estate Planning Tips for Blended Families

Estate planning is often complex. For people who are estate planning around blended families, the process can be particularly challenging. Blended families can take several forms, the most common of which is married couples who have children from previous marriages. Typically, people in blended families want to make sure that everyone including children from previous marriages receives the best care possible. Fortunately, some helpful estate planning strategies can achieve blended family goals while avoiding the possibility of friction or undesirable consequences.  Consider Utilizing a Prenup Even though some people view prenuptial agreements as counter-productive to romance and long-lasting marriages, these documents provide protection and a degree of predictability for what the future holds. If one person in a marriage has children from a previous relationship, a prenuptial agreement can help to make sure assets are preserved for these children. Take Adequate Steps if You Get Remarried If you are planning on getting remarried, it is critical to perform some necessary estate planning steps. First, you should perform a detailed analysis of your assets and debts. You should make sure to share these details in full with your future spouse. It is also a good idea to assess whether or not [...]

2021-04-26T00:23:07+00:00Tags: , , |

Deciding When to Proceed to Court During Estate Contests

During estate contests, family members often end up mad at one another. In these situations, a common question asked by family members is, “When is the right time to proceed to court?” Surprisingly, the answer to this question is often that only when everything else has failed and no other options exist is it a good idea to proceed to court. Instead, there are many other attractive and easier options to resolve estate issues. What Types of Claims are Common in Contested Estates? It is common for estate contests to involve various types of claims. Some of the most common claims brought up during estate disputes include: Actions for the accounting of a trust or estate  Actions for the removal of an executor trustee due to mismanagement of an estate or failure to make adequate distributions  Estate planning documents are invalid due to lack of capacity or undue influence Guardians of an incapacitated individual There are some situations where going to court is either required or necessary. There is a specific period to contest estate planning documents and court filings are required. Or, there might be an immediate event that will harm the beneficiaries of an estate. It is not [...]

2021-04-06T16:31:57+00:00Tags: , |

Navigating the Rule Against Perpetuities

The rule against perpetuities allows individuals preparing wills to have control over their assets even after they pass on. There are limits to these powers, however. A person can restrict property from being sold or make sure that it is used for a certain purpose. Property can be passed on to family members as long as it is done on the condition that an individual maintains certain requirements or behaviors. The time limit on the ability to pass on assets is referred to as the rule against perpetuities.  Complex and often confusing, the rule of perpetuities can be utilized at the time of the passing of a testator or heirs. Heirs are classified as “lives in being.” This means that if a child is conceived but not born at the time of the creator’s death, the child will be classified as a life in being. After the last living heir named in a will passes away, the restrictions on property continue in place as desired for a certain period. The idea is that the creator can control his or her assets for a full generation after death. If the rule applies, however, the conditions on the bequest are abandoned and [...]

2021-04-06T16:28:00+00:00Tags: , |