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So far paul has created 165 blog entries.

Estate Planning Strategies to Help Loved Ones With Special Needs

As the parent of a special needs child, it is common to end up worrying about what will happen to the child if you die or become incapacitated. You understandably want to do whatever you can to make sure that the child’s future remains stable in case something happens to you.  This article reviews some of the critical estate planning issues you should take into consideration when it comes to children with special needs.  Determine Your Purpose for Estate Planning Special needs planning is unique because it must take any public benefits that the child receives into consideration. This planning can be utilized for several reasons including helping the child manage money throughout the child’s lifetime, protecting the child so he or she remains eligible for public benefits, and ensuring that funds are preserved in case public funding ever stops or becomes restricted. Utilize the Best Planning Method Available There are several estate planning strategies that families can utilize to achieve their goals for special needs children. Some of these strategies include: Disinheriting the child so they can continue to receive special needs benefits. Alone, this rarely helps achieve estate planning goals. Granting your estate to the brothers and sisters     Read More

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Ways to Revise Your IRA After the Secure Act

In December 2019, the SECURE Act was signed into legislation. This regulation is one of the most substantial changes to have occurred in the last few years. As a result of the SECURE Act, IRAs and required monthly distributions can end up having a substantial impact on your estate plans. It is critical to understand how you might consider revising your estate plan to reflect these changes.  Know What the SECURE Act Does Before you make any changes to your estate plan in light of the SECURE Act, you should appreciate what changes result from this new law. The SECURE Act has two substantial benefits for people interested in retirement planning at the price of increased obstacles for heirs. These changes include: There is no longer an age limit for IRA contributions. This means that people can continue to save for retirement past the age of 70.  Required minimum distributions now begin at the age of 72 rather than 70.5. This change gives accounts additional time to mature, which means that savings will be as large as possible.  With the exception of spouses, “stretch” IRAs which allow beneficiaries to stretch out IRA distributions over their lifetime are removed. Now non-spouse     Read More

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SECURE Act Results in Major Estate Planning Changes

In December 2019, President Trump signed a two-part bill that funds the federal government through 2020. Among the many parts of this bill is the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. The SECURE Act results in major changes to rules related to individual and employer-sponsored retirement accounts and will likely result in many estate plans being substantially altered to incorporate retirement accounts. This article reviews some of the biggest changes that you should understand about the SECURE Act and how it might impact your existing estate plans. # 1 - Required Minimum Distribution Now Begin at 72 Before the SECURE Act, traditional IRAs and employer-sponsored plans were subject to Required Minimum Distribution Rules. Distributions from these plans often must begin by April 1 of the year after either the participant turns 70 and a half or the year in which the participant retires. Under the SECURE Act, distributions must be made after the participant turns 72 provided the individual has not reached the age of 70 and a half by December 31, 2019. This change allows people who do not require funds from their IRAs or retirement accounts to achieve an additional period of tax-deferred growth. #     Read More

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Common Mistakes That Will Damage Your Estate Plan

Each estate plan has its weaknesses, but the best ones take their shortcomings into consideration. The less well-written estate plans leave substantial weaknesses that can jeopardize the outcome of a person’s estate. The following reviews some of the most common estate planning errors that people made in 2019 as well as reviews what you can do to avoid making them. # 1 - Naming Yourself as a Sole Trustee There are legitimate reasons why people are often instructed to name someone other than the trust’s creator as a trustee. Each year, many estate plans end up susceptible to unjust influence because a person becomes incapacitated and surrounding loved ones have less than noble motivations. One of the best ways to make sure that your trust is fairly administered is to name someone capable of responsibly acting as a trustee. # 2 - Receiving the Wrong Advice (or None at All) One of the best places to begin creating an estate plan is by considering who you can utilize to best achieve your goals. Estate planning teams should often include elder law attorneys as well as financial advisors who can make sure that you make the best financial actions. When receiving     Read More

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Second Marriages and Estate Planning

Grey divorce refers to the end of marriages of people in their 50s and 60s. While it is true that the overall divorce rate in the United States has declined, the rate of divorce among this segment of the population is increasing. Another large group of older individuals is also finding love a second time around and getting remarried. If you are among the people getting divorced or remarried later in life, it is a wise idea to review your estate planning documents and make sure that they will still help you to achieve your goals.  The following will review some important factors that you should consider to ensure that your estate plan will provide for your loved ones. As you begin to structure your estate plan around your new marriage, it is a wise idea to remember that this type of estate planning is not done to be unromantic, but rather to reduce the risk that your estate ends up administered in a way that you do not desire. Trusts can Play a Valuable Role in Second Marriages If you want to both protect your assets and make sure that these valuables ultimately pass on to your loved ones,     Read More

Reasons to Think Twice About Using a Joint Account in Your Estate Plan

On your quest to create the best estate plan possible, at some point, you might have been told by someone that joint accounts are an invaluable estate planning tool. After all, joint ownership allows you to avoid probate. Instead, when you own property as a joint tenant, both property owners have equal ownership in the property. This means that when you pass away, any assets that are jointly owned pass automatically to the other property owner.  While joint ownership does work in this way, this type of property ownership also presents many serious risks. As a result, it is a good idea to be cautious when thinking about jointly titling property. Estate Planning Goals May Not be Achieved After you pass away, the joint owner will receive sole rights over any property that you own. This means that the joint owner will be able to use the funds or property in any way that he or she sees fit. Not to mention, creditors of the other party will now be able to seize your assets. Consequently, there are several ways that your assets might be used or spent before they can achieve any goals that you had for your estate     Read More

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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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