Estate Planning

The Truth Behind Legacy Plans

If you have created a Last Will and Testament, Revocable “Living” Trust, Health Care Proxy, and Living Will, you might the mistake of thinking that you have created all of the estate planning documents necessary. The truth is, however, that there are still some potential complications that can occur involving the distribution of your estate following death. This is where legacy planning comes in. Legacy planning refers to a financial strategy that lets a person pass assets to a loved one or family member after death. Because legacy plans are frequently complicated in nature, they often require the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. There are also many myths circulating about how legacy plans operate, which this article will seek to explain. What is Legacy Planning? Most estate plans focus solely on what assets a person will leave behind after death. Legacy planning, however, involves a more comprehensive approach and focuses on the creation of a plan for managing a person’s total wealth while alive, distributing an estate after death, and passing on a person’s legacy. These plans often include non-financial assets as well as financial assets. Through legacy plans, you can not only pass assets to loved ones     Read More

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Learning from the Estate Planning Mistakes of Aretha Franklin

While Aretha Franklin is remembered as an extraordinarily talented musician, she made some significant estate planning mistakes from which we can all learn. When Franklin died in August of 2018, she did not leave a will or any type of estate plan despite having four children, including one with special needs. If you fail to leave an estate plan, it means that your inheritance will not be distributed in the way that you intended. If you need any type of estate planning assistance, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney. A Large Number of Americans Die Without Estate Plans Caring.com released a study in 2017 that found a large number of Americans die without a living trust or will. The most common reason why individuals claim they do not create these estate planning documents is that they simply have not gotten around to it yet. There are many reasons why people delay creating estate plans including the emotional unpleasantness of having to make end-of-life decisions. Other individuals think that because they do not have a large inheritance, creating an estate plan is not important. In reality, everyone should be concerned about proper estate planning because     Read More

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Four Commonly Overlooked Items in Estate Plans

There are certain elements that must be satisfied if a person is interested in estate planning, which include some things that are frequently overlooked. Failure to create an estate plan can lead to a variety of negative consequences. Fortunately, an experienced attorney like Jim A Lyon knows how to best anticipate overlooked elements of estate plans. Incapacity While many estate plans take death into consideration, they often fail to consider how incapacity can influence a person. Unfortunately, a large number of individuals are likely to experience issues related to incapacity during their lifetimes. One of the most common ways that estate plans take incapacity into consideration is with trusts that are created for the management of a person’s assets during incapacity. Management of Assets Some individuals create estate plans for beneficiaries who reach a certain age or goal but fail to create proper management of these assets until these events occur. Details regarding the management of benefits at every step of the process must be included in a reliable estate plan. Divorce Protection Many estate plans are written without consideration for how divorce will influence who should be named as a beneficiary. Even if a person is happily married, there     Read More

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Estate Planning Scams to Watch Out For

When we look toward the future, nearly everyone has some type of wish for what will happen after their death. Fortunately, an estate planning document helps to make a person’s wishes clear by stating in writing his or her plans for the future. Estate planning is complicated, and the numerous scams that are present on the market can make the process even more challenging. One of the best ways for individuals to navigate the estate planning process is to understand some of the current popular estate planning scams. It is also helpful to obtain the assistance of a skilled estate planning attorney to navigate this process. Groups Most at Risk of Estate Planning Scams The group that is most in danger of estate planning scams is elderly individuals who do not have any relatives. The elderly are often in a hurry to have estate plans created and are often not even aware that they are being scammed. Because estate planning involves complicated areas of law including taxation, trusts, wills, and many others, elderly individuals often do not know whether a service being offered is actually helpful. Be Cautious About Estate Planning There are many types of individuals who claim to     Read More

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Common Mistakes in Picking Life Insurance Beneficiaries

Appointing a person to handle money from a life insurance policy often only involves one decision, but this selection is one of the most difficult choices that many people must make. It is common for individuals to make errors, however, when making estate plans, which can result in life-changing mistakes. The following will review some of the most common mistakes that people make when deciding on whom to name as a life insurance beneficiary. Mistake # 1: Failure to Update Your Policy It is critical that people with insurance policies realize that these documents should not be abandoned or forgotten about after being written. Instead, a person should make sure to update a life insurance policy after every major life events including deaths and marriage. Not only is it possible that a person’s perspective on an individual might change, these events can also change how individuals can inherit amounts. Instead, the best advice is for a person is to always make sure that beneficiary choices are kept updated. Mistake # 2: Forgetting Primary Beneficiaries Some people decide on a suitable life insurance beneficiary, but fail to appoint an alternate person to act as a beneficiary. As a result, if something     Read More

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Three Estate Planning Tips to Consider Before Traveling

Heading on a vacation of any length often requires significant planning. Frequently, individuals arrange things like who will water the plants, who will retrieve the mail, and who will feed the pets. While many people might not think about it, it is a wise idea for individuals who embark on a trip to also conduct estate planning before leaving home. In the case that an unexpected tragedy happens, these plans help to make sure that a person’s affairs are in order. This article will review some of the important estate planning tips that individuals must remember to follow before taking a vacation. Review Existing Plans If you have an existing estate plan, you should make sure to revise it before taking a vacation. Some of the events that require an estate plan to be updated include death, divorce, and marriage. These events can result in a person’s estate plan nominating an individual who will no longer be able to take on the responsibility, which is why it is a wise idea to make sure that an estate plan applies effectively to a person’s current situation. While many of these updates include removing beneficiaries who have died or become incapacitated, there     Read More

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Utilizing Burial Directions and Organ Donation in Your Estate Plan

One of the most important parts of successful estate planning is making sure that all possible issues are considered. While many people expect their estate planning to cover subjects like the distribution of their assets, it is also important to consider issues like burial, cremation, and organ donation. By fully addressing these issues in an estate plan, you can remove the chance that your loved ones will make a mistake by attempting to interpret your wishes. As a result, this article will consider two of the topics that are often left out of discussions about estate planning - funeral directions and organ donation. If you have any questions about either of these steps, discuss matters with an estate planning attorney. Be Sure to Document Your Funeral Plans The best way to inform loved ones about what you would like to have happen at your funeral is to write down a list of specific instructions in a document that is kept separate from other estate planning tools like trusts and wills. Some of the common concerns addressed by these plans include whether a person wants to be cremated, be buried, and have a funeral or memorial service, and where the person     Read More

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Are Inherited IRAs Protected From Creditors?

Most people who file for bankruptcy automatically think of their Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and 401(k) accounts as the most common type of assets that are exempt from being lost in bankruptcy and kept safe from creditors. As a result, many people believe that they will be allowed to exit the bankruptcy process with their retirement accounts untouched, which will greatly facilitate making a fresh start. The answer, however, is much more complicated if an IRA is inherited. If a person inherits the IRA from a spouse, however, the IRA will not qualify as exempt from bankruptcy and as a result will subject to collection efforts from creditors. In 2014, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of Clark v. Rameker that an inherited IRA someone other than a spouse is not classified as a bankruptcy exemption. In drawing the distinctions between inherited IRAs and participant owned IRAs, the court noted three differences - the beneficiary of an inherited IRA cannot make additional contributions to the account but a participant IRA, an inherited IRA beneficiary must take required minimum distributions from the account but an IRA owner can defer distribution until the age of 70 and ½, and     Read More

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Establishing Trusts When a Family has Debt

More than many other estate planning tools, trusts are capable of protecting a family’s assets for future generation. However, if either the person creating the trust or the beneficiary has debt, the trust will likely not be able to protect the assets from creditors. This means that if someone in the family files for bankruptcy, there is a risk that the trust could be seized for the repayment of debts. The Difference Between Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts The role of debt in the creation of a trust emphasizes the distinction between irrevocable and revocable trusts. A person who creates a revocable trust is in control of the trust until his or her death, which means that assets in this type of trust are considered property during the creator’s lifetime and will pass to beneficiaries after the creator’s death. Irrevocable trusts are not in control of the trust’s creator, but sometimes a “spendthrift”  provision can be added to the trust to protect it from creditor seizure if a beneficiary of the trust later files for bankruptcy. The Advantages of a Trust There are some distinct advantages to both irrevocable and revocable trusts. Irrevocable trusts offer the benefit of reducing estate tax,     Read More

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How to Find the Best Nursing Home for a Loved One

One of the many obstacles to helping a family member perform estate planning is that it is often difficult to accept that a loved needs extra care to survive. It is also a challenge to find a good nursing home for a loved one, particularly when statistics suggest that abuse and neglect are occurring at an increased rate all over the country. There are fortunately several signs that a nursing home is a safe and good fit for a loved one. It is important to weigh each potential nursing home against these criteria to make sure that a loved one ends up getting the best care possible. While the following are five signs of nursing home neglect, if you are interested in learning more, AARP has a list of 10. Sign # 1: Examine the Staff Culture It is important to examine how staff members at nursing homes interact with one another. If staff members are combative or passive with one another, this is likely how they will interact with the nursing home’s residents. The best nursing homes have staff that interact with one another in a pleasant manner. Sign # 2: What Activities do Residents Engage in? Empty corridors     Read More

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