Newsletter

Portability: Sharing Your Estate Tax Exemption

The last couple of years have been quite eventful for accountants and trust and estate lawyers. We began 2010 by being surprised that Congress had taken no action to address that year’s repeal of the estate tax law for decedents dying in 2010. Congress did eventually act, and on December 17, 2010, passed a tax [..]

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Living Trusts Versus Wills

Reasonable minds may differ and reasonable people may disagree about any given issue. The issue of whether living trusts are better than probate is not universally settled. In my opinion, whether a person should create and establish a Living Trust, or a Last Will and Testament depends on a variety of factors, including (but not [..]

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Retirement Distributions to Living Trust

The rules for retirement plan distributions are highly complex. They vary widely depending on the specific circumstances and kind of retirement plan held by the participant and therefore cannot be fully addressed here. My purpose in writing is to draw your attention to some of the issues of concern in this area so that you [..]

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Title Policy Protection for Trustees

Despite the current economy and fluctuating home prices, it’s a good time to discuss one of the details that often gets overlooked in estate planning – did the transfer of your real property to your living trust cause your title insurance policy to lapse? WHAT IS TITLE INSURANCE? Title insurance is a policy that you [..]

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Proper Handling of Estate Planning Documents

We live in an age of electronic technology which can be used to assist us with the mounds of paperwork that inundate our lives. Although original legal documents can be scanned and kept in a PDF or some other electronic format that prevents their being altered, proper handling and storage of the original paper document [..]

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Pet Trusts

More than half of the American population currently own pets or grew up with one or more pets. Pets are a good way to teach children responsibility. Pets also act as a companion for older persons. Seniors enjoy caring for and interacting with their pets. But pet ownership requires a backup plan in case of [..]

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Common Planning Mistakes

A person’s estate plan usually consists of a revocable living trust, a pour-over Will, advance directive for health care, durable power of attorney for property management, and appropriate funding documents which include assignment of the person’s tangible personal property and transfers of real property and other significant assets to the trust. The living trust is [..]

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Children and Parents…The Sandwich Generation

It is well known that children are minors until they reach age eighteen (18). Until that time, the child has no legal ability to hold money or property. If a minor child is named as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, or if there is a custodial account established for the benefit of the [..]

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Contingencies

As a lawyer, I am trained to look for the worst case scenarios in a given situation. This is especially important in the estate planning field because there are so many variables when assisting clients in planning the disposition of their estates. One of the unknown variables is whether a named beneficiary will be alive [..]

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Title to Property A Primer

How you hold title to real property affects your estate plan. In some cases, an improperly held asset may actually have the opposite result from what you intend. This issue focuses on some of the issues that arise from different forms of legal title to property. It is not intended to provide specific legal counsel [..]

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