Estate planning attorneys always emphasize the fact that there is no one universal approach that is right for each and every person. The optimal way to proceed will depend upon the circumstances, and this one of the major reasons why it is important to work with a qualified lawyer. This being stated, there are certain core components that an estate planning will have in a general sense. Let’s look at the essentials that should be addressed in every estate plan. Asset Transfers Far too many … [Read more...] about Estate Planning: Cover These Bases
Our firm has always been very receptive to the needs of the LGBT community, and there was once a time when legal safeguards were absolutely necessary for committed gay couples. When same-sex marriages were not recognized by the federal government, people in these committed partnerships were not afforded the same inherent rights that married people enjoy. To provide an example, if you pass away without any state estate planning documents at all, this would be looked upon as the condition of … [Read more...] about Edith Windsor and LGBT Estate Planning
A lot of people like to roll up their sleeves and embrace do-it-yourself projects, and there is certainly nothing wrong with taking the initiative to get things done on your own. It can save you money, and it can become an enjoyable hobby. This being stated, it is important to know where to draw the line when it comes to the DIY phenomenon. Objective Analysis There are websites on the Internet that sell do-it-yourself legal documents, including last wills and other estate planning devices. … [Read more...] about Why Can’t I Just Plan My Own Estate?
People that are serious about their estate planning efforts are interested in attending to every detail. This is wise, because the matter boils down to the final gifts that you will be able to give to the people that you love the most. The simpler and more efficient it is, the better for them, so you would naturally be concerned about the time frame after you are gone. There is no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all estate plan, so the waiting game, as it were, will depend upon the way that you … [Read more...] about Will My Heirs Receive Their Inheritances Quickly?
In some instances, a client will come to us looking for help because of a bad situation that has developed due to a lack of informed planning. We do what we can under these circumstances, and there are damage control strategies that can sometimes be implemented. These situations are a bit frustrating for us, because we know how easy it could have been to avoid the difficulties. With this in mind, we will look at a handful of common estate planning mistakes that are made in an effort to … [Read more...] about Don’t Make Uninformed Estate Planning Choices
They say that the only two certainties of life are death and taxes, and everyone is well aware of the April 15th date that approaches all too rapidly. With few exceptions, most people are diligent about making preparations for tax day. Yet, for some unknown reason, the majority of the same folks totally ignore the other inevitability that we will all face at some point in time. A while back, a website that is focused on legal matters did some research to get a feel for the estate planning … [Read more...] about Study: 57% of Adults Have No Estate Plans
The estate planning lawyers at our firm place an emphasis on education, because far too many people have misconceptions about wills and trusts. One of the most common ones is the idea that a will is the only choice because trusts are "only for very wealthy people." Trusts are often misunderstood as being only useful for the rich. Yes, very high net worth individuals can benefit from the utilization of certain types of trusts. These are going to be irrevocable trusts that are used for estate tax … [Read more...] about Trusts Are Often Misunderstood
Although many people equate “estate planning” with having a will, there are many advantages to having a trust rather than a will as the centerpiece of your estate plan. While there are other estate planning tools (such as joint tenancy, transfer on death, beneficiary designations, to name a few), only a trust provides comprehensive management of your property in the event you can’t make financial decisions for yourself (commonly called legal incapacity) or after your death. Advantages of … [Read more...] about Do You Really Need a Trust?
It is important to understand that estate planning documents do not exist in a vacuum. Estate planning is one of the most technical and dynamic areas of the law. Properly planning an estate requires consideration of federal and state tax issues, state property law, state probate law and state trust law. Estate planning documents must be carefully customized to meet each individual’s unique circumstances and objectives. If they are not, unintended, and often costly, consequences may … [Read more...] about Understand Perils of DIY Estate Planning
The last will is the most commonly utilized asset transfer vehicle in estate planning. Many individuals assume that this is their only logical option because they are under the impression that trusts only serve the interests of the very wealthy. In fact, this is not true at all. There are indeed trusts that are created to serve the interests of high net worth individuals. However, some trusts, such as revocable living trusts, don't provide the asset protection and estate tax efficiency that … [Read more...] about Probate, Privacy & Planning