Sometimes you have to strike while the iron is hot, and this dynamic can apply to certain aspects of your estate plan. Changes to relevant laws can result in time sensitivity, and we are in the midst of this type of situation right now. Unified Federal Gift and Estate Tax As estate planning attorneys, we are charged with the responsibility of protecting the legacies of our clients. High net worth individuals face an estate planning challenge in the form of the federal estate tax and its 40 … [Read more...] about Use Large Gift Tax Exclusion While You Can
The living trust is the ideal estate planning centerpiece for many if not most people for a number of different reasons. We will provide an overview here, but first, we will address a common question that is asked about taxation. Principal vs. Earnings The Internal Revenue Service proceeds with the understanding that the principal that is held by a living trust was accumulated after taxes were paid on the underlying income. As a result, distributions of the principal are not subject to … [Read more...] about Do You Pay Taxes on Living Trust Distributions?
When the new year rolls along, government benefit parameters are adjusted to reflect the current circumstances. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has shared some of their key numbers for 2021, and will take a look at them here. Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) During most years, the Social Security Administration will increase the monthly benefits, and they use the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index to make their determinations. In 2021, the Social Security benefits are going … [Read more...] about 2021 Social Security COLA Has Been Released
A Health Care Power of Attorney appoints someone to make decisions for you if you’re not able to do so for yourself. An Advance Directive expresses your wishes regarding end-of-life decisions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to have them up-to-date. Read on to learn more. … [Read more...] about Staying Current is Especially Important in the Pandemic
A living trust is a very effective estate planning device that is the right choice for a wide range of people. Before we answer the specific question that is the focus of this post, we will provide a brief overview of the benefits. Control and Flexibility Some people never consider the possibility of using a trust because they think that you are surrendering control of the assets that you transfer into any trust. You would surrender control of an irrevocable trust, but you retain incidents of … [Read more...] about What Happens to Assets Left Out of a Living Trust?
Most adults in the United States do not have estate plans in place, and this even applies to individuals that are in their 40s and 50s. Obviously, most people do not pass away before their time, but it does happen each and every day, so these people are taking unnecessary risks. Estate planning is one of the core responsibilities of adulthood, and you never know what the future holds. Granted, you may be able to go without a plan when you are a very young adult with no one depending on you. … [Read more...] about Embrace the Estate Planning Process
Probate is the legal process that an estate must pass through under certain circumstances. Unless you have a small estate, the full probate process would be necessary if you use a will as your sole asset transfer vehicle. The court makes sure that the will is valid, and final debts must be paid before the estate is distributed among the heirs. If someone wants to challenge the will, they could make a case during probate. While it does serve some useful purposes, it is a hassle for the … [Read more...] about Is Probate Always Necessary?
There is a more comprehensive approach to the estate preparation process that can be better described as legacy planning. A legacy plan can include acts of charitable giving if you are in a position to set aside resources for worthwhile causes and institutions. Before we look at the charitable part of the equation, we will touch upon some of the other steps that you can take to shape the way you will be remembered after you are gone. Matters of the Heart and Soul Ethical wills stem from … [Read more...] about Charitable Giving Can Enhance Your Legacy
The acronym HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. In this post, we will explain why this piece of legislation is something to take into consideration when you are planning your estate. Advance Directives for Health Care Everyone is well aware of the fact that you have to facilitate postmortem asset transfers when you put your estate plan in place. A lot of people think this is the long and short of it, but a proper estate plan will also address … [Read more...] about What Is a HIPAA Release?
We are going to look at a particular document that should be part of your estate plan, but first, we have to provide some context. When you understand the larger picture, can take the right steps to prepare yourself. Aging and Incapacity It is hard to imagine life as an octogenarian, but the longevity statistics are eye-opening in this regard. The average lifespan in the United States is about 78 years when you are looking at all deaths, but many people pass away when they are very young or … [Read more...] about What Is a HIPAA Release?